July 16, 2024

It’s All Marketing! The Sneaker Wars

For the past 40 years of my life, I’ve been involved with basketball in one way or another. First as a mighty mite player, as a 10-year-old. And progressing through the ranks, as a player, coach, referee and spectator.

As a youngster, there were only two manufacturers of sneakers that could be worn for basketball. The two manufacturers were PF Flyers and Chuck Taylor Converse. If you were really a player, you bought the Chuck Taylor Converse. Or Chucks as we used to call them. And there were only two colors. Black or white. And two styles. High tops or low cut.

If you really wanted to get fancy,you took the white laces out of your shoes and replaced them with different colored laces to match your school colors. So your parents ended up paying for vintage sneakers(plus $1 for the laces). In the late 1970’s, there weren’t any retail stores specializing in sneakers and footwear. We bought our sneakers at the local Army Navy Store.

I’m not suggesting that we go back to those days. But I think it is absolutely outrageous that parents are paying $100 – $200 for the latest sneaker. Sneakers endorsed by the great NBA players like Kobe Bryant, Alan Iverson, Tracy McGrady, etc.

With foreign suppliers headquarted in Asian countries, the raw cost(labor & material) for making those sneakers is probably not much different today than when they manufactured Converse back in the seventies. So how do sneakers sell for $100 and up? The answer – it’s all in the marketing and endorsement fees. Just pure greed.

Now with Stephon Marbury coming out with his new sneakers that has all changed. The star guard for the New York Knicks has designed and is marketing the Starbury One. Guess what the price for the sneakers are?

$14.98. That’s right… 2 cents less than $15.00. And Stephon will be wearing his own sneakers while
playing this coming season. I think that is awesome. I know many are applauding Stephon for his efforts. Already the sneaker has been flying off the shelves. The Starbury One is an instant success. And hopefully some of the other players will follow suit. Way to go Stephon. Your sneakers are a slam dunk success.