Ida Sports, the company co-founded by Laura Youngson to offer some of the best women’s soccer boots on the market, knows it. That’s a good thing, too, because not every well-known brand offers comfortable, fitting footwear for women, whether they’re professionals or girls getting into the sport for the first time.
With the upcoming Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand – another milestone event for women’s football – some stars will not have the desired product. Equally important is the lack of cleats for a mainstream audience, with brands still offering substandard unisex options at a time of year when playing interest may once again be at its peak.
On the topic of peaks, Youngson’s vision for a better boot was on display when he competed in the highest-altitude land soccer match on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in 2017 and played on an equal playing field. Six years later, Ida is backed by Elysian Park Ventures — Todd Boehly and owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Premier League club Chelsea — as well as Stadia Ventures and Billy Jean King Enterprises support.
Its next goal is to spread the name further, becoming a desirable option in a selection pool that includes big names like Nike, Adidas and Puma.
“Challenging brands is fun because you know you’re a startup,” Youngson said via a Zoom link. “But, at the same time, we know we’re probably the most knowledgeable team on women’s football boots on the planet. So, you can start to win technically, even if they have a lot of marketing dollars.”
Speaking of the current situation, she said, “I think we’re seeing that if you’re at the top, you get a custom pair of boots, it’s like the Sam Kerrs of the world. But if you’re in any of these positions, You’ll either get products off the shelf, or you’ll have to buy products that aren’t really designed for women.
“We know the bigger brands are looking at it, thinking about what to release for the World Cup, if they’re going to release something. All the attempts so far have been half-hearted, and they probably won’t go into production and make these women Any technology or research necessary for the product.”
As far as its stance is concerned, Puma states: “We will offer unisex and women’s fits in all of our boot franchises (Future, Ultra and King). By removing bulk from the upper and creating a lower instep, we Made her a pair of boots that fit the anatomy of the female foot. In 2021 launched the first Puma football boots specifically for women.”
Adidas wrote in a statement: “Our female athletes have told us they want the same uncompromising level of performance as our current men’s range, so our current focus is on producing football boots that meet the needs of all athletes and working with Extensive testing for those athletes who like it. Recognizes all levels of transgender.
“Our history of innovation in football boots means we are never standing still and will continue to test new concepts across our wide range of players.”
Nike may have a new design in the pipeline, but has yet to say where it sits and what solution it could offer. Still, the global reach of all of these brands means they still have the ability to forge partnerships with players and attract more customers around the world.
To make their voices heard, Ida Sports started into grassroots football. While continuing to be involved at all levels, it is also seeking links higher up the pyramid and getting some players to try out its brand in England’s Women’s Premier League.
Still, there are some obstacles. “With elite players, it can be an agent looking for the biggest but not the best for the player,” Jansen continued. “Not all surrogates. But some are trying to profit from women’s sport without really knowing the sport.
“Right now, I think we’re seeing women’s sport like the Wild West. So, with all these sponsorship deals, things are changing rapidly. Obviously, as a startup, you can’t compete with that.
“But when you have players who have had shoe issues in the past, you can go to the game and they want to work with you because they know you care about the athletes and have a more genuine heart for women.”
Ida Sports merchandise is available in Australia, the UK and the US and has released designs such as the Centra, Classica, Rise and Spirit. Constantly listening to feedback, it is still developing its own model and is keen to break further into Europe, where interest and football pedigree is high in countries such as Spain. As leagues in these countries either specialize, or become more specialized, inquiries about their work keep popping up.
As for the standard of play, which is already high in certain European countries, the US, Canada, Australia and Brazil, Youngson believes better conditions could push players more.
“I liken it to the British Cycling Race, the 1% gain in a lot of places adds up. I think that’s the way shoes are. If you don’t have to think about your footwear and it feels more comfortable, you’re less likely to get fatigued and by wearing something that fits you clothing to reduce the risk of injury.
“We’ve seen such a great game, but the players are already complaining about the load and having to play a lot of games. You’re going to see these injuries keep people out for a longer period of time. You’re going to think, ‘Can we Can’t look at it and imagine what would happen if you took the shoe off as one of the obstacles?’”
However, perhaps the point is to provide a brand that represents everyone, regardless of standards.
Youngson concluded, “Part of our mission is to change the industry so that when girls and women walk into a sporting goods store, they see themselves.”
With new heroes being made this July and August, with unprecedented participation from 32 teams from the Philippines to Zambia, there’s never been a better time to make it happen.