“You didn’t know that girls get 5 pairs, that’s it. I buy guys cleats”; that’s a text from my friend Krystal who played co-ed soccer with me this winter. It was in reply to a text I’d sent which basically said, “Wow I’ve just been looking online at what’s available for women’s soccer players, you’re not exactly spoiled for choice if you want a top tier boot.”
FIFA’s Big Count of 2007 recorded that between the US and Canada alone, there was over 2.1 million registered female players; and that’s a number which has definitely risen in the last 8 years. So you don’t have to be a genius to know there’s definitely a market which has been vastly under served when it comes to women being able to get a top quality pair of soccer boots which were designed specifically for them.
If you’re curious as to what boots are currently available to the female market here’s what’s currently stocked at soccer.com; and you’ll be quick to notice, like I did, that women aren’t spoiled for choice when searching for a top tier boot.
So, what are boot manufacturer’s doing to correct this injustice?
Here’s a quick look at what the Big Three are up to, in light of the World Cup being a couple weeks around the bend. (Note: I’m looking exclusively at the Big Three because they are the companies with the largest research and development budgets. They also have universal global appeal and are more widely available than the mid-sized and smaller players in the boot world.)
Beaverton, Oregon is an exciting place to start as Nike are involved with the most visible force (good or bad) in women’s football, the United States Women’s National Team. It was due to this tie in with the US Women’s National Team that Nike created the first ever women’s specific boot package with the 2015 World Cup Pack. The World Cup Pack launched at a gala event in Los Angeles, and our own El Jefe was among the invited guests. If you haven’t yet go and read about Bryan’s experience.
While at the unveil Bryan was able to have a sit down Andrea Perez who since November 2014 has been the General Manager for North American soccer. When asked by Bryan whether or not Nike had intentions of creating a silo of boots exclusively for women, Perez said that was a negative; explaining that the feedback from top women’s players has them enjoying the technology of the current silo’s in the women’s fit specific boots. That being said Perez also stated that Nike are looking to deliver the innovations available in their current boot technology to all the women who play. This sounds like great news for ladies playing game at all levels as it seems like The Swoosh will be making their boots more readily available to purchase.
Following Nike’s lead, World Cup sponsors Adidas have announced that they too will be making a World Cup Pack available. The USWNT inspired miadidas pack has seen US National teamers Becky Sauerbrunn, Morgan Brian, Lori Chalupny, Heather O’Reilly and Christie Rampone design their own versions of the Predator, F50, and 11pro. While Adidas has historically done the best job of making women’s specific top tier boots available (mind you that’s nothing to write home about), I can’t help but feel that they’ve taken the easy way out with the upcoming World Cup.
They are after all the title sponsor of the tournament. Their logo will be plastered all over Canada at the tournament, commercials (maybe those ads will feature some Adidas sponsored female players; we can only hope) will be airing during every ad block globally, so why couldn’t they release a proper World Cup colourway like Nike did? It’s great that they’ve teamed up with the five USWNT players to launch a miadidas range, but given the limited appeal and availability of the miadidas collection (USA only); Adidas has thrown away a golden chance to match the ingenuity of their arch-rivals, and broaden their appeal in the women’s game.
We finally move down the line to Puma. As we know Puma always up their game when the World Cup rolls around. What’s that? Puma don’t seem to be doing anything for the World Cup this time? Actually considering that they have Marta as a sponsored player Puma don’t seem to be doing much of anything when it comes to providing top tier boots for women’s soccer. I’ve included the picture below to let you know what to expect if you head over to the soccer boot section at Puma’s website:
No you’re not seeing things, the top spec boot offered by Puma to female players seems to be the evoSPEED 3.3. Even by the standards of boots which are made available to female players that’s poor form from Puma. The Big Cat has some great boots on offer, boots that we’re very much fans of. They also deserve a great deal of credit for their Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns, featuring special edition evoSPEED boots. But, even with that kind of goodwill you don’t have to be the brightest tool in the shed to know that what Puma currently makes available to female players, is a joke. So come on Puma it’s time to pull your socks up.
WHICH BRAND WINS?
So that’s what the Big Three are up to in the women’s game. It seems one company is upping it’s game and making a run at sealing up the market. What remains to be seen is, if the other two companies will be doing anything to combat that. As I said in the outset there was 2.1 million women playing the game in North America in 2007. With the increased media profile of women’s soccer you can be sure that number has gone up. The market is definitely there, so the boots should be too, it’s all on the manufacturers now; because as you know, women aren’t exactly spoiled for choice at the moment.
What are your opinions on the boots available for the female market? Have you ever seen a women’s fit pair of Puma evoSPEED 1.3’s? If you have let us know your thoughts down below. Also if you’re a female player who’s unhappy with what’s boots are currently available to you, then hit up Nike, Adidas and Puma and let them hear it! They’ll be more inclined to change their ways if you make noise.