Kansas City startup Yes! Athletics launches Kickstarter campaign for Defiant 1 girls wrestling shoe

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Amidst a global pandemic, Yes! Athletics dares greatly launching both the business and their first shoe, Defiant 1. Defiant 1 is a high performance, eco-friendly, tough wearing girls wrestling shoe made specifically for female athletes brave enough to enter the world of male dominated sports.

“Girl’s wrestling is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. My goal was to create a company that encourages and empowers girls to pursue the sport,” Deb North, founder of Yes! Athletics.

It is time for the sporting goods industry to fully support girls in sport. While the industry has made great strides since the 1970’s and Title Nine, sporting goods companies serving male dominated sports like wrestling, football, and weightlifting continue to cater specifically to men and boys. Yes! Athletics looks to change that as the first sporting goods company to offer female specific gear for these fringe athletes daring greatly in a man’s world.

Our first product offering is live now on Kickstarter. The Dominant 1 wrestling shoe is a breathable, lightweight, eco-friendly shoe manufactured with girls in mind offering all the benefits of boys wrestling shoes in female specific designs and color ways. “Girl’s wrestling is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. My goal was to create a company that encourages and empowers girls to pursue the sport,” Deb North, founder of Yes! Athletics.

According to the Wall Street Journal, girls wrestling has surpassed gymnastics in popularity and participation. The NWCA (National Wrestling Coaches Association) shows the number of female wrestlers has doubled in the last 5 years, and in 2004 women’s wrestling became an official sport in the Summer Olympics.

Wrestling, along with all sports, helps build character, boost confidence and increase self-esteem. It is important for women to feel empowered and supported when participating in a predominantly male sport. North shared, “There is a saying that says, ‘kids in sports stay out of the courts.’ Sports teach kids so much about being a good teammate. Wrestling, in particular, teaches discipline and focus that can carry into many other sports.”

Like the rest of the world, Yes! Athletics is not immune to COVID-19. The original April 2020 launch was delayed until late August 2020. “We do not know how COVID will affect the sport at this time, but everyone wants the sport to continue with advanced protocols such as additional cleaning, fewer spectators and face masks while wrestling,” North said.

When North designed the initial Defiant 1 prototype, she sought the help of her daughters who helped pick out the colors. Later, a focus group of local female wrestlers provided North with valuable insight into the features and functionality of the shoe. North took this feedback and used it to make the shoes better. For example, the Defiant 1 now features a secure strap on the tongue housing the shoelaces out of the way. A critical feature during a match.

North said, “I have such respect for the girls that have been pioneers in the sport and said ‘Yes’ early on. I am wildly passionate about helping other girls be brave and say Yes!”

A Kickstarter campaign launched August 18, 2020 with the goal of bringing Defiant 1 to female athletes. North hopes the success of the campaign will help Yes! Athletics bring female specific gear to athletes everywhere.

Yes! Athletics plans to grow their platform “Girls that Grapple” into the go-to forum for girls to discuss anything related to the sport. The company also looks to create a scholarship for girls in non-traditional female sports.

The company is currently taking pre-orders through their Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/yesathletics/girls-wrestling-shoes-by-yes-athletics?ref=user_menu

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Deb North

Cecily Pickering
@YesAthletics
since: 07/2020
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