Chris Morrison (left) and his daughter, Riley, on Nov. 6, 2017. Photo: Chris Morrison
NAPA, Calif. - A 9-year-old girl named Riley Morrison wrote Warriors' star Steph Curry a letter on looseleaf paper complaining that when she went to buy his Under Armour sneakers, she could only find boy sizes.
And what happened next has not only changed Riley's life, but is inspiring other girls and women across the country as they hunt for the perfect athletic shoe. On Thursday, Curry apologized for the mishap and vowed to make immediate changes.
"I didn't really think he would respond and that he'd send me any shoes because he's such a busy man." Riley said Thursday. "I think it's cool that he fixed it."
But Riley's customer complaint went beyond just her, and her letter is having a ripple effect on the sports apparel industry.
"I've heard from all these people who said the same thing has happened to them," Riley's father, Chris Morrison, a Napa firefighter and his daughter's basketball coach, said. "They found like three shoes in the girl's section when they were shopping for sneakers. I mean, would you ever take a boy shoe shopping and ask him to buy shoes in the girl's section?"
As Riley's father tells the story, he and his daughter are both big sneaker lovers and were excited that basketball season had once again begun. Riley, whom he called a deep "thinker" who attends Napa Valley Language Academy, selected the Curry 5s as her sneaker of choice. But when he went to the Under Armour website, there were none listed in the girl's section, just the boy's.
"She was really bummed out," he said.
Morrison suggested his daughter write a letter. And so she did earlier this month. She told Curry, noting that she shares the same name as Curry's oldest daughter, that she was very disappointed with the lack of girl's choices on the Under Armour website.
"I hope you can work with Under Armour to change this, because girls want to rock the Curry 5s too," she wrote.
She mailed the letter in the old-fashioned way to the Warriors fan office. But Morrison has a friend at Vox in New York, where reporter Liz Plank tweeted a screen shot of the letter and tagged Curry. "Can u help?" Plant asked. Five minutes after Plank's tweet, Teen Vogue called Riley and broke the story, Morrison said.
In the meantime, Riley's plea got Curry's attention and he is taking her frustrations seriously.
In a handwritten letter that he posted on Twitter, Curry wrote that he has spent the last two days trying to fix the issue with Under Armor. The problem, he wrote to her, was that the company labeled smaller sizes as "boys," a problem which will be corrected. Girls and boys sizes at that age are the same, the problem is that the shoes only live on the boy's side. As of Thursday, customers can now find the Curry 5s on the girl's side.
"I want to make sure you can wear my kicks proudly," he said. He added that he was sending her a new pair for free and that she'd also get a pair of Curry 6s when they come out. Curry told her to stay tuned for something special to happen in Oakland on March 8 for International Women's Day.
In an email, Under Armour spokesman Dean Stoyer said that thanks to Riley and Curry, "we're correcting a simple yet critical error." Labeling the kid sizes just for boys was "simply wrong," Stoyer said. From now on, grade school sizes will be properly labeled moving forward.On social media, many shared similar sizes, especially from fathers frustrated that they couldn't easily find their athletic daughters the right footwear. Robert Gomez of Watsonville posted that this issue is "100 percent a problem" and he hopes shoe companies won't simply make girl sneakers in pink and purple. He said he took his teenage daughter to about ten different stores to find her the right shoe because she is in between boy's and men's sizes.
Morrison said it's really amazing his daughter is making such as impact.
"She's funny and wild at home, but normally really shy in public," he said. "But as for all this attention, she thinks it's pretty overwhelming."
As for Riley, she said she's always known that "girls are strong. They can do anything they put their mind to."
KTVU's Alyana Gomez contributed to this report.