What there is to know
- Nike’s new “True to 7” shoe featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick sold out on its first day of release in North America, according to Nike’s website.
- Kaepernick has been a controversial figure since taking a knee during the national anthem in 2016 to protest systemic racial inequality in the United States.
- Nike pulled the release of its 4th of July sneakers earlier this year after Kaepernick criticized the shoe for being offensive.
Nike’s new “True to 7” shoe featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick sold out on its first day of release in North America, according to the company’s website.
“This Air Force 1 season, Nike has partnered with a collective of collaborators to design an AF1 that personally connects to their lives. Colin was identified because we believe his voice and perspective inspire many generations on and in off the field,” a Nike spokesperson said in an email.
The $110 black and white shoe features an embroidered portrait of Kaepernick on the heel tab, a reflective Swoosh and his personal logo on the tongue.
The successful outing suggests Nike’s ties to the controversial athlete have paid off so far, despite the NFL’s rocky relationship with the former San Francisco 49er.
Earlier this year, Nike canceled the release of its “Betsy Ross” American flag shoe, after Kaepernick allegedly criticized the shoe for being offensive and linking it to a time of slavery and white supremacy. The shoes were to be released by July 4.
In September 2018, Nike included Kaepernick as one of the faces of Nike’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” advertising campaign. A #BoycottNike hashtag quickly popped up on Twitter, and Nike shares soared as high as 3% when the campaign was announced. But online sales surged after the ad was released, and the ad also received critical acclaim, winning Nike an Emmy for Outstanding Publicity for the first time since 2002.
Kaepernick first gained national attention in 2016 after taking a knee during the national anthem to protest systemic racial injustice and police brutality. The former quarterback has since left the NFL and alleged the NFL team owners colluded to keep him off their rosters because of his political views. Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid settled with the league an undisclosed amount to drop the collusion lawsuit in February.
Shares of Nike were little changed on Monday, closing at around $100. Its shares are up about 35% since the start of the year.
This story first appeared on CNBC.com. More from CNBC: