I remember watching the sneaker aka trainer industry really begin to flourish and grow. I remember the transitions from Dunlop Green Flash to Nike Air and the boom of the sports footwear age.
Seeing each amazing new design of trainer launched and what amazing things they could do, air bubbles to feel like walking on air, pumps to give more support, laces free, you name it they invented it. Some were a great hit while others merely a fad as the consumers voted with their feet (pardon the pun).
But with the birth of the great and amazing sports shoe came the greed and with that the fake sports shoe.
When modern technology first enters the commercial world for the consumer after the sporting world has made good use of the advancements you can understand the high prices because the innovation is new and the productivity is low as, equipment is brand new and production lines need to be established, but after a period of time and a settled infrastructure the costs are greatly reduced and you may assume the price of the product reflects that, but it would appear that an average pair of modern sports shoes would quite comfortably set you back £100. That is one aspect of the greed issues surrounding these great leaps in footwear but the other is fakes!
Fashion has adopted the sports shoe and I believe this has forced the prices up because of supply and demand, the must have latest styles and colours etc. has created a vacuum for the prices to be sucked up and up to sometimes very unreasonable prices. But there are those of us who aren’t so worried about the fashion side of the shoe but the comfort side of the purchase.
I am a huge fan of the Nike Air Max 90 range and have been since I was a teenager and they first came out. I remember borrowing £30 from my grandma to by a pair of off the back of the lorry one’s in Light blue and white. From that day I fell in love with the brand and range. Now you might say that I was wrong to buy an off the back of the lorry pair of Nike Air but I was young and never in my wildest dreams could I imagine affording such advanced technological wonders. But, Nike, you can breathe a sigh of relief, considering since that day I have been a loyal store shopper of your brand it would seem that those first trainers where merely sample pair for a repeat customer.
Some brands I remember never being able to afford as a youngster and merely having to watch as others would strut around in their statements of wealth, comfort and sporting prowess. In turn I never really knew what I was missing out on and therefore never bothered to purchase these other options. Then when I eventually saw cheaper options for these other brands I would take the plunge and give them a try, such as Reebok Pump, and discover to my surprise that they had their own style of comfort to which worthy of my embrace and customer loyalty.
Then there is the fakes, those dreaded fakes, those trainers that look exactly like the real thing (more so online) and the affordable price they are offered to the consumer at and they are oh so tempting, not because you know that they are fake but because they are sold as real and official products the price seems so appealing, that is until you get them home and out of the box, or through the post.
That feeling of excitement as you prepare the shoe for you foot for the first time, that second guess you feel in your gut as they don’t quite feel right, perhaps a little lighter than usual, you excuse that feeling as “perhaps it is just an even more modern technology? After all lighter means better doesn’t it?” You stroll around your house looking in every available mirror, feeling good but slightly reserved by this nagging gut feeling perhaps they aren’t real after all?
It isn’t until you leave your house for the first time and spend a day walking around in these fakes that your love relationship with them become a hate relationship. Your feet and legs begin to ache, you feel uncomfortable and it gets worse through the day, you have nothing to change into so you have to grin and bear it, even though by this point you feel like you’ve run a marathon barefoot. You feel embarrassed, conned, ashamed and stupid, all you want now is a real pair of trainers even at full price (if you could only afford it), your money back from the scum who sold you these fakes (you have reached the point where the seller is now scum, driven from love to hate) and some new feet.
Your day and week, perhaps month is ruined, your money could have been saved up towards a shop bought pair of real shoes had you known. Your right to choose was stolen from the person who saw fit to sell you your shoes as official and you are stuck with these taunting reminders in your shoe collection, wondering if you should or could ever wear them again, wondering what else to do with them other than throw them away (which I have done).
This brings me to my final point and the title of this blog:
Imagine if you will Nike Air Max 45s, an introduction price or pair of shoes something that people can afford in their financial slumps while still being able to enjoy and remain loyal to the brand that brings them such joy and comfort. Imagine a Pair of sneakers that have a 7 year cycle where you knew you would be able to afford those Jubilee Sneakers as a good will offer from your favorite brands. Not only would it be some people’s first pair of that brand and style but it would get them in the cycle of repeat customer as it did me, it would benefit both customer and retailer, it would be a celebration year or range whose sole (pardon the pun) purpose was to make things affordable, give something back and encourage not only repeat business but increased business. For example since being a Nike Air Max 90s customer I went on to purchase Nike Air TN when they first came out for the grand price of £120 because I could, now had I never been able to afford that first pair of Nike Air Max 90s when i was a teen I would never have know what I was missing and in turn perhaps I would have been the loyal customer of other brands I have since discovered (not loyal to but like).
I had a similar experience with a hire car (VW Gold) the drive was so wonderful that I have spent the rest of my time plotting and planning towards the purchase of one for myself.
I have worked hard, Perhaps my income did not reflect the work I have done and in turn I got what I paid for but perhaps not what I deserved.
Much like the Halifax advert which says we know you have worked hard and you deserve something a little extra back sometimes. Perhaps Nike could promote a new slogan and say “You don’t always get what you’ve paid for, but you do get what you deserve.” for their Nike 45s 😉