On April 30, Nike launched their Go FlyEase footwear, which had been priced at $120. Nike solely launched the footwear for a limited time and refused to reveal what number of pairs can be out there of their first drop. The footwear shortly offered out and are not out there for buy on the Nike web site. However reselling web sites have them in inventory — priced at over $300 in some circumstances. A TikTok went viral for explaining the implications of this for individuals with disabilities. The advertising and marketing dissonance between this shoe being meant for individuals with disabilities whereas nonetheless being out there to most people precipitated issues. Nike should repair these points within the time main as much as their subsequent Go FlyEase shoe drop.
The Go FlyEase footwear don’t require the usage of palms to placed on the shoe. The shoe uses a tensioner band and bi-stable hinge to carry it in place. The wearer should then “step down on the ‘diving board’ to click on into lock place.” To take them off, they have to step “on the ‘kickstand’ on the heel.” Nike’s video demonstrating how these options work make the Go FlyEase shoe appear nice for individuals with disabilities, particularly for these with restricted hand and foot mobility. Additionally they enable individuals with disabilities to place their footwear on with out the help of a caregiver.
Some individuals with disabilities have felt othered resulting from their particular medical footwear so this shoe will assist alleviate that sentiment. Shelby Hintze, a KSL producer and trend columnist for Hive Mind, spoke about this difficulty in an interview. She has used a wheelchair for her complete life and mentioned, “a whole lot of instances, issues which are designed for disabled individuals are ugly and medical grade.” She additionally mentioned, “it’s exhausting when it’s important to purchase one thing that’s totally different or that any person else wouldn’t put on, purely as a result of its accessible.” However within the case of the Go FlyEase footwear, Nike created one thing “that’s actually cool and designed to be accessible.”
Nonetheless, Nike made a shoe that’s designed to be accessible. However as Hintze mentioned, it’s “out of attain for disabled individuals.” Others wish to purchase the shoe as a result of it’s cool and there’s nothing stopping them from doing so, which creates dissonance between goal shoppers. Individuals with disabilities by no means bought first entry to the shoe, although they wanted them most. Now, these identical individuals should purchase it at outrageous costs from resellers, perpetuating dangerous rhetoric of commodifying accessible gadgets.
Hintze mentioned that individuals typically describe her wheelchair-accessible van as “cool,” although it’s simply her automotive. Individuals who have by no means seen it earlier than discover it totally different however “it ought to simply be a part of on a regular basis life,” mentioned Hintze. Accessibility conflicts with sneaker tradition additional complicate this difficulty. Hintze mentioned sneaker tradition is “all in regards to the cool new factor and restricted version … however let’s make these as extensively out there as potential.”
Clearly, Nike must keep away from this case sooner or later by prioritizing individuals with disabilities of their subsequent drop. For starters, they might change the shoe from being restricted inventory to a steady inventory and even put aside a given amount for individuals with disabilities. However as Hintze mentioned, the corporate shouldn’t make it harder by requiring a prescription or a qualification of that nature. Nike contributed to incapacity erasure by designing an deliberately accessible shoe, but not doing something to provide it to those that would profit from its accessibility options. This ableist perspective is worsened by Nike’s failure to say that the design was brainstormed by a youngster with cerebral palsy.
Though Nike made a giant mistake, in addition they made strides towards normalizing accessible trend. The recognition of this shoe may encourage Adidas, Puma and different shoe manufacturers to behave equally. The Go FlyEase is a step in direction of treating individuals with disabilities as trend clients. There’s nothing incorrect with accepting that the intentional accessibility options of the shoe are for disabled individuals. Incapacity must be acknowledged to ensure that substantial social change to be made. So as to have an accessible future, we have to cease erasing incapacity. Let’s normalize the Nike Go FlyEase footwear — and accessible trend generally.