Entries in Sneakers (5)


Nike to Release Its Most Expensive Sneaker Ever

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Facing shrinking profit margins and rising costs, Nike is pumping up the prices of its clothes and sneakers, the Wall Street Journal reports.  And it will be most notable this fall, when the latest pair of LeBron James basketball shoes hits the market.

The new kicks -- the LeBron X Nike Plus -- will be sold for the hefty price of $315, according to the newspaper.  That makes them the most expensive pair of sneakers Nike has released so far.

The shoes will come fitted with electronic motion detectors that can measure how high you jump, the Journal says.  Shoppers who opt for the basic pair -- without the embedded electronics -- will only have to shell out about $180.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Adidas Cancels Controversial ‘Shackle’ Shoe

Adidas(NEW YORK) -- Adidas has canceled plans to release a sneaker adorned with rubber fasteners after an image of the shoe posted on the Adidas Originals Facebook page ignited a firestorm of controversy.

The photo of the shoes, dubbed JS Roundhouse Mids by the company, is captioned, “Tighten up your style with the JS Roundhouse Mids dropping in August. Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?”

Critics, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, have called the shoe racist and intensive, saying it evokes the era of slavery.

Criticism was not universal, however. The photo received nearly 38,000 likes on Facebook. But that was not enough to stop Adidas from canceling the shoe, which was expected to hit stores in mid-August.

In a statement emailed to ABC News, Adidas defended the shoe and its designer, Jeremy Scott, saying, “Our collaboration with Jeremy Scott has always stood for creativity and originality.  Jeremy Scott is renowned as a designer whose style is quirky and lighthearted and his previous shoe designs for adidas Originals have, for example, included panda heads and Mickey Mouse. The design of the JS Roundhouse Mid is nothing more than the designer Jeremy Scott’s outrageous and unique take on fashion and has nothing to do with slavery.”

In the same statement, however, the company also apologized for the shoe, saying, “Since the shoe debuted on our adidas Originals Facebook page ahead of its market release in August, adidas has received both favorable and critical feedback.  We apologize if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace.”

Designer Scott has said the shoes were inspired by a 1980s children’s toy called My Pet Monster, which has similar shackles.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Converse Lures 'Rebel Consumer' with Musicians

Converse(NEW YORK) -- Converse sneakers are the shoes that have set the beat for several generations over. Rock stars from Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones to Nirvana and Justin Bieber have all rocked out in Chuck Taylors.

Made of canvas and rubber, the century-old American brand's shoes have epitomized countercultural cool for decades.

"They really haven't changed in 103 years. They're basically the same exact shoe," said Converse archivist Sam Smallidge.

Watch the full story on ABC's Nightline Wednesday at 11:35 p.m. ET/PT

First stitched outside of Boston in 1908, Converse was born as a basketball shoe, though it quickly outgrew its place in the sportswear market and the Chuck Taylor emerged as a piece of American pop culture.

Even in these tough economic times, sales have been on the rise.

"I think everybody on the earth, it seems like, has had a pair of these at one point in time," said Converse CEO and President Jim Calhoun.

However, in the last decade, Converse found itself struggling, filing for bankruptcy and failing to compete in a saturated sports market.

"I think we tried to go down a sports performance path when there were other brands, frankly, that were spending more money and were better at it than us," Calhoun said.

Ironically, it was Nike, one of the biggest sports performance companies in the world, that bought up and bailed out Converse. Calhoun said the company now sells about 200,000 pairs of Chuck Taylors each day around the world.

"That's the best-selling shoe of all time and continues to really be our iconic product," he said.

But the shoe that once boasted a "Made in the USA" stamp isn't made in America anymore. To cut costs, the company moved its U.S.-based plant overseas to countries like Vietnam and Indonesia, where reports of worker abuse surfaced last summer. Factory employees claimed their bosses slapped, kicked and verbally abused them. When asked about the reports, Calhoun called the incidents "unfortunate" and "unacceptable."

While Calhoun said the company has made progress on fixing the problem, Converse's critics say the company is still falling short in rectifying factory workers' complaints.

