Puma sees World Cup opportunity for boots tailored to women

Puma sees World Cup opportunity for boots tailored to women


Reuters API

As concern grows over the number of injuries suffered by female soccer players, German sportswear brand PumaWorld Cup

Several key players have had to miss the tournament that started last week due to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures. A higher rate of injuries in the women’s game may be due in part to a reliance on boots designed primarily for men, sports scientists say.

A recent report coordinated by soccer’s European Club Association found as many as 82% of female players in Europe experience discomfort wearing boots. Women often have a lower instep and midfoot than men, for example.

Sportswear companies are under scrutiny for not producing enough boots tailored to women: the chair of the British Parliament’s Women and Equalities committee wrote to executives at AdidasNikeUmbro

“Why are there so few football boots on the market designed specifically for women and girls?” lawmaker Caroline Nokes wrote in the letter.

But the big sports brands are responding, sensing a business opportunity as women’s soccer takes off.

Nike last month launched a new boot for women, while Adidas on July 4 launched three designs developed and tested with “an equal gender split of contributors” from amateur to professional athletes.

On Wednesday, Puma CEO Arne Freundt said more than 90 players at the World Cup, hosted by Australia and New Zealand, were wearing Puma boots. A spokesperson said 95% of them were wearing women-fit boots.

Puma’s UK website shows five styles of soccer boots “engineered for the female foot,” priced between 75 pounds ($97) and 200 pounds ($258).

“We believe that this women’s fit is super important for them to further enhance their performance but also to prevent injuries,” said Freundt.

Puma is investing in a research study that will further explore ACL injuries in women’s soccer, the company said in a separate statement on Wednesday, with the aim of further developing its women-specific boots among others.

Freundt didn’t share sales figures for the women’s fit boots, saying: “To be very frank I think we still need to build more awareness around this.”

Puma sponsors the Switzerland and Morocco women’s teams, as well as individual athletes playing for Italy, Canada, the Netherlands and other teams.

The women’s World Cup expanded this year to 32 teams, from 24 in 2019, meaning a total of 736 players at the event.

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