Nike's American Indian sneaker

Nike is now selling a shoe designed for American Indians. The Air Native N7 will only be available through tribal wellness programs and tribal schools. From the Associated Press:
Nikeairnative Nike designers and researchers looked at the feet of more than 200 people from more than 70 tribes nationwide and found that in general, American Indians have a much wider and taller foot than the average shoe accommodates. The average shoe width of men and women measured was three width sizes larger than the standard Nike shoe.

As a result, the Air Native is wider with a larger toe box. The shoe has fewer seams for irritation and a thicker sock liner for comfort.

The design features several "heritage callouts" as one product manager described it, including sunrise to sunset to sunrise patterns on the tongue and heel of the shoe. Feather designs adorn the inside and stars are on the sole to represent the night sky.


  1. Great! Now if Nike and other shoe manufacturer’s could make shoes that are actually based on shape of human feet rather than on a last shaped like a shoe tree.

    Just for the record, the Big Toe is not in the middle as shoe manufacturers seem to believe when they design their pointy toed athletic shoes…

    Hmm…maybe Birkenstock needs to make cross trainers. At least those would be made to fit actual feet…

  2. When the white man came to our land, he brought the gun and the dog. He raped our women and took our homes for his own. He has perverted our people with firewater and the children now follow christianity. He has violated all treaties we have signed with him and we now live on a small piece of land miles from our holy grounds… but hot damn is that a good shoe!

  3. Sounds like my feet would be comfy in those. I’ve been wearing nothing but sandals for a year now, and whenever I put on closed shoes my feet start to go numb and cramp up.

  4. Someone must have told Nike about all those casinos. I don’t recall them spending this kind of energy on research when Native American economies were uniformly miserable.

  5. This is RUBBISH-
    Nike is selling the show “wholesale” to Native Americans for $42.80. We all know that raw materials for shoes cost under 5 bucks.. and they are sewn overseas by cut-rate labor. Also in this case they do not have to pay a big NBA star to pimp the shoes.. which is often the biggest cost. They will make money hand-over-fist on this shoe.. especially when you consider the fact that it is a blatant attempt to create a “cabbage patch” product shortage for this shoe… because it will be rare, collectors will go nuts to get them.. making Nike a pretty penny and creating a buzz at the same time.

    Hold off on annointing Nike as the next Mother Teresa.. this “ethnic philanthropy” stinks to high heaven, and they are exploiting the American Indians as much as the early settlers.

  6. Fun Native American India fact: There are hundreds of thousands more Native Americans now than there were before the white man came.

  7. @Kevitivity:

    I assume you’re basing this on the accurate pre-columbian census that was taken every year by the tribal councils, right?

  8. I’m guessing you won’t see commercials for this one if its only available at the tribal thing.

    Lotsa products are made overseas by cheap labor.

    Corporations are in the business of making money.
    This is America dude, learn the rules.

  9. In the German translation of Harry Potter, Harry has blond hair and blue eyes. No joke! Coca-Cola has a different flavor in every country. How is that relevant you may ask?

  10. Other than the taste difference between using sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, European coca-cola tastes pretty much the same as American.

  11. When you’re drinking something that is basically carbonated sweetener, the difference between coke made with cane sugar (Mexico/South America’s coke), and HFCS (USA’s coke) is huge. I prefer the cane sugar kind. Additionally, the amount of sweetener can differ from locale to locale, based on the tastes of the population.

    Still not sure how that’s relevant to the article though.

  12. I gotta confirm the Mexican coke vs. American coke theory (coca cola). Mexican coke is way better, but i don’t want to se inside those factories:)

    On the shoes: I’m sure this will be in some commercial showing how great Nike is for helping out Native Americans while they simultaneously screwed the laborers who made those shoes.

  13. Hey GBV– I don’t really have an issue with Nike makin their bones.. my beef is with the morons who report this like Nike is doing the Indians a favor… and buying thier corp spin.. that is who I have a beef with.

    Nike is Nike.. they make decent shoes, exploit overseas workers.. at least you know who they are and what they do… reporters on the other hand should be a little more skeptical.. and a little less of a bunch of slappies.. and stop re-printing corp press releases as “reporting”

  14. i have wide feet AND tall feet. i want a pair. this is some weird shit — i don’t think most human beings of any race or ethnicity have feet that fit correctly into lots of shoes. why didn’t nike measure a random demographic of people’s feet and redesign a shoe and label it as the REAL PEOPLE SHOE.


  15. Try Dublin Dr Pepper for Dr Pepper made with cane sugar. HFCS should be a scandal simply for economic reasons, not to mention taste and health reasons, I don’t know why it isn’t.

