This is Beijing style: Nike hopes new hutong skateboard shoe can capture Chinese market
US sportswear giant releases shoe inspired by Beijing's traditional neighbourhoods in bid to turnaround falling sales in China
US sportswear giant Nike has taken inspiration from Beijing’s traditional hutong neighbourhoods in the design of its newest skateboarding shoe as it attempts to improve falling sales in the Chinese market.
Nike is experiencing fierce competition in China, one the world’s largest sporting goods markets. Its sales in China, including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, have declined for five consecutive quarters.
Observers say that the approach of Nike’s main competitor, Adidas, to reposition its sports image to one more focused on fashion and lifestyle has gained the edge in the rivalry between the world’s two biggest sportswear brands.
Nike China will on Sunday release the latest edition of its classic Dunk Low Premium skateboarding shoe – which will be available exclusively in China – adding Beijing to its decade-plus long city series.
Nike said that the shoe pays tribute to the birthplace of China’s first generation of skateboarders, who learned to skate in hutongs, the narrow alleyways that stretch between traditional single-storey courtyard residences.
The shoe’s exterior features dark grey textured leather panels that match the principle tone of Beijing’s traditional residential buildings, while the brand’s iconic swoosh is gold and red – auspicious colours in Chinese culture.
The tongue is decorated with an emblem of a brass lion-head door knocker and at the inside heel is a label with the Chinese characters for hutong.
The shoes are set to be formally released via Nike’s official website and its stores across China, according to the company.
However, dozens of collectors have already placed orders on online shopping site Taobao.com for pairs that have leaked onto the market.
The news that the shoes will only be available in China has solicited envy from some overseas enthusiasts.
“Best pair I’ve seen in forever and they are only available in China … I’m mad,” one user commented on US shopping platform Hypebeast.com.
“They should release these for the States too,” another lamented on footwear website Solecollector.com.
Beijing is the second city in China to boast its own Nike skateboarding shoe. In 2004 Nike released a Shanghai edition of the Dunk Low Premium, featuring a traditional Chinese character that’s shorthand for Shanghai. Rival Adidas is yet to add a Chinese city to its long-running city series.