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?

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  • 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 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?


    • 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.

    • 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

  • 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….