×

How Women’s Basketball Icon Dawn Staley’s Colleague Introducing Her to Oofos Led to a Partnership With the Brand

The Oofos ambassador roster is replete with sports stars who discovered the brand organically, including women’s basketball icon Dawn Staley.

Decades of dominating on the hardwood as a player — a career that included six WNBA All-Star appearances — and years of pacing on the sidelines as a championship-wining coach for the South Carolina Gamecocks, left Staley in search of comfort and recovery. About five years ago, the retired baller was introduced later, and now, she is aligned with the brand.

“[Dawn is] a fantastic person. She’s another one who found Oofos. I love when she tells the story about how she has Oofos in her car and her, Oofos in her foyer, under her desk in her office. She’s been great,” Oofos president Steve Gallo told FN.

Below, Staley reveals how she discovered Oofos, where the brand fits in her footwear collection and her goals for the partnership.

We spoke with president Steve Gallo late last year, and he had mentioned you have quite the Oofos collection. What does your collection of Oofos look like?

“I have them everywhere. Everywhere that I’m going to be, there’s a pair of them. My office, I have a few pair at home, I keep a keep a pair in my car and then I keep a pair for the road when we travel.”

What does your footwear collection look like?

“Oofos, I wear every day. When I go home, I take my sneakers off, I put my Oofos on. I don’t want barefoot because I’ve got bad knees and I’ve got flat feet. If I’m walking barefoot, it does not feel good on my knees. But I do have a variety of sneakers and they’re almost like trophies. My sneaker collection has a variety of sneakers, but I like the ones that don’t have a release date, that are not even out yet. I like to have the sneakers most people don’t have and I like to have them before anybody else gets them. I have hundreds of pairs of sneakers.”

How, and when, did you discover Oofos?

“I discovered Oofos about probably five years ago when our softball coach [Beverly Smith], she bought them for her team. And then we always had a girls Christmas, five or six of us always get together for Christmas, and we exchange gifts and she gifted me a pair of Oofos. I’m not really a slide person. Even as an athlete, I never liked slides. It actually took me quite some time for me to even try them. I said, ‘Let me just try them,’ and the moment I tried them I was like, ‘Whoa.’ I felt an immediate change in how I felt. And I texted her after wearing them for a couple months like, ‘Do you have any more? Can you get me some more?’ She would actually supply me with more Oofos throughout the years. Finally, one of my friends in softball is Jen Teague, she’s the head coach at Columbia University in New York, and she actually came to my house and saw me with Oofos on my feet and was like, ‘Oofos? I know the CEO.’ I said, ‘Hook me up.’ About a week later, I got like four or five pairs. [Oofos president] Steve [Gallo] would periodically send me stuff, and then a few months after that, we just linked up and we’re family, we’re partners now.”

How would you describe the tangible benefits that Oofos offers?

“I don’t have knee pain when I wear them. Also, there are older women that in are our fan base here at South Carolina — because we rank No. 1 in attendance for the past seven or eight years — we have a fan group called the G-Hive, it’s about 500 or so fans. This year, I decided for their membership, if they had to pay $100, they get a hoodie and a pair of Oofos. When we told them what they were getting this year, they were just like, ‘What are those?’ They were skeptical and I had to tell them, ‘Just wait, don’t knock them until you try them.’ Now, so many people come up to me and they tell me how much they love them and send pictures on social media. Another older lady, she had back problems, and one of our G-Hive members told her about Oofos and she reached out to me. I had her size here in our office, I drove them over to her and I texted Steve like, ‘I need some close-toed Oofos for a good friend of mine,’ and he sent her some closed-toes. To this day she’s just like, ‘Thank you, I never knew that I could get so much relief.'”

As an athlete yourself, why do you think Oofos should be in the footwear range of athletes of all levels?

Our bodies are our temple. As an athlete, as a former athlete, as a coach of athletes, as a coach who spends most of her time on her feet, you don’t want to think about your feet. If your feet hurt or any part of your body hurts, you feel it, and it is noticeable then there is an issue. When I put my Oofos on, I know I’ll get a really good experience when putting them on, and I don’t have to worry about aches and pains. It’s a good shoe that will allow them to not think about what they do every day.”

If Oofos was around when you were playing, what impact do you believe the footwear would have had on your career?

I don’t think it would prolong my career so I could be playing today, but I could have eked out another four years. And that’s at 40, I could have been another Sue Bird.”

What are your goals with the Oofos partnership?

“I just want to spread the news. I want people to have relief for whatever aches and pains that they do have. I want them to be able to continue to do what they’re doing and then have some relief from doing it so they can actually get up and do the next day and the next day. I hope this partnership will allow me to spread the good news to people who want to keep moving. I was wearing them before we partnered. I was wearing them well before, so I’ve got years and years of great results. This is just icing on the cake. There are so many people out there that are in pain every day and they can get some relief from it.”

TOMS Sponsored By TOMS

Building Business to Improve Lives

TOMS discusses its approach to mental health awareness and female empowerment through impact initiatives in the footwear segment.
Learn More

Access exclusive content