Yakamas Support New Nike Shoe Aimed at Native Americans
KENNEWICK, Wash.- A pair of Nikes could stir up controversy on area Native American tribes.
Nike says science shows Native Americans have wider feet than the rest of the population, so they've built a shoe to help with that, and the effort to fight diabetes as it approaches epidemic levels on some reservations.
It's the new Nike Air Native N-7 shoe. Nike's new shoe designed specifically for the Native American foot.
"When I tried it on, oh, it felt so good, it's so comfortable," said Yakama Nation Member Kendall Mansfield, who's ordering the shoe.
Sharon John runs the Healthy Hearts Diabetes program for the Yakama Nation.
"Nationally it is a problem with the indian community. Until they start getting physically, more physically active, and so this is going to assist them in that," John said.
Nike says profits from the shoe will be reinvested in diabetes and weight loss programs for tribes, and more than 140 tribes will get discounts on the shoes, costing them only about $43 a pair.
"Really heartwarming and compassionate on their part to care about a population to do this," she said.
The new kicks are adorned with Native American references.
Stars dot the sole, feathers on the inside, and the lounge and heel feature distinct sunrise and sunset patterns.
Most importantly perhaps though, is the name, the N-7, a reference to the Native American way, look to the three generations preceding for wisdom, and the three future for legacy, a legacy Nike hopes to influence with a shoe.
It's unclear which tribes will be included in the program yet, but Yakama leaders say they have been in talks with Nike about programs like this.
They also say the response to the news so far has been without controversy.