"We don't take a passive approach. We don't wait for the problems. We proactively monitor our factories," Calhoun said. "But I'd be less than sincere if I said no problem will ever happen again."

Despite the controversies and financial problems, the company is now betting its future on a return to its musical roots. Converse began inviting musicians, including Pharrell and most recently the Gorillaz, to cut original tracks to build social buzz around the brand. They've also built an empire on special shoe collaborations with U2's The Edge, Metallica and Lupe Fiasco. The goal is to win back that "rebel consumer" of hard-to-woo hipsters.

Converse also recently built a 5,200-square-foot state-of-the-art recording studio in Brooklyn called Rubber Tracks.

"The idea around the studio was to build a place to say thank you, thank you to all the artists who have done all this great work in our shoes over the years, and a way for us to give back to the community," said Converse Chief Marketing Officer Geoff Cottrill.

So far, 150 up-start acts, short on cash with big dreams, have been invited to record on Converse's dime.  The recording sessions are free for these garage bands and bedroom musicians, but the artists are invited to post their music on the Converse Facebook pages, which boast 47 million fans, making Converse one of the most significant apparel in social media.

"We're not measuring every single band that comes in here and how many shoes they're going to sell," Cottrill said. "We truly believe in the idea of doing good things for our consumers. Good things will happen to us in return."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Police Bust Women In Alleged Counterfeit Nike Scheme

Comstock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Two South Carolina women were arrested in Georgia after what began as a traffic stop resulted in what police are calling a major bust of counterfeit goods.

Police in Gwinnett County, Ga., say they pulled over a Pontiac Grand Prix on Interstate 85 on Saturday after the vehicle was spotted traveling too close behind another vehicle. Two women were in the car, and during the traffic stop the driver reportedly admitted to having marijuana in the vehicle and allowed police to conduct a search, according to ABC News' Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV.

Officers say they found 78 boxes of Nike sneakers, but upon looking at the footwear officers became suspicious. The serial numbers on the sneakers did not match those on the boxes, the Nike logos could be peeled right off, and on some of the sneakers the Michael Jordan logo had one too many fingers, police tell WSB-TV.

Kotina Lashan Feaster and Jessica Pennick were arrested and charged in connection with the discovery. At least one of the suspects claimed no knowledge of the goods being counterfeit.

"She came down from South Carolina to get all these shoes and then she drove back to SC to sell them," vehicle officer Nicholas Boney told WSB-TV.

Police estimate the goods retail at more than $12,000.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Nike Air Jordan XI Concord Causes Shopping Frenzy

File photo. (Jonathan Daniel/Allsport)(NEW YORK) -- The arrival of Nike's new Air Jordan 11 Retro Concords in stores just in time for Christmas brought pandemonium all over the country.

Thousands lined up across the country to shell out $180 for the black and white "J's" that went on sale at midnight.

Police were called to shopping centers in Indiana, Florida, Texas, and Virginia among other states to control crowds of hundreds lining up for the shoes.

"I don't remember anything like this in the recent past at all, definitely not with the iPhone or anything like that," Linda Jackson, a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, told ABC News.

Indiana police were called to three malls to help control "hectic" scenes of hundreds of shoppers, including many teenagers and children. 

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"It was pretty much a surprise for us," Jackson said. "I imagine the malls knew, but I don't know that they were prepared for the response."

Frantic shoppers even tried to break down a door at one of the Indiana malls.

"There was a door that was damaged, but I don't believe they were able to gain access," Jackson said. "It sounded like these are the need-to-have item of the season, for some reason."

Florida police used pepper spray on unruly shoe seekers and fights were reported in Kentucky; glass was shattered at stores in North Carolina.

East of San Francisco, the Air Jordan sale was totally canceled after a gun went off outside the mall and the gunman was arrested.

Within hours, hundreds of pairs of the shoes were on sale on eBay, some for more than $500. Many of the pairs already had dozens of bidders.

The shoes were widely released and are available at stores such as Foot Locker and Champs, in addition to Nike stores.

Air Jordans bring in an estimated $1 billion for Nike every year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio