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October 3rd, 2007 Ethan Smith | News Stories
 

The Shoe Must Go On

Nike makes shoes aimed for sale to Native Americans. WW considers other niche markets for the Swoosh.

     
Tags:
Air Closet Case
IMAGE: thomas cobb

Richard Pryor once said, “Tight shoes are a motherfucker, brother.”

True. And Nike also seems to agree. Last week, Nike debuted the Air Native, a training shoe tailored to the wider Native American foot. Indians suffer from above-average rates of obesity and adult-onset diabetes. Stripped of land, culture and history, they’re apparently turning to the fridge for consolation. So Nike is trying to encourage exercise among the tribes with a niche-marketed $44 sneaker, rolling back all profits into tribal health programs.

This got WW thinking: What other at-risk segments of the population could benefit from kicks of their own? Try these on.

AIR QUAGMIRE
For:
Iraq/Bush Protesters
Health Issues:
Blisters, shin splints, feelings of helplessness.

The Air Quagmire comes equipped with plenty of padding and an extra-thick sole—because activists hungering for Bush’s impeachment or a hasty end to the Iraq occupation better keep marching. And its red-white-and-blue color scheme should help the Pentagon distinguish protesters from enemy combatants (money back if you wind up in Gitmo).

AIR HEIMLICH
For:
University of Oregon football players
Health Issues:
Unusually high instances of choking at key moments.

Enclosed with each pair of these gridiron cleats is a $50,000 check signed by Phil Knight. While the shoes can’t stop the Ducks from blowing big games just when their fans dare to believe this is their year, the extra dough means the team can afford new uniforms every time they break fans’ hearts (as in four fourth-quarter turnovers in last Saturday’s loss to Cal).

AIR CLOSET CASE
For:
“Not Gay” Idaho senators
Health Issues:
“Wide stance,” possible STDs.

These shoes come laced together, so they can only be spread about 2 1/2 feet apart—or slightly less than the width of an airport restroom stall. And Nike’s revolutionary Straight-Fit™ fabric is proven to fight off not-at-all-gay same-sex attraction, minimizing stall-to-stall ogling and obscene hand gestures.

 
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