It might seem like a serious stretch of the imagination to think that one of the biggest, most prestigious corporations in America is also an excellent place to look for truly authentic Native Indian clothing but then, Nike is famous for being incredibly innovative.
This past September, Nike entered the market for Native Indian clothing with the launch of a shoe designed exclusively for Native Indians. The Air Native N7, as the shoe is named, is designed to fit the distinctive shape of the Native Indian foot.
Measurements from more than 200 people belonging to more than 70 tribes indicate the typical Native Indian has a foot that is wider and taller than the standard shoe Nike has heretofore produced. As a result of its research, Nike has made the Air Native N7 with a wider toe box and taller arch than its standard lines.
Addressing health concerns faced by today’s tribal Americans, Nike has also produced the Air Native N7 with fewer seams and a thicker sock liner than its other shoes. These comfort features are intended to minimize damage to and increase comfort for Native Indians who suffer from diabetes, obesity, and other conditions that are at near-epidemic proportions within the Native American population.
In keeping with Native Indian clothing styles, the shoe is adorned with sunrise to sunset to sunrise patterns on the outside, feather designs on the inside lining, and stars on the sole. The N7 name refers to the Native seventh generation theory which advocates looking three generations behind for wisdom and three generations forward for one’s legacy.
Nike offers this shoe only to tribal schools and healthcare centers at a wholesale price of $42.80. All Nike profits from its sale will be reinvested in healthcare programs operating on tribal lands.
With anticipated sales of at least 10,000 pairs of shoes and $200,000 for reinvestment into tribal programs, Nike hopes to reinforce one of its core values – if you have a body, you are an athlete.