There are only two pairs of these shoes in existence. One pair is owned by Obama. The other pair can be owned by you, if you can afford them. As this article (Barack Obama’s Nike Hyperdunk PE Sneakers | Uncrate) explains, these Hyperdunk sneakers…
… were designed in 2009 for Obama building off of the Hyperdunk created for Team USA at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing for Nike’s “United We Rise” collection. This customized pair adds the official Presidential Seal on the tongue tag, the number ’44’ by the toe, and insoles with bald eagles, and the date ‘1776’. The size 12.5 hi-tops go up for sale via Sotheby’s Buy Now platform on February 12th.
That’s right: Sotheby’s. Starting bid? $25,000.
First thought: it seems like Nike has done their homework on this. They consulted athletes such as Olympic weightlifting athlete Amna Al Haddad in their development of the product and they:
…worked with Amna and a variety of other athletes to see what they needed and wanted in a performance hijab. What we heard was that women were looking for a lightweight and breathable solution that would stay in place without concern of shifting.
Makes sense: these are the qualities that athletes look for in high performance garments in a variety of sports. That said, gaining the feedback from professional athletes that would actually wear it counts for much more than common sense.
Second thought: I hope professional female athletes that train and compete train in their hijab go on to adopt this product, whether it comes from Nike or other makers of sports apparel. More importantly, I hope that this further results in girls and women adopting such a product and — more importantly — participating more in sports and gaining all that can be gained as a result of such participation (I think those gains are considerable.)
Kudos to Nike on this. And kudos to all the women athletes who train and compete, at all levels.
For more on this, see: Nike Launches the Pro Hijab for Muslim Female Athletes | HYPEBAE
This piece, During Rule 40 Blackout, Emma Coburn Showcases New Balance on Olympic Stage, FloTrack, has a good run down of Rule 40 and how Emma Coburn cleverly circumvented it. In short, Rule 40 prevents all but official brands and whom they sponsor from promoting them during an blackout period of time surrounding the time of the Olympics. For example, US athletes using Nike can promote the Nike brand, but US athletes using other brands like New Balance cannot.
How did Coburn circumvent this? According to that article,
After crossing the finish line in third behind Ruth Jebet and Hyvin Jepkemoi, respectively, Coburn immediately removed her New Balance spikes and draped them over her shoulder before carrying the American flag. As a result of the bold move, thousands of photos snapped during her victory lap included her sponsor, New Balance, which otherwise would not have been featured. It’s more than likely that Coburn, who is vocal about sponsorship rights, did this intentionally to spotlight New Balance in the middle of the Rule 40 “blackout period” and circumvent Nike’s exclusive sponsorship rights with USATF.
One thing to note is that there are different rules for different athletic federations, it seems. The US swim team has more latitude than the track and field athletes.
As always, this is about money. Whatever else the Olympics are about — and obviously they are about many good things — money is one of the big aspects of these games.
According to Fast Company, Nike has a new Fuelband coming out called the Fuelband SE. It sounds like it is going to be smarter and more flexible than the current Fuelband:
Like the FuelBand, the FuelBand SE measures its wearer’s activity levels via a gamified system in which you can earn points for moving. The SE comes with even more built-in game mechanics to encourage users to want to move more throughout the day. It also offers a feature called “sessions” that allows you to categorize your movements according to the activity you’re doing, such as playing basketball, cycling, and now, sleeping. The FuelBand SE can also detect how hard you’re working during seemingly low-impact activities like yoga, and mete out points accordingly.
This should give the Fitbits and other wearable tech a good run for the money, and it may be the thing that makes me want to buy it.
Speaking of that, how much is it going to be?
Nike is currently accepting limited pre-orders for the FuelBand SE, which costs $149
Wearable tech promises to be big. Looks like Nike plans to be in the front of the pack with the Fuelband.