As professional and amateur female athletes, we spend a lot of time and energy fighting against being viewed through a gendered lens. We see ourselves as sports people who are equal to our male counterparts and we don’t want to be treated any differently.
Just as men’s kit has been designed with men’s health, anatomy, and performance in mind, we need our kit to be designed specifically to support us in our particular sport.
For a long time, women’s sportswear went no further than men’s designs in smaller sizes and feminine colours. There was even a name for this strategy: “shrink it and pink it”. It’s only very recently that sports brands have started to put serious thought and budget behind creating women’s sports kit designed to enhance the experience and performance of the women buying and wearing them.
While it’s been a long time coming, it’s no surprise that the women’s sportswear market is currently exploding. The 2019 Women’s World Cup in France was watched by 1.1bn viewers, the Australian women’s cricket team was voted the most liked national team, and FIFA is standing by its commitment to investing $1 billion into women’s football despite coronavirus. Interest, participation, and investment into women’s sport is bigger than ever before.
The increase in the number of players, viewers, and brand sponsorships in women’s sport has led to a louder conversation around why women have had to put up with wearing men’s kit for so long.
Despite the evolving landscape, sports shoes designed for women are still wildly outnumbered by those designed for men. For women playing sports such as AFL, rugby, and soccer especially, the choice of boots is usually limited to small men’s designs.
For as long as most of us can remember, we have worn small sized men’s boots or large sizes of kid’s boots to play field sports. Even in 2020, women’s sport’s shoes for footy, rugby, soccer are difficult to find.