Friday, March 17, 2006

Footwear Intelligence

A few months back, I started a column on urban footwear trends for Footwear Intelligence magazine. My second feature was on Nike's might Air Force One, which lately appears to be losing some steam.

I'm loathe to retype the whole article here, but the basic thrust of the article is that there are three main reasons sales (counterfeits, competition from Jordan and rise of skate), while still quite strong, are not as insane as they used to be.

Here's a photo of the first page of the article. Click on it and you might actually be able to read it.

And here's an excerpt from the second page of the article, which addresses the counterfeit issue:

Like Gucci-bag knock-offs before them, fake pairs of Air Force Is and other carefully allocated Nike styles including retro Jordans began showing up in New York about a year ago. The trend quickly spread to other major cities, including Chicago and Los Angeles, and it wasn’t long before a kid in landlocked suburbia—who had likely heard rap artist Nelly sing about his Air Force 1s in a 2002 hit, but rarely saw it stocked at his local sneaker store—could buy the style whenever the mood struck him simply by visiting one of many Internet sites hawking “rare and authentic” Nikes.

It was a turn of events that had to have blown the minds of the Nike higher-ups, who, while watching white classics by their competitors come and go thanks in part to poor distribution management, had for many years managed to maintain an intense demand for Air Force 1s by meticulously limiting when certain colors—in particular “white/white” Air Force 1s—would be made available to a select group of retailers.

Not for nothing, but I'm pretty happy with how the article came out.

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