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Nike develops shoe specifically for American Indians

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BEAVERTON, Ore. - On Sept. 25, Nike unveiled the Nike Air Native N7, a unique athletic performance shoe designed specifically for American Indians. The Nike Air Native N7 is the result of nearly two years of collaborative research, development and fit testing in partnership with the Native community. This first-of-a-kind performance shoe is built on a new and unique last (form) created to address the specific fit and width requirements for the American Indian foot. The result is a true Native-fitting, performance product.

The Nike Air Native N7 shoe marks another milestone in Nike's long-standing commitment to Native communities. Profits from the sale of the Nike Air Native N7 will to support ''Let Me Play'' programs on American Indian lands that leverage sport to promote an active and healthy lifestyle.

The Nike Air Native N7 shoe also embraces Nike's Considered design ethos, where details in the development and design of the shoe are geared to deliver sustainable innovation and reduce waste, without compromising product performance. The Considered design ethos also honors the seventh generation philosophy, an approach that respects the impact of decisions made today on seven generations. The shoe's design draws inspiration directly from Native culture.

The Nike Air Native N7 shoe and ''Let Me Play'' programs deepen Nike's long-term commitments to challenge and address some of the specific health and wellness issues that exist within American Indian communities. A strong emphasis was placed on providing a performance product that would cater to the specific needs of Native foot shapes and help provide motivation to Natives predisposed to, or suffering from, health issues that can be improved by leading physically active lifestyles.

As well as being built on a new Native-specific last, the shoe is constructed from the inside out to ensure significantly improved comfort and fit. This approach results in reduced seams and layering. The use of performance foams at key points provides additional cushioning in specific areas of the shoe. In combination, these elements help to improve overall fit and help wearers avoid foot irritations caused by ill-fitting footwear. Creating a shoe designed in this way is another step in helping to promote and sustain physical activity and address health issues prevalent within the Native community.

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''Nike is aware of the growing health issues facing Native Americans,'' explained Sam McCracken, manager of Nike's Native American Business program. ''Through the Nike Air Native N7, we are stepping up our commitment to use our voice on a local, regional and national level to elevate the issue of Native American health and wellness. We believe physical activity can and should be a fundamental part of the health and wellness of all Native Americans.''

''The Nike Air Native N7 marks an important moment for us and is a great example of what can be achieved when we challenge ourselves to innovate for a better world,'' said Mark Parker, president and CEO of Nike Inc. ''This product represents innovation beyond athletic performance, helping to improve Native American communities. It also exemplifies Nike's broader commitment towards sustainable design and community involvement.''

The Nike Air Native N7 project has been a true collaboration with the American Indian community and key stakeholders engaged in the health and wellness issues surrounding Native populations. Research has engaged individuals from more than 70 tribes as well as consulting podiatrists and members of IHS and the National Indian Health Board.

''Nike's development of the Nike Air Native N7 comes at a critical time for the health and well-being of the Native American population,'' said Dr. Rodney Stapp, CEO for the Urban Inter-Tribal Center of Texas, one of 36 urban Indian health centers managed by IHS and a consulting podiatrist on the Nike Air Native N7 project. ''Today, more than ever, we are faced with rising rates of chronic diseases brought on in large part by overweight and inactivity and for which physical activity is a noted step in the prevention of such diseases. The fact that Nike has been a long-time advocate for physical activity on Native lands through its Native American Business program speaks volumes to its true understanding of the growing need to tackle Native American health issues with the positive antidote of movement and sport.''

The Nike Air Native N7 is a Nike+ enabled fitness shoe designed for a range of sports and activities. The Nike Air Native N7 will only be available through Nike's Native Business program as an additional way for Native communities to provide Nike product incentives at preferential prices to their members through health promotion and disease prevention programs.