The brand that appears unable to do any wrong – Nike – has just released a new “trail shoe” that’s being called the “ugliest sneaker ever” made.
Now, you’d reckon with that sort of media coverage Nike’s new ISPA OverReact Sandal wouldn’t be attracting too many buyers!
Apparently, far from it. So ugly is the limited-edition shoe, buyers are already affording it Nike-like cult status and it’s reportedly sold out online despite retailing at a cool $US420 ($A586).
Not that the reviews have been that favourable. Online commentators have likened the ISPA OverReact Sandal to “if throw up was a shoe“, “love the treading in chewing gum look” and “who made these – Robinson Crusoe?”
For the uninitiated, ISPA reportedly stands for improvise, scavenge, protect and adapt and is part of the brand’s plan to “improve an athlete’s interaction with the built environment”.
Other commentators have called the shoe’s launch a shrewd move by Nike. Being a trail shoe, it’s clear the brand wants to increasingly play in the space occupied by traditional outdoor brands such as Patagonia, The North Face and Kathmandu.
Nike bosses realising that a lot of these brands are increasingly being worn in city high streets and office towers and not for climbing mountains as they were intended.
Last year a report by Zion Market Research predicted the outdoor clothing market would be worth $US19.45 billion ($A27.2 billion) annually by 2026.
The report noted that “developing countries of China and India in the Asia Pacific region are expected to majorly drive market growth” in the category.
Commenting on Nike’s new ISPA OverReact Sandal fashion site Dmarge said: “Let’s not be so quick to dismiss these experimental offerings, however. These radical sneakers play an important role in the development of fashion as well as athletics: these limited models are testbeds for new technologies that diffuse down into more mainstream runners.”
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