‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not about the shoes; it‚Äôs about what you do in them.‚ÄĚ That‚Äôs what NBA legend Michael Jordan told aspiring athletes in one of his famous Jordan brand commercials a few years back. Interesting choice words of advice for a guy who makes $60 million a year, per Forbes, for his globally recognized sneaker empire.
In the current culture of sports, players now place a much greater emphasis on style. It is now as important to look good as it is to play well. The influence from superstar athletes and big-market companies has altered the sports world completely and changed the way people watch and play them.
The competition for companies to milk as much money from athletes, especially the rampant commercialization of shoes, has saturated the sports world with advertisements and marketing. The equivalent of an athlete ‚Äúmaking it big‚ÄĚ is no longer gracing the cover of a Wheaties box, but rather having a multi-million dollar shoe deal, treating athletes like marketing pieces in exchange for big bucks.
Back in the ‚Äė70s, players would wear simple, comfortable shoes: Chuck Taylors, plain cleats, etc. Nowadays, players opt to wear fashionable and colorful shoes that can easily cost upwards of $150. If you think about the production cost of name-brand sneakers, the material itself only comes out to around nine dollars, depending on what type of shoe, of course. Factor in personnel costs, development and shipping, and the average cost for both the manufacturer and retailer comes out to around $35, a far cry from the stratospheric ticket price you see in retail stores.
When I see people camp out weeks ahead of time for the release of new Jordans, I feel as though they are not staying true to themselves, the game or even the brand. A nice pair of shoes is just that, a pair of shoes. ¬†And if this trend continues to grow, the shoe industry will be entirely diluted with heavy advertising and even heavier price tags. Because nowadays, these sneakers cost an arm, a leg and a shoe.
By Spencer Wu, Editor-in-chief