One of the best snapshots of today’s shopping culture is a line down the block of patrons, some who’ve slept overnight, ready to spend a bundle on the sneaker of the moment on its opening day. Nike has taken full advantage of such shoppers, re-releasing sneakers from the ever-popular Jordan brand and now planning to sell the ‘Lebron X’ sneaker for $315.

The shoe will be the most expensive in Nike history. For the hefty price tag, you’ll get a sneaker that includes its own electronics. But civil rights organization, The National Urban League, is not buying into the hype.

President Marc Morial released a statement condemning Nike for the steep price:

“I ask Nike – and the parents whose children are targeted in this misdirected campaign – to join us in our efforts to empower young people to value their own talents – athletic and otherwise – above material tokens and work together for broader access to the economic mainstream.”

He called the shoe an “empty status symbol” which embodies “twisted priorities and confused values.”

While it is disheartening to see young people splurge on sneakers, some feel that rather than condemn Nike, we should examine the wider capitalist culture that encourages this type of spending. Afterall, if it’s not the Nike ‘Lebron X’s, it will be another sneaker, shoe, purse or jacket that people spend an exorbitant amount of money on as a symbol of status.

Speak on it, Clutchettes and Gents: Should Nike be slammed? Is the National Urban League fighting a losing battle?

  • Lady P

    Absolutely, we should slam Nike and the parents that will buy these sneakers. If these parents can afford to purchase these sneakers and have their child or children’s tuition in tack, then I don’t foresee a problem. However, it appears the children that will purchase such expensive sneakers are the very ones that cannot afford them in the first place. It is clearly misdirected goals here. On the other hand, a part of me doesn’t blame Nike. Similar to any other big business; if they can generate a profit, then they will. It is clearly the parent’s responsibility to teach our kids better financial literacy and to value their own talents. Parents and age-appropriate children must realize those same funds can be saved towards college tuition (pell grants, college loans may not be available in the future) or to invest in their child’s talent is more appropriate. Don’t say you can’t afford to send your child to tutoring, music camp, or to an afterschool SAT prep course if your child are wearing these sneakers.

    The more I think abotu it, Nike isn’t the problem. The customers’ mentality is. .

  • Simone L

    I’m not sure. Nike is not necessarily responsible for those who buy these sneakers but cant pay their other bills or put food on the table, same way Christian Louboutin isn’t responsible for chicks with misguided priorities. Sad thing is, these are sneakers…no one who buys these sneakers is using them to play sport; it’s for show. I buy a $100 pair of running shoes, you best believe I’m gonna run. This is for sneaker heads, who post up in the club who will fight if you get too close to their sneakers. This is insane, because it doesn’t cost that much to produce. I saw a news feature on Louboutins and how they compare to Payless heels. After a while, the Payless heels were painful to walk in, and of course, there were a few more layers to the inside of the Louboutin which were much more expensive than the materials for the Payless. This is sad, but like I said, Nike can charge whatever. It’s not their job to teach folk to prioritize and ask yourself “do I put this towards my 6 month back up fund or spend it on some sneakers?”

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    it is ugly…..

  • Razt

    blame nike for stupid ppl? clutchmag this is beyond retarded.

  • Jasmine Caldwell

    National Urban League need to be handling the suppression of black and minorities votes instead of this foolishness. They aren’t doing anything but advertising the shoes which in turn helps Nike and James. I for one had know idea these shoes where even coming out until I read of their outrage through several news media outlets.

  • Egypt

    I think this problem is bigger and much more complex. It’s the retail industry as a whole. Think about the number of black athletes and rappers they will employ to market these among other items. Slowly but surely, the retail industry is brainwashing individuals into thinking these items are superior, and to some may prove self-fulfilling to those looking to live the lifestyle.

    Also, while the retail industry is to blame, I believe that people should have better judgement, meaning don’t go buying $300 sneakers, and not have sense enough to put food on the table. Some of that is just ignorance.

