Nike is launching their most expensive shoes ever this fall but put a halt to their famous midnight launches.
At $315 the LeBron X’s will be Nike’s priciest sneakers to date after the Oregon based firm hiked their costs by five to ten percent to reflect increased production costs and a decline in profits.
And on top of the financial demand made to their devotees, Nike will no longer sanction midnight launches for their new line after recent outbreaks of violence at malls and Nike stores amongst those who have camped for days at a time to get their hands on the sneakers first.
Known for their superstar endorsed products such as Air Jordan’s, the new LeBron X’s will come complete with motion sensors to measure exactly how high the wearer jumps.
The sneakers were unveiled by NBA superstar LeBron James during the 2012 gold medal basketball game between the United States and Spain at the London Olympics.
However, Nike have said that they are not pushing up prices in an effort to squeeze consumers.
“We are constantly looking at ways to enhance the product line with the new innovation and product attributes,” said Nike spokesman Mary Remuzzi to the Wall Street Journal.
Some though, have reacted with outrage to the price hike at a time of economic uncertainty in the United States.
“As unemployment ravages the working class, our lower and higher education systems shudder in crisis, and murder decimates our forgotten urban poverty zones, Nike is rolling out it first $300+ sneaker,” said Hamilton Nolan on Gawker.
“But mom, you don’t understand – it’s worth it.”
Indeed, the president of the National Urban League to drop the price for the new sneakers, saying that he has taken “incessant phone calls and emails” from angry consumers who can’t afford the new shows.
Marc Morial, who is president of the civil-rights group and the former mayor of New Orleans, responded to the reports on Tuesday from the Wall Street Journal about the apparent price hike.
“It’s the consumer’s choice after all, but it’s insensitive to market a $300 shoe to kids and teenagers as people are going back to school and struggling to buy school supplies,” said Marc Morial to the Wall Street Journal.
“This is not food, this is not rent, it’s a single pair of sneakers.”
Outrage against the pricing has quickly spread, with members of the public openly wondering why Nike are starting the line at such a high price.
“Prices are getting crazy excessive and as long as we continue to buy sneakers, Nike is going to keep increasing the prices,” said Donell Brown, 30, who owns a cleaning services company in Dearborn, Mich.
“Mr. Brown said he and his friends have been posting messages on Twitter and YouTube, urging other longtime sneaker fans not to buy the pricier LeBron shoes and to forgo waiting in line for new sneaker releases.
“Nike’s price increases are also being felt at the lower end: The venerable Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star sneaker now costs $50 compared with $45 a year ago.”
The LeBron 9 retailed for $170 when it was launched, but the latest shoe endorsed by the Miami Heat superstar is almost twice as much.
However, Nike have responded to the Journal’s story calling the price “inaccurate”, stating that the shoe is available without the motion detector embedded in the sneaker.
“The LeBron X will be launched in the fall at a suggested retail price of $180,” said Brian Strong in a statement to ESPN.
“The initial introduction of the LeBron X will be the red, white and blue Nike+ enabled version and that price is still being set, but will be at a higher price to reflect the Nike+ technology embedded in the shoes.”
At the same time as Nike are facing a backlash for the LeBron X price, they are issuing a memo to all official Nike retailers to no loner pre-sell or take reservations for shoes and to ban midnight openings.
“If a retailer offers Nike products for sale under circumstances where the retailer knows or should know that consumer response is likely to be exceptionally high, it must do so in a prudent and responsible way,” said an official memo seen by the Wall Street Journal.
“Retailers should assess what measure are necessary to secure the store and ensure the safety of personnel and consumers.”
In February, Foot Locker canceled the release of the $220 Nike Air Foamposite shoe when 100 Orlando police in riot gear arrived to break up fights that had started among customers camping out for the 4:00 a.m. release of the sneaker.