Friday, September 28, 2007

Nike Does Something Odd/Good

It is odd at least in part because it seems good without much profit motive.

Deadspin and Boing Boing have already posted about this, so I am behind a bit, certainly.

Nike is designing shoes specficially for Native Americans. They did a study that showed that Native Americans tend to have wider feet than us honkies. So they've made the Air Native N7, which is wider, has fewer seams, and softer lining.

They are also turning profits from the sale of the shoe back towards health programs on tribal lands, which is at worst, a nice gesture, and at best, possibly a big deal. Those health programs need all the help that they can get, as diabetes is running rampant these days.

I am a bit skeptical, but people who understand the issues seem more than happy with the arrangement.

From the article:

Jerry Bread, outreach coordinator for the Native American Studies program at University of Oklahoma, said the idea was "fantastic" and addressed a core issue for tribes, though he was skeptical that the feet of people from so many tribes could be so similar.

"It's an excellent gesture and I know it will get a lot of support from tribal people," Bread said. "We stand to profit from it in our physical health and well being."

Dr. Kelly Acton, director of the national diabetes program for Indian Health Services, said she was dubious of working with a corporation at first but said she was delighted with the result, saying Nike "bent over backwards" to design a shoe and respect public health needs.

So that's cool.

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