Nike: Breaking Your Wallet One Colorway At A Time
I remember when paying $100 for a pair of sneakers was considered a big deal. As a kid, it was reachable through doing multiple odd jobs and picking up a few bucks here or there. It was rewarding. Even when the price jumped to the $150 range, it still wasn’t that bad. But now, it’s ridiculous! Pretty soon the price of a pair of sneakers will exceed the price of high quality, Italian-made, handcrafted designer leather shoes. That’s like saying a warm-up suit could cost more than an Armani suit.
So why is this happening? It’s business. They’ll tell you it’s a result of inflation. They’ll say the cost of materials has increased. What they won’t say is, “we want MORE of your money.” Who is they? I’m specifically referring to Nike. I have faithfully bought Nike and Jordan products throughout the years, but this particular year is having me seek out other brands with great style for less cost.
Let’s look at the numbers, shall we? My focus will be on Nike’s three signature basketball shoes: Kobe 8, KD V, and LeBron X. Look at how quickly the prices jump.
Kobe 8 – $140
Kobe 8 ID – $180
Kobe 8+ ID – $200
Kobe 8+ ID Sport Pack – $270
Kobe 8 Elite – $200
Kobe 8 Elite+ – $220 *
KD V – $115
KD V ID (Solid) – $150
KD V ID (Graphic) – $160
KD V Elite – $180
KD V Elite+ – $200
LeBron X – $180
LeBron X ID – $220
LeBron X+ ID – $240
LeBron X+ ID Sport Pack – $310
LeBron X Elite – $260
LeBron X Elite+ – $280
LeBron X P.S. Elite ID – $300
LeBron X P.S. Elite+ ID – $320
LeBron X P.S. Elite+ ID Sport Pack – $390
* The Kobe 8 Elite+ is currently listed on some sites as $200. Seeing as how the other two Elite+ jumped $20 from the Elite price, I’m assuming these will jump to $220. We’ll see.
What’s The Difference?
Let’s consider ID’s to be a luxury and focus on everything else instead. That leaves us with the original, Elite, and Elite+. Looking at the originals for all three, the prices are $140, $115, and $180. I can live with the first two, but $180 means it’ll hit the $200 mark after tax. That equates to $100 per foot. The Elite prices are $200, $180, and $260. The price increase is somewhat justified. Elite’s are made with a higher technology like carbon fiber, Kevlar, Zoom Air, fly-wire, different lockdown systems, etc. Designers like Leo Chang, Eric Avar, and Jason Petrie were given freedom to make an already-good performance shoe into a better shoe, so this isn’t a knock on them. If anything, I’m frustrated that I can’t afford such great sneakers. Once again, the KD’s and Kobe’s got a $60 increase while the LeBron’s got an $80 jump. Lots of carbon fiber and Kevlar? Finally the Elite+ just means it has the Nike+ Pressure Sensors embedded in the shoe. Does that matter to you? Probably not. The parts that should concern you are the various colorways.
Colors Are Awesome.
Why do the colorways matter so much? You initially get shoes because they look cool. But what if they release a cool colorway that is available only for the Elite or Elite+ shoes? Compared to the originals, you could potentially shell out an extra $80, $85, and $100 for the Kobe 8, KD V, and LeBron X, respectively. I miss the good ol’ days when my biggest concern was standing in line hoping they don’t sell out in my size. Nowadays, the Internet has made it too easy for resellers to snatch them all up. With Nike setting the retail price so high, it is narrowing the gap of profit for resellers, which is a good thing. But it’s getting so high that the retail prices are discouraging.
In case you were wondering, here are the colorways for the Elite and Elite+. The Kobe 8 only got two colorways this year: the black/gold (Elite+) and the green/blue (Superhero). KD V got four colorways: the white/gold (Elite+), the blue/volt (Superhero), bright orange (Elite), and white/yellow/blue (Elite). LeBron X got four colorways: white/black/gold (Elite+), blue/orange (Superhero), red crimson (Elite), and teal (Elite).
What To Do?
Get a high-paying job where money ain’t no thang. Or you could quit the Nike basketball collecting game and focus more on retro Jordans and other shoe brands out there. Whatever you decide to do, keep it fresh!
hmm...i wonder if sneakernews caught a glimpse of our site. this article comes two days after ours.
ok i gotta ask...@Alfred Lim are you standing in line to get them? or sitting in front of a computer at 7am? regardless of which one you do, please take a picture of yourself doing it and send it to me!
when i saw early pics of the Kobe 8 Superhero, that green was screamin' out to me. i was ready to get 'em. then that $200 pricetag dropped, and i got pissed...which led to the spawning of this article. this is the first time i've ever passed up on a shoe i liked b/c of the retail price.
great stuff, steven. remember when there were maybe 4 color ways max per shoe? now there's about 4 color ways per month...
@Steven Tso I posted your article in their comments section. =]