The Nike + Training shoe was launched with great fanfare in February during a
with the help of Olympic gold medalist sprinter Allyson Felix and boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.
Eight months later, the shoe was nowhere to be found on Nike’s retail site. And its remaining stock was transferred to the Nike Factory Stores, the land of discounted goods. The shoe’s inglorious status is an apparent stumbling block in Nike’s otherwise burgeoning digital product stable.
âIt’s disappointing,â said shoe analyst Matt Powell, reflecting the reactions of shoe retailers to sales of Nike +.
When they launched on February 22, the Nike + basketball and training shoes were at the center of a warehouse in New York City for hundreds of reporters who first saw a line of new Nike products.
The shoes, the Oregon sports equipment company said in a press release, connected “digital shoes to interactive mobile apps that together deliver a revolutionary athletic experience.”
Pacquiao demonstrated one of the applications of shoe sensors by jumping rope, very quickly, and recording it wirelessly on an iPhone. Felix and New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz spoke to Nike executives on stage about the shoe’s capabilities.
Pacquiao, Felix, tennis player Rafael Nadal and football goalkeeper Hope Solo prepared video training programs to accompany the training shoes.
Nike + shoes have joined the “NIKE + ecosystem”, the latest entry of which is
program for Microsoft’s Xbox 360.
The company claims to have enrolled more than 8.5 million users in
for basketball, FuelBand, running and training.
The retail price of the training shoe was $ 235 for men and $ 220 for women. These shoes, along with the Nike + Basketball shoes, went on sale June 29 in the US, UK, France, Germany and mainland China.
In outlet stores, however, training shoes will be reduced to $ 100 and $ 80. An $ 80 Nike + sports kit, required to access the functionality of the shoe, will be sold separately.
Nike spokeswoman Mary Remuzzi said the company plans to “refresh the Nike + Training app and bring more training shoes to market next year.”
Additionally, with the NBA season about to begin and the holidays approaching, Remuzzi said, the company has chosen to focus its efforts on selling Nike + Basketball and LeBron X + products.
âWe are now amplifying all the experiences and all the services around Nike + Basketball,â Remuzzi said in a written statement. âWe are refining the way consumers access Nike + Basketball and creating elevated experiences in Nike stores and with our key partners. Sales of the Lebron X +, which allows users to experience Nike + Basketball, have been strong to date. “
Powell, the SportsOneSource analyst, said the technology offered in Nike + basketball and training shoes is impressive and worthy of the higher prices Nike was looking for the shoes.
But training shoes and basketball shoes didn’t look different enough from their cheaper, non-digital cousins ââfor consumers to justify the purchase.
Status is a big factor for consumers of athletic shoes, Powell said.
âToday’s kid wants to show he spent money,â he said. “Nike made a mistake by not making these shoes more aesthetically different.”
However, slower-than-expected sales will have a negligible effect on Nike’s finances, Powell said. He estimated that the company made less than 50,000 pairs of basketball and training shoes.
âIt’s a lesson learned,â for Nike, said Powell, adding that he expected the company to return to retailers with retooled versions of the Nike + basketball and training shoes.
Powell said Nike remains the category leader in basketball, with 92% of the $ 2.8 billion US market, and training, with about 70% of the $ 1.3 billion US market.