Nike and artist Tom Sachs have come together to launch a new pair of sneakers, and it’s boring. Or at least that’s how both Giant shoe designer and brand is depicted Their new general purpose (GPS) sneakers. In the ads leading up to the shoe’s release last Friday morning, the shoes were described as boring, and the copy suggested “your sneakers shouldn’t be the most interesting thing about you.” This, of course, comes from the brand that is largely responsible for making our sneakers the most exciting, sought-after and enviable piece in our wardrobe. With the launch of a new shoe, Nike and Tom Sachs are trying to solve an impossible puzzle: can a brand sustain the hype and improve accessibility at the same time? This may be an unsolvable puzzle, but the release of the GPS gives us a glimpse into Nike’s wind-up walking strategy.
Sachs was on Mount Rushmore with super-expensive, high-resellable shoes. His original Mars Yard shoe, released in 2012, sell at average price close to $8,600 on StockX. However, it this the shoe he seems most proud of. GPS is said to have taken 10 years to develop. “It took a decade to make a shoe as simple as this, as simple as possible and not simpler,” he says. through Nike’s website. All-star designer, dramatic story line, a shoe refined in every detail for maximum appeal — the shoe was a breakout hit in 2022: couldn’t be bought on general release. and is a supernova in the secondary market. So why are Nike and Sachs trying to back away from that?
Nike calling itself “boring” isn’t entirely different from Patagonia’s famous “Don’t Buy This Jacket” ad. (Nike also has a lot of design cues from Volkswagen’s “Lemon” ad.) For Patagonia, this is a highly profitable strategy. When outdoor brand sued former President Trump, sales went up. Nike is looking for a similar shaft.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Nike and Sachs are launching “boring” sneakers at this time. Last fall, Combination report on a presentation from Nike’s internal meeting about frustration surrounding the brand’s SNKRS app, which handles the company’s most hyped releases. “We risk losing our most passionate consumer of sneakers,” the presentation said. “The high heat, hype is ‘killing culture,’ and consumers are turning to New Balance and smaller, independent brands.” Nike not only called its new hot shoe boring, but also focuses primarily on showing worn and dirty shoes — whatever is still in the box is ready to be resold easily.
The release of the General Purpose Shoe can be seen as Nike’s blueprint to maintain the hype in a sophisticated way. It is worth noting that the shoes were not released on the SNKRS app. Instead, customers are required to register through Sachs’ website and be notified within half an hour if their entry is selected (all the same as the process on the SNKRS app). Naturally, the shoes turned out to be terrible and sold out instantly. There have been 768 sales on StockX, where they are reselling for an average price of $573.
It is worth noting that after all the pairs were declared, Sachs promised more would happen. “General purpose shoes designed for long-term use,” he tweeted. “It will be added and accessible again in August 2022.” In this way, Nike and Sachs can have it both ways: a shoe that sells out instantly, but with the illusion of accessibility not far off. The shoes are also rumored to be released in a Monday, mustard-y color line. This way, the shoes will have more chances to upset, irritate and offend the customer again. What’s boring.