The Most Powerful Women in Sneakers in 2017

The most sought after athletic brand ambassadors this year by far were female. Instead of tapping the usual pro-athlete endorsers, companies are casting a wider net by tapping today’s most influential women to help boost their connection with female consumers.

Reebok, for instance, has been long focused on its women’s category and has continued to move the needle when it comes to the importance of female empowerment in the athletic market this year by growing it’s long list of partners.

Most recently, the Boston-based brand has tapped Victoria Beckham to help inspire power and strength. She joins Ariana Grande, Gigi Hadid, Aly Raisman and Teyana Taylor, among other ambassadors.

gigi hadid reebok Gigi Hadid for Reebok. Splash/Reebok

While fitness and sport are indeed a key part of the athletic world, companies such as Reebok are understanding that this movement goes far beyond working out. By teaming up with the likes of Grande and Hadid, Reebok has emphasized the value of confidence and self-belief.

For Grande, joining the company, which has been an advocate for the body-positivity movement, is in line with Grande’s broader mission of female liberation.

“It’s all about inclusiveness and celebrating beauty in fitness and all that comes with it,” she told FN in September. “Celebrating each other and not being afraid to be who you are is something I talk about with my fans all the time.”

Puma has also led the charge in boosting women’s business. After teaming up with Rihanna and launching the Fenty Puma line, the brand is looking towards another big female name for support — Selena Gomez. The singer joined the company in September and is expected to to design product and create marketing campaigns for the brand.

But another face for Puma that has gone beyond being just that is Cara Delevingne.

Cara Delevingne in the bath in Puma's DO YOU spring '18 campaign. Cara Delevingne in Puma’s DO YOU spring ’18 campaign. Puma

In July, she and Puma presented #DoYou, a docus-series, spotlighting the stories of female empowerment and change. She shared her experiences during a trip to Uganda to meet refugees through Girl Up, a United Nations Foundation campaign supporting girls in Uganda, India, Malawi, Guatemala, Ethiopia and Liberia, with the goal of encouraging women and girls to work together and lift each other up.

Another powerful set of women that may have not caught your attention this year were part of Nike’s plus-size campaign.

Nike Plus Size Danielle Vanier Danielle Vanier in Nike’s plus-size campaign. Courtesy of Nike.

Nike made headlines in March after releasing apparel that fits various sizes while also celebrating the diversity of women. While many fans of the brand responded with praise, others decided to shame the launch.

Internet trolls made comments claiming that Nike is promoting obesity with the new line.  And the campaign models, which included British blogger Grace Victory, blogger Danielle Vanier, ,odel Paloma Elsesser and U.S. Track & Field athlete Amanda Bingson, weren’t here for that so they spoke up against their critics.

For more of the most influential women in the athletic space this year click through the gallery.
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