VF Corp.’s Vans shoe brand “plans to expand into athletic footwear to compete with Nike,” according to Burritt & Coleman-Lochner of BLOOMBERG NEWS. Vans President Kevin Bailey said that the brand “will start selling the Vans LXVI, named for Vans’ founding in 1966, at sporting-goods and athletic retailers including Foot Locker Inc. and Footaction in two weeks.” The new line is “part of Vans’ push to boost sales" by $1B to $2.2B in five years. Bailey said that the shoe, “starting at $70, is aimed at young consumers who ‘are more likely to be a teen walking around the streets in a pair of running shoes or basketball shoes.’” He added, “This brings a new consumer into the Vans stable of footwear.” Bailey said that Vans “raised the heel of its new shoe to give it a more athletic feel and makes it without sewing and seams.” Burritt & Coleman-Lochner noted the company “also changed the checkerboard pattern on the bottom of its traditional Vans shoes to create a more flexible sole.” Bailey said, “We see a mainstreaming of action sports.” VF plans to “sell the new shoes globally, including in 350 Foot Locker stores and 50 Footaction stores in the U.S.” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 6/14).
Marketing and Sponsorship
adidas has "sparked outrage and been accused of promoting slavery by creating a new pair of trainers which have bright orange 'shackles' that fit around the wearer's ankles," according the London DAILY MAIL. The company is "under fire for its August scheduled release of the JS Roundhouse Mids, which many have compared to the devices worn by black slaves in 19th Century America.” The “seemingly innocent promotional material, uploaded to Facebook earlier this month, asks, 'Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?'” The shoes have "sparked angry debate online, with many saying there is a more cynical tone to the advertisement.” More than 2,000 people have called the design “offensive” and “ignorant” while saying the shoes are “'slavewear' product.” adidas has "so far not commented on the claims" (London DAILY MAIL, 6/18).
In S.F., Al Saracevic noted the “biggest selling item” at this year's U.S. Open was outerwear. USGA Senior Dir of Licensing & Merchandising Mary Lopuszynski said of the tournament's merchandise sales, "We'll have over 100,000 transactions over the course of the week. Altogether, we'll sell 500,000 items" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/17). In Charlotte, Ron Green Jr. notes in what “may have been a nod to San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury district, one of the most popular items in the merchandise pavilion this year was a tie-dyed U.S. Open T-shirt.” The items were “so popular, in fact, they were sold out by Sunday” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/18).
COLLEGE BOUND: In N.Y., George Willis writes of amateur golfer Beau Hossler's final U.S. Open score of nine-over, "It was a disappointing ending to a remarkable weekend for the 17-year-old high school junior from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.” Hossler plans “to attend the University of Texas following his senior year and get his college degree.” It is “doubtful any of the major manufacturers will offer Hossler a contract that will entice him to skip college,” as those deals are “a thing of the past.” CNBC’s Darren Rovell said, “If this were 2003, there might be more pressure on him to turn pro. Someone might have been willing to give him $3 or $4 million in endorsements. But this is not that time” (N.Y. POST, 6/18).
ROUNDUP: On Long Island, Kimberley Martin reported Nike has “designed a signature shoe” for Jets CB Darrelle Revis called the "Nike Zoom Revis" (NEWSDAY.com, 6/15). Southern Utah Univ. track & field athlete Cameron Levins has “signed a professional sponsorship deal with Nike.” Levins is the NCAA champion in the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters race (RACERESULSTWEEKLY.com, 6/17).