Stephen Curry vs. Sabrina Ionescu: Who has the better signature shoe?

Curry and Ionescu are set to go head-to-head in a shootout, but how about a battle of their respective shoe lines?
Golden State Warriors v Indiana Pacers
Golden State Warriors v Indiana Pacers / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

What started as a fun, what-if idea between two of basketball's hottest shooters is set in stone as a historic "worlds collide" matchup on 2024 NBA All-Star weekend. That's right, the NBA's all-time leader in 3-pointers made, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors will meet 2023 WNBA 3-point contest winner Sabrina Ionescu of the New York Liberty in a one-on-one shootout during the All-Star Saturday festivities.

Without a doubt, Curry and Ionescu are talented shooters and arguably the best of their respective leagues, but another thing they have in common is their signature basketball sneakers. This poses the additional question, who's got the superior shoe line?

When it comes to shoes, who wins between Stephen Curry and Sabrina Ionescu?

Now, Steph has been in the shoe game longer as his Under Armour Curry models are now in their 11th edition, whereas Ionescu has her Sabrina 1's in collaboration with Nike. For this reason, the Curry 1 has been selected as Steph's representative shoe to match up with the Sabrina 1. But you may ask, what exactly are the shoes going to be critiqued on? Well, the answer to that is three main points: design, durability, and price.

To start the shoe-out, let's look at the designs of the Curry 1 and the Sabrina 1, and the saying goes "Ladies first!" so Ionescu's shoe is first to spotlight. The Sabrina 1 has come out with a multitude of colorways thus far, with the "Magnetic" model pictured below, a "BKLYN's Finest" with a New York Liberty touch, and "West Coast Roots" taking a sunny California approach, just to name a few. The Sabrina 1 is a sleek, low-profile model that takes inspiration from her mentor Kobe Bryant's Nike Kobe 5.

Next up are the Curry 1's with Under Armour. Some iconic colorways of the Curry 1 include the "Dub Nation" GSW-inspired model, the "All-American" in gold, red and black, and the "Jam" which is a retro arcade game-inspired model shown in the clip below. Curry is Under Armour's flagship sponsored athlete, however, his Curry 1 takes a bit of design and performance inspiration from the UA Clutchfit Drive. The Curry 1's are also a bit clunkier than the Sabrina 1's, and sometimes going the simpler route is better than the flashy, so the design points go to Sabrina Ionescu!

Seeing as both Steph and Sabrina are guards, their shoes are tailor-made to support the needs and durability of guard-style on-court play. The Sabrina 1's have been described as giving "great traction (indoors), a speedy and reactive cushioning setup, along with elite lockdown and support." But on the flip side, the Sabrina 1's have also been described as lacking "beefy and plush cushioning".

Speaking of cushioning, the Curry 1's have a new (at the time) technology called Charged implemented in them, which was described as feeling "softer while moving normally and stiffened up while in motion." In addition, the Curry 1's were described as being great for traction both indoors and outdoors, as opposed to the Sabrina 1's.

It seems the Curry 1's win in terms of traction and cushioning, so the durability points go to Stephen Curry! Finally, it's time to look at the price of the Curry 1's vs. the Sabrina 1's. Because the Curry 1 is a retro model, the shoe had an initial SRP of $120 when they first released back in 2015. Fast forward to 2024, the Curry 1 Retro as they're now called will cost you CAD 180 or USD 150 at most retail settings. The Sabrina 1's are priced around CAD 170 or USD 130 depending on the colorway. Though a slight difference in price between the two, the price battle points go to Ionescu!

That brings us to the end of the Curry vs Sabrina shoe-out! The reception to both shoe models is subjective and one could feel entirely different across the three measurements of superiority. But for an introductory model in the Sabrina 1, which also takes a Kobe-lite spin on things, it's a solid choice for any guards looking to hoop in a stylish, affordable set of kicks. No knock on the Curry 1's though!