The shoes, which retailed for $110 and featured an embroidered portrait of Kaepernick on the heel and his personal logo on the tongue of the sneakers, went on sale at 10 a.m. EST Monday. They were gone by noon the same day.
The Air Force 1 line has been a staple at Nike since 1982 and “has crossed the boundary of court to street and, along the way, gone from trend to staple to a global streetwear standard,” according to Nike’s web site.
The latest, the Nike Air Force 1 x Colin Kaepernick, was “inspired by the voice of the athlete.”
Nike wouldn’t comment on just how many units of the Kaepernick iteration it sold. But instead said in a statement, “This Air Force 1 season, Nike partnered with a collective of collaborators to design an AF1 that connects to their life personally. Colin was identified because we believe his voice and perspective inspire many generations on and off the field.”
The success of the launch also signals that many have moved on from Kaepernick’s past political controversies.
In 2016, while still playing professional football, Kaepernick was the first professional player to refuse to stand during the national anthem as a way of protesting racial injustices and police brutality toward African Americans.
Two years later, in September 2018, Kaepernick was featured in Nike’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign.
The campaign originally caused a flurry of media attention. Many took to social media to express their outrage, including President Donald Trump, who accused Nike of promoting a “terrible message.” Investors didn’t seem pleased either. The stock dropped more than 3 percent.
Either way, consumers didn’t seem to mind. Sales of Nike sneakers surged immediately after the commercial.
Nike, meanwhile, continues on its own growth spurt. The athletic apparel, footwear and accessory maker recently surpassed $10 million in sales in its most recent quarter. During the company’s conference call earlier this month, chief executive officer Mark Parker said the company’s success is in part because of the strength of Nike’s iconic footwear, like the Air Force 1 and Air Jordan 1 shoes.
“Our deliberate strategy is to add new styles and colors to the Air Jordan 1, which allows us to bring one of the world’s most popular sneakers to more people while offering consumers more choice,” Parker said. “And with women and the Air Force 1, we’re running a nimble key city offense through the express lane, using local feedback to create and move product to meet shifting consumer tastes. We’ll apply that process to a new classic strategy for women that will ramp up in the back half of the fiscal year.”
Shares of Nike, which were up 0.5 percent Monday, are up more than 36 percent year-over-year.