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The Best Sneakers of the 2022 WNBA Regular Season

Throughout the league’s 26th year, players ramped up their PEs and sneaker storytelling. Boardroom looks at the very best.

As the WNBA calendar shifts to the playoffs, stars like defending champion Candace Parker, All-Star starter Sabrina Ionescu, and Aces duo A’ja Wilson and Kelsey Plum are expected to continue their runs of player exclusive sneakers

All summer, we’ve seen dozens of new, thoughtful, and detailed PEs hit the hardwood. We’ve also had retail releases for some of the game’s legends, along with the league’s first signature sneaker in a decade. Debuted during All-Star Weekend in Chicago, Breanna Stewart broke out her vivid neon and black Puma Stewie 1, making her just the 10th woman in league history to have her own official signature sneaker. 

“I’m happy to have my friends, my family, my wife, [my daughter] Ruby and everyone be there for this,” Stewart said heading into the debut weekend. “It’s a huge moment and something that doesn’t happen often.”

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With hopes that the debut will have a domino effect, encouraging other brands and players to create even more signature shoes across the league, Stewie and Puma’s rollout is expected to continue throughout the playoffs, leading into the shoe’s much-anticipated release date. 

But it’s been a season-long effort for players and brands alike to make this the best sneaker season the W has ever seen. In May, players celebrated Mother’s Day in tandem with the schedule’s opening weekend. Sue Bird was spotted in the heart-laden “MOM” theme of the Kyrie 6, part of the charity fundraising series with New Jersey boutique Sneaker Room. Aces forward Dearica Hamby debuted a mismatched Air Jordan 37 PE in black and pink, featuring both her name and her daughter “Amaya” on the heel tabs. 

Chelsea Gray, Las Vegas Aces POINTGAWDDDDD

Atlanta Dream guard Erica Wheeler donned a teal edition of the Adidas Harden Stepback 3, complete with ribbons visible throughout the translucent outsole to raise awareness for cervical cancer and honor her late mom. 

“My biggest influence is my mom,” Wheeler said. “Everything I do is for her. I keep going because I know that’s what she would want for me.”

Parker sported more than a handful of different detailed colorways of the wavy new Adidas Exhibit B sneaker, with her daughter Lailaa surprising her with a multi-colored pair that she had spent the last year secretly designing as a Mother’s Day gift. 

Rounding out a batch of PEs that were co-designed by WNBA athletes with Adidas ahead of the season, Aces point guard Chelsea Gray debuted her Dame 8 PEs in a vibrant and colorful look, complete with “POINTGAWDDDDD” along the heel tab for extra emphasis. 

“When I was younger my brothers and I talked about what our shoes would look like if we ever got to have our own,” she captioned on Instagram. “Dream come true 😊.”

Signature sneakers and player exclusives may have led the way, but hand-painted custom shoes still remained as popular as ever. Artist Katie Shaffstall lent her pen to customized sneakers for Katie Lou Samuelson that honored the 50th Anniversary of Title IX, while Parker wore a custom pair that spelled out the initial ruling’s calls for equality. 

Inspired in part by sheets of removable tattoos, Shaffstall also created a custom pair of Kyrie 7s, wishing Bird a “Happy Retirement!” after 21 seasons. With nods to her four championships, college days at UConn, Olympic reign, and New York upbringing, the artwork tells the story of her two-decade-long run as the biggest name in the W. 

Artwork drafted by Katie Shaffstall
via Minnesota Lynx Twitter

In addition to Bird’s upcoming retirement, another league icon is closing her career this summer, as former MVP Sylvia Fowles laced up for the final time this past weekend. While she wore a Nike PG 6 PE in team colors during her final game, Nike gifted Fowles her own special edition white and gold pair featuring a series of personal details and notes along the toe cap and heel.

Highlighted by “Big Syl” embroidery atop the toe, the shoes also called out her “08/22” starting and ending seasons in the W, along with her MVP award and four Defensive Player of the Year awards. 

With the regular season behind us and ample heat spotted all year long, here’s to everything still to come in the WNBA playoffs. 

Sabrina Ionescu — Nike Kobe 6 “Mambacita” 

(Photo by Joshua Huston/NBAE via Getty Images)

Coach Becky Hammon — Air Jordan 1 Elevate Low

Chelsea Gray — Adidas Dame 8 “POINT GAWDDDDD”

Jewell Loyd – Nike Kobe 5 PE

(Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

Breanna Stewart – Puma Stewie 1 

(Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)

Sue Bird – Nike Kyrie 6 “MOM”

(Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

Erica Wheeler – Adidas Harden Stepback 3 “MOM PE”

(Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Kristi Toliver – Nike Kobe 5 PE 

Candace Parker – Adidas Exhibit B, by Lailaa Parker

Diana Taurasi – Nike LeBron 19 PE

(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jonquel Jones – Nike KD 15 “Bahamas” PE 

(Photo by Joshua Huston/NBAE via Getty Images)

Elena Delle Donne – Nike FlyEase Air DelDon 1 

(Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)

A’ja Wilson – Nike Cosmic Unity “Aja PE”

(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

Breanna Stewart – Puma MB.01 “Rick & Morty” 

(Photo by Joshua Huston/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jewell Loyd – Nike Kyrie Low 5 PE 

(Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)

Tyasha Harris — Curry Brand Curry 9 Flow “For The W”

(Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Kelsey Plum — Nike Kyrie 7 PE

(Photo by Jim Cowsert/NBAE via Getty Images)

Sabrina Ionescu – Nike Zoom GT Cut PE

(Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images)

Courtney Williams – Nike Dunk Low “Lisa Leslie” 

(Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images)

Katie Lou Samuelson – Puma Fusion Nitro “Title IX 50th Anniversary” custom 

(Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)

Candace Parker – Adidas Exhibit B “Title IX 50th Anniversary” custom

(Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)

Natasha Cloud – Converse All Star Pro BB EVO

(Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

Yvonne Turner – Curry Brand Curry 8 Flow 

(Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

Napheesa Collier – Nike KD 15 

(Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

Dearica Hamby – Air Jordan 37 “Dearica & Amara” 

(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

Skylar Diggins-Smith – Puma “Desert Sky” TRC Blaze Court  

(Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

Sue Bird – Nike Kyrie 7 “Thank You Sue”

Sylvia Fowles – Nike PG 6 “Big Syl” 

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