$160 Nike Running Shoe Leading Industry

The price of Nike’s new running shoe, the Air Max 2009+ might be seen as insensitive to the times.

But the $160 price tag doesn’t seem to be stopping too many consumers from picking up the shoes, which debuted last month.

Over the past couple weeks, it has been the best-selling running shoe in America, according to SportsOne Source, a sports market retail tracking firm. Company analyst Matt Powell said that he expects the sales to be even better when the numbers come in tomorrow that will reflect last week’s data.

“At the end of the day, the shoes are actually fairly reasonable,” Powell said. “It’s not like it’s a $5,000 handbag. The average sneaker sells for $52, so for a teenage kid who is into conspicuous consumption, this works.”

Powell says it helps that the shoe also looks good.

Air Max 2009
Source: Nike
Air Max 2009

“In order for shoes to sell well these days, no matter how functional they are to sport, they also have to be fashionable,” Powell said.

The shoes are constructed with Nike’s Flywire technology, which the company says helps create more support without the bulk. The shoe is an Air Max 360 shoe, which means that the air pockets go completely around the shoe. The sole also is not flat like most shoes. Instead, it features strategically-placed lugs and a Waffle outsole that Nike says allows for optimal traction, durability and cushioning.

“We often say at Nike, the consumer decides,” said Nike spokesman Derek Kent. “The consumer response to the Nike Air Max 2009+ has been phenomenal.”

For my entire life, I’ve run in Saucony shoes and never even considered Nikes. After three test runs in the Air Max 2009, I came away with the thought that I've never been in shoes that made it so easy for me to hit the pavement. I’d definitely think about switching. And that’s a good sign for the Swoosh.

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