New space-themed Nike shoe is wreaking havoc in stores

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Sneaker fanatics who lined up outside stores overnight got their first chance Friday with a new Nike basketball shoe, becoming so unruly in some cities that police were called in to restore order.

More than 100 deputies in riot gear suppressed a crowd in Orlando, where the release of the $220 Foamposite Galaxy coincides with this weekend’s NBA All-Star Game. At a mall in Hyattsville, Maryland, a person was arrested for disorderly conduct.

The shoes, which are part of a space-themed collection, are attracting so-called “sneakerheads” who collect the iconic sneakers and can resell them online at a premium, sometimes for hundreds more. than retail.

Malls in Florida, New York and Maryland reported calling in police to deal with fans claiming the purple and blue shoes, which have star-like white spots. Some buyers lucky enough to get their hands on a pair immediately put them up for sale on eBay at skyrocketing prices: $1,000 and up.

Orlando resident Gaby Llanos was in the crowd waiting to buy two pairs of shoes when the rush started outside the Florida Mall.

“It was total chaos,” said Llanos, 23. “People were running and hiding in the trees so the police wouldn’t find them.”

The shoes – which are sold at Nike stores and select Foot Lockers, House of Hoops and Foot Action stores – are part of Nike’s Foamposite line, which debuted in 1998. Their outer space theme is a nod to Florida, the host state. for the all-star game and longtime launch pad for the National Space Program.

Nike has relied on its limited-edition sneakers for years to generate a lot of buzz with minimal publicity.

“They keep them very limited, they keep them very warm that way,” said Sam Poser, an analyst who covers Nike and the footwear industry.

Over the past holiday season, Poser noted that similar fights and incidents of vandalism erupted across the country over a retro model Air Jordan sneaker. And he said the latest violence is unlikely to hurt Nike’s image.

“Better a little press than no press,” he said.

Sneakerheads collect everything from Air Jordans to shoes created for today’s basketball stars. They post videos online to show off their shoes.

“We talk about sneakers like you would talk about sports,” says Jesus Estrella, a suburban Chicago website developer who has a “sneaker culture” site that also advises readers on how to avoid shoes. counterfeit.

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