A TikToker is calling out Nike for the scarcity of one of its first-ever accessible sneaker designs, which is now almost impossible to get without shelling out serious cash.
Louie Lingard (@notlewy), a 19-year-old disability advocate and content creator who boasts over 841K followers on TikTok, shared his frustrations with both Nike and sneaker resellers for contributing to the scarcity and price hike of the brand’s latest release — the Go FlyEase, a much-anticipated hands-free sneaker and the first of its kind by Nike.
The shoe — the design of which is very in line with Nike’s typical stylish and colorful gear — was a rare offering for members of the disabled community, who, according to Complex sneaker reporter Brendan Dunne, have not “historically had cool footwear options from big brands.”
However, the launch ended up leaving much to be desired when the $120 Go FlyEase quickly sold out, only to later crop up on reselling websites for prices five times the listed retail amount. While such a high markup is not a phenomenon unique to the Go FlyEase release, it was certainly impactful in its repercussions on those who have limited mobility.
“The shoe itself has been so hyped up and praised for its inclusiveness and its accessibility for people like myself with a disability that it’s become limited and resellers and bots have got ahold of all the pairs and gouged the price up,” Lingard, who has a limited range of motion in his joints due to arthrogryposis, explained in his TikTok, which has since been viewed over 1.1 million times.
“Now, if someone with a disability that actually needs the shoe for the design purpose wants it, they’re gonna have to pay on the up end of $500 to get it,” he continued, noting in his video that the sneaker is now fetching closer to $700 on the resale market. “Talk about accessibility, am I right?”
TikTok users echoed Lingard’s concerns, with many blasting the brand and resellers for creating a shortage in a product so anticipated by the disabled.
“Nike said ‘here’s an accessibility styled shoe, that won’t be accessible. You’re welcome :)’,” one user commented on the video.
“Resellers are the WORST,” wrote another user.
“It’s not just resellers it’s also Nike’s fault for making this shoe in small amounts,” commented a third.
Lingard’s video also made its way to Twitter, where it has since been viewed an additional 5.7 million times.
While it remains unclear whether Nike explicitly created the Go FlyEase to cater to the disabled community or not, it does not take away from the fact that sneaker-lovers like Lingard were excited about the accessible product and its implications on future footwear designs.
Lingard told Complex that it typically takes him 10 minutes to put on a standard pair of sneakers, as it is difficult for him to secure them around the ankle braces he wears to help him walk. A shoe like the Go FlyEase could cut that time down significantly.
The site also noted that launching a new sneaker through a limited release is not uncommon for Nike, in order to gauge consumer interest. Hopefully, the sky-high demand for the Go FlyEase is a clear message to Nike and other major retailers that creating accessible gear not only benefits the lives of disabled people but is also great for business.
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