Friday, September 28, 2007

Native American Nike: Air Native N7

Nike unveiled Tuesday what it said is the first shoe designed specifically for American Indians, an effort aiming at promoting physical fitness in a population with high obesity rates.

The Beaverton-based company says the Air Native N7 is designed with a larger fit for the distinct foot shape of American Indians, and has a culturally specific look. It will be distributed solely to American Indians; tribal wellness programs and tribal schools nationwide will be able to purchase the shoe at wholesale price and then pass it along to individuals, often at no cost.

"Nike is aware of the growing health issues facing Native Americans," said Sam McCracken, manager of Nike's Native American Business program. "We are stepping up our commitment ... to elevate the issue of Native American health and wellness."

Nike designers and researchers looked at the feet of more than 200 people from more than 70 tribes nationwide and found that in general, American Indians have a much wider and taller foot than the average shoe accommodates. The average shoe width of men and women measured was three width sizes larger than the standard Nike shoe.

As a result, the Air Native is wider with a larger toe box. The shoe has fewer seams for irritation and a thicker sock liner for comfort.

You can chase a butterfly all over the field and never catch it. But if you sit quietly in the grass it will come and sit on your shoulder.

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