  • Gigi Young

    I’ll never forget the newscast last year, when Nike rebooted the patent leather Air Jordans (fly though they were when I was a poor kid in the 90s), and there was a line wrapped around some mall in Houston or something–TWICE over–to get these. I was absolutely floored that some of these black boys not only rode THE BUS to get to the mall to buy these shoes, but that they’d saved up enough money to buy TWO or more pairs.

    Ride the bus
    to buy
    $200
    sneakers

    $200 sneakers you will wear while sitting in your boy’s house watching TV.

    So no, I don’t think the NUL is quite so wrong about this…

  • JC

    I’m sorry but unless you are making more than $500,000 a year, you shouldn’t be spending $300 on tennis shoes. I could understand professional shoes for a big meeting with executives, but tennis shoes?

    Stupidity

  • Patience

    $500,000 is a bit unrealistic for most people.

  • Mademoiselle

    If you’re going to slam Nike, slam Apple, and all the hair salons, and all the cell phone companies, and whatever else people drop a couple hundred dollars on easily to satisfy momentary tastes even though they could just as easily purchase a much cheaper product that accomplishes the same goals.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Bingo! It is like the chicken or the egg do we blame nike and other name brand companies for overpricing items that most likely cost 10¢ to make/service or people’s mentality…personally at the end of the day these folks didn’t have to buy these items so they need to point the finger at themselves

  • http://itsoftenbeensaid.wordpress.com Sasha A.

    I could not agree more. I think its pathetic that there is always so much hype around the release of Jordans HOWEVER it is more pathetic and sad that people will go out and buy these shoes. The mentality of some people is baffling….

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    i think the market will prevail in this case.
    i don’t see many people buying these shoes.
    black people are not stupid.

  • kc

    I totally agree. We have so many legitimate problems in the black community, yet all groups like the NAACP and the National Urban League can focus on are shoes and celebrity culture. What a trivial campaign! Our people are in crumbling schools, trapped in underserved “ghettoes,” and experiencing disproportionately poor health. Why not tackle legitimate problems? Black advocacy groups are losing relevance because of their shortsightedness…

  • Patience

    You must be ignorant about sneaker culture to think many people won’t be buying these shoes.

  • http://www.overflowradio.tv soulfullyreal

    If it’s not the Lebrons, it will be Red Bottoms, or the new X-Box, or the new virgin remy hair that Angela Simmons is pushing. If you cannot afford it, don’t buy it. We cannot expect corporations to have a moral obligation to the communities that purchase their goods. It would be nice, and I’m sure some “give back” but we all know what’s the priority for them is, and that’s the bottom line. They are right to say it’s an empty status symbol, it is, but teaching kids fiscal responsibilty is a parent’s job that hopefully carries over into adulthood. If ppl wanna look fly in the club knowing damn well all they eatin at home is ramen noodles, that’s on them…

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    sneaker culture? sneakers got culture? who knew!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1245753 Nora Jean

    I personally only have ever bought $85 nikes to actually play a sport (basketball). Other than that, $20 shoes have always been fine with me. I blame our communities, and more specifically parents, for not teaching their children to be financially responsible.

    Its hard to blame Nike when it is a corporation whose aim to make money.

  • miss opinionated

    I think that if a person wants them then it’s their right to get them. What the individual chooses to do with their money is their choice. There are a multitude of people who are simply collectors and view this shoe as another win for their collection. Back in the day it was comic books, marbles and coins. Today it’s sneakers. $300 is nothing to the person that will travel the country and outside of the states for that one hot shoe. What I don’t appreciate is Nike blaming the increase in the cost of the shoe on the increase in the cost of raw materials. Everyone knows Nike does not produce their shoes here in the states and are paying pennies in production. Everyone knows this. I would probably guess the retail markup on this shoe is well over quadruple what it costs to produce and I would challenge Nike to actually be honest about what it costs to produce the shoe so people can really see what they are paying for.

  • http://designsdelight.com design

    Why are we status hungry? Because we need approval of the streets. But the streets are not alive and we are. In many cases we are what is wrong with the streets.

    May be that is the American dream.

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