The problem of women basketball players wearing men’s basketball shoes

Tahlia Asarese, Staff Reporter

Most female basketball players spend their entire career playing in men’s shoes because of the lack of good well made women’s basketball shoes. Due to the anatomical differences between men and women, men’s basketball shoes are not only over designed for women, but they also do not properly address the structural differences between men’s and women’s feet, which can have a higher chance of leading to a foot or ankle injury.

Basketball shoes have a bigger impact on game play than most would think, they offer support to the ankle and foot, and give good traction to not slip on the dusty floor, but a good basketball shoe not only helps you physically but mentally as well. They can help you grow more confidence on the court in knowing that your shoes have good grip and in the fact that you know your shoes have good flexibility to jump and make sharp turns when needed. The same could be said about the other way around too. That if a bad basketball shoe can make you uncomfortable and put you in a bad state of mind, if you don’t have the right size or if the shoe doesn’t have cushioning can lead to discomfort and or foot injury.

In knowing all this, why would we continue to give shoe sponsorships to the big NBA stars when they already have good shoes to begin with? Shouldn’t we be focusing more on the women who are constantly injuring themselves due to them being less focused on? The answer to these questions can only be because of the money. It’s a known fact that both men and women do not get an equal amount of pay for their jobs, but in the sports industry there might be a bigger gap in their pay grade then you might think, the NBA makes about $7.4 billion while the WNBA only makes $60 million. In 2019 the average NBA athlete’s salary was $8,321,937 compared to the $75,181 earned by their WNBA counterparts. So to say WNBA players getting well made shoes was their least priority is an understatement.

Nearly 40 percent of United States pro athletes are women and yet they account for only two to four percent of media coverage. This is shown through Brittney Griner, a well known WNBA player who was arrested in Russia where they shouldn’t have even been to in the first place because of them having to play games in a dangerous environment to get money.

If you ever have watched a NBA game or WNBA game you know how unique and bright everyone’s shoes are and this is because there are not just shoes, there is a way to express yourself on the court where you can’t in your clothing. It’s a way to showcase their unique style and individuality when all your teammates are wearing the same thing as you, and to not give WNBA stars good basketball shoes, you’re taking  away their voice. It’s time for women basketball players to stop setting themselves up for injury by wearing men’s shoes and start enjoying playing the game without worry.