Tuesday December 5, 2023

New Women’s Sneakers Aim to Level Playing Field

  • Growing up, Moolah Kicks founder Natalie White always felt like women’s basketball was treated like the JV-level to men’s varsity.
  • So White decided to launch Moolah Kicks, a women’s basketball sneaker brand focusing exclusively on elevating the women’s game.
Moolah Kicks/Design: Alex Brooks
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Growing up, Moolah Kicks founder Natalie White felt like women’s basketball was treated like the JV-level to men’s varsity. In particular, she was always disappointed when shopping for women’s basketball shoes. 

By her senior year of college in 2019, White — by then a lifelong basketball player and Boston College women’s team manager — was fed up. So she decided to launch Moolah Kicks, a women’s basketball sneaker brand focusing exclusively on elevating the women’s game. 

“Instead of complaining about it, we’re making space for ourselves,” White told Front Office Sports.

The company launched in January 2020 and began its crowdfunding campaign this month. Three days after the campaign went live, it’s raised more than $18,000 from 154 backers. 

Moolah Kicks aims to rectify two major issues in women’s sports: That companies prioritize men’s basketball over women’s, and that sports equipment — and shoes in particular — are often designed for men.

It’s opportune timing, given the spotlight on discrepancies between the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in March, and the way viewership soared, suggesting a major market for women’s basketball.

White spent more than a year on research. She found out that women’s feet have several differences compared with men’s feet, from a higher arch to a more narrow heel. According to her findings, many sneakers billed as “women’s basketball shoes” don’t accommodate those differences.

To make the shoes she wished she had growing up, White enlisted designer Sean Gayle, who serves as the company’s head of design. The advisory board boasts three chief executives: former Saucony CEO John Fisher, Ryka founder Sheri Poe, and Jones and Vining CEO Jim Salzano.

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