  16. I’ve always had wide feet. For some reason about 15-20 years ago almost every manufactuer stoped making shoes in wide sizes. Not sure why Nike would ignore the rest of the worlds population and just start making shows for one tiny demographic. Seriously there is only one brand of shoes I can wear.

  17. There are a lot more of everyone these days. There are a lot more Jews now than before the Romans conquered them, or before the pogroms wiped them out… But if you run the numbers based on the earliest census data we have on them (which is very, very old), something like 25% of the world should be Jewish today. But it’s more like 0.02%. It’s not enough to just look at the raw numbers.

    Not that I lie awake nights worrying about how my ancestors (well, people who looked like them–mine were still in England and Germany until not really that long ago) stole the Native Americans’ land. That’s always seemed like a bizarre thing for a white North American to fixate on. I very likely would not have existed otherwise. It’s the mootest of moot points.

  18. Re: Kyle Armbruster

    You say that past injustice committed by, if not our ancestors, at least our nation is a strange thing to fixate on. Do you feel the same way about celebrating July 4th – after all the American revolution took place a long time ago, and I certainly didn’t fight in it. I didn’t write the Declaration of Independence, nor did I vote for the members of the Continental Congress who endorsed it.

    How can it be consistent to regard the positive aspects of the past as proud parts of OUR heritage, but when those very same people did bad things we treat them as long dead people that have nothing to do with us? So far as I can tell you can’t have it both ways – you can’t take credit for the good (OUR history of liberty) but deny responsibility for the bad (some dead people who murdered civilians, enslaved children, etc).

    Re shoes:

    I also have wide feet; I generally have to settle for shoes that are a bit too long, even where wide sizes are available. But I don’t think I could ever bring myself to wear a Nike product. Apart from the issue of their labor practices (which is, sadly, not going to be much different for any shoes or clothes widely available in America), I blame Nike for the increasing commercialization of all aspects of our lives – why can’t I just wear shoes or clothes without becoming a walking advertisement?

    I can’t see that check mark without being reminded of everything I hate about marketing and corporate America.

  19. I stopped wearing Nike years ago. Not only because of their questionable business ethics, but also because I have wide feet, and their shoes are very narrow.
    New Balance makes a nice wide shoe.

  20. My great-great grandmother was 100% Native American. Obviously I don’t have enough “blood” to be a member of a tribe. Regardless, I have very wide feet and I have always had a very difficult time finding footwear that fits. Half of what I try on, I can’t even get my foot into.

    Whether it’s related to my heritage or not, I don’t see why Nike can’t make these shoes available to the rest of us. There are plenty of people with wide feet who would buy them – and that’s additional money that could go to the Native American foundations.

  21. Anyone else remember the movie Americathon (1979)? It was a post-oil dystopic comedy starring John Ritter. In the movie, NIKE is owned by a cartel wealthy Native Americans and renamed the National Indian Knitting Enterprise.

  22. I’m an American Indian, but I don’t live on a res. But my feet hurt, and I want these shoes. I hate to think I’ll have to pay stupid ebay money if I want a pair badly enough. I guess I’ll stick to New Balance for now, who I’ll second as a great shoe company for those of us with wide feet.

  23. JenJen, “Americathon” was what I immediately thought of when I saw this story! Campy film with John Ritter as the President, hosting a telethon to raise money to bail out the US, who owes huge bucks to NIKE, owned by American Indians. NIKE became a force in shoes by predicting the faddish popularity of clown shoes.


    Oh yeah! Theme song by the Beach Boys!

    Double Hoot!

  24. Whoa! Just checked the IMDB entry:

    Look who else is in it:

    Harvey Korman
    Chief Dan George
    Meat Loaf
    Elvis Costello
    Tommy Lasorda
    Howard Hesseman
    Jay Leno

    Totally forgot about some of these. Jay Leno is a character called “Poopy Butt.” Can’t recall why.

  25. im american indian . i always had to buy size8 shoes when i wear a 7 because nike size 7 was to thin. thanks its about time

  26. I have some wonderful shoe designs for boomers. I can not wear those delicate little nothings, but do not want to live in cross trainers. Who can I contact for a design job?

  27. “Flying Squid” and anyone else that’s living in the past. Get off your butt and appreciate what you are GIVEN. Stop feeling sorry for YOURSELF for what happened to our ancestors. We have been given so many opportunities to take advantage of. Live with YOUR own decisions. Stop blaming others who had NOTHING TO DO WITH OUR ANCESTORS!! You’re not a prisoner…you can get off the rez anytime you want. That just means you have to work for a living, like the rest of us. I’m native, my husband’s native…we’re off the rez…we work! Oh yeah, I think the shoes are cool:)

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