June is Pride Month, and with it comes a flurry of Pride gear from loads of notable brands. Mega-corporations must tow the line between respect for the thing it means to generate revenue from and graceless displays of profiteering. Luckily, Nike and Adidas provided us with both sides of the coin.
This year’s re-up of the Nike BeTrue campaign includes new colorways and additional LGBTQ symbols for four recently-released sneakers — the Air Max 270 (which will be the most limited release of the group), the Epic React Flyknit, the Vapormax Plus and the Zoom Fly. Each gets its own redesign with varying degrees of bright-color contrast, and each sports the famous pink triangle of the AIDs Coalition to Unleash Power group, a symbol reclaimed from its use as an identifier of persecuted LGBTQ individuals in Nazi Germany. The shoes are loud (apart from the React Flyknit, which is admittedly a bit tame), they look good and, most importantly, show that Nike understands what Pride Month is about — highlighting LGBTQ individuals, not blending in with the crowd.
In contrast, Adidas released sneakers that could’ve very well been released at the start of spring, commemorating the fashionability of pastels.
The Iniki, Deerupt, Campus and PureBoost DPR models each received a new colorway that, in as few words as possible, does not channel the spirit of Pride. The redesigned sneakers might have been better off as a standalone spring release, and not a lazy pass at corporate social awareness – they’re decidedly watered-down, muted colors and, like it or not, not what Pride is about.
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