Nike Unveils Athletic Shoe Custom-Designed for American IndiansNike on Tuesday -- as part of the National Indian Health Board conference in Portland, Ore., this week -- unveiled its first shoe designed specifically for American Indians, the Oregonian reports. The shoe, Air Native N7, is an athletic shoe that is custom designed to fit a wider foot and aims to improve health among tribes. According to the Oregonian, company officials are seeking to "promote physical fitness among a population with higher-than-average rates of obesity and adult-onset diabetes."
Nike research developers over two years traveled to seven locations nationwide to study the feet of 224 Native Americans from 70 different tribes. About 164 members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs tested prototypes before the shoe's release. Nike will market the $44 shoe directly to the 147 tribal health and school programs participating in its Native American Business Program.
The company plans to make about 10,000 pairs of the Air Native N7. Nike also has made custom-fit shoes for Japanese runners, Jeff Piscotta, senior researcher in Nike's shoe research laboratory, said. Kelly Acton, director of the national diabetes program for Indian Health Services, praised Nike's efforts, saying that the company has "bent over backwards" to meet the public health needs of the American Indian community (Hunsberger, Oregonian, 9/26). NPR's "Tell Me More" on Thursday included a discussion with Sam McCracken, manager of Nike's Native American Business, about the Air Native N7 (Martin, "Tell Me More," NPR, 9/27). Audio of the segment is available online. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.