Chances are that you have a pair of Nike sneakers in your closet right now. Most of us do.
Almost half of sports shoes sold in the United States are made by Nike.
About 95% of basketball shoes sold in the United States are Nike.
Just about everybody in the USA knows the Nike slogan “Just do it.”
Is the extra price you pay for Nikes worth it?
Here are 10 reasons why Nike is so expensive.
Why Is Nike So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. Nike shoes are versatile
When middle-distance runner Phil Knight and track coach Bill Bowerman founded Nike in 1964, their original idea was to design, manufacture, and sell the perfect shoe for college track stars.
In the decades since Nike first started selling shoes, they have been relentless in finding ways to make their shoes better and better for running.
In the 1970s, Nike released the Cortez, a running shoe with a cushioned midsole for extra comfort.
Nike also released its AirSole shoes, with a “shock absorber.”
These innovations have become the Air Zoom features of today’s Nike running shoes.
How much better are Nike shoes for running than competing brands?
Scientists at Grand Valley State University in Michigan and the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand tested Nike’s Vaporfly shoe (about which we have more to say later) against conventional track shoes with spikes.
They found that Nikes shave 1 to 4% off the finish time in mid-distance races.
That’s a winning edge just from wearing the right shoes.
But most running isn’t in competition.
Runners run to train for races, and non-competitive runners run to stay in shape.
How are Nikes for running for fun?
Various scientific studies have found that:
- The seven eyelets (those little holes you put your shoelaces through) on Nike running shoes are more comfortable than a traditional six-eyelet pattern. They give you more control over the fit of your shoe to your foot. They also make it easier to point your feet straight ahead, with less involuntary movement backward or to one side or the other.
- The softer materials Nike uses for the middle of the soles of your Nike running shoes minimizes the risk of injuries during your run.
- Nikes shift the pressure on your foot forward to relieve pressure on your knees.
- Nike’s heel support reduces the risk of developing Achilles tendonitis or other heel injuries.
Nike keeps finding ways to make running more comfortable and to make runners more competitive.
If you are serious about running, you need Nikes.
2. Nike shoes look great for all casual activities
Nikes aren’t shoes that you can only wear to the gym.
They are designed to look good for all kinds of casual activities.
Here are just a few ideas:
- You can wear Nike high-tops with shorts and a T-shirt.
- You can wear blue Nikes to match your blue jeans.
- Match a blazer with rainbow high-top Nikes and jeans.
- Cargo pants and hoodies go with Nikes.
- You can wear Nike with tweed or with leather pants.
- Everybody knows that Nikes go with sweatpants, but add a tie-dyed T-shirt and you make a fashion statement.
- Try a button-down shirt, blazer, bike shorts, and Nikes.
- Menswear and a midi dress go with sporty Nike sneakers.
- Ultrabright Nikes go with an ultrabright suit.
- White Nikes amplify a monochrome ensemble.
- Go bold with neon from your head to your toes.
- White Nikes complement a dark top and slacks.
- White Nikes set off a single-color maxi dress.
- Crop top and jeans too sexy? Add Nikes.
- Use the swoosh to add style to casual outfits.
- Pair your upscale sport clothes with Nikes in the same color palette.
- Dress down with Nike kicks.
- Sleek sneakers pair with an understated pantsuit and a large purse or over the shoulder bag.
- Make sure you get checked out from head to toe with neon laces.
- Sneakers complete a jumpsuit.
- Wear a dress over jeans. Add Nikes.
- Try tights with a pleated skirt and Nikes.
- Dress down a girlish skirt with Nikes.
You’ve got the idea?
They will be just as in fashion next year as they are this year.
When you have Nikes, you don’t have to worry about having the right footwear for every casual occasion — because they will look great.
There are Nikes for almost every outfit in your closet.
3. Nike makes comfortable shoes
Most people who wear Nike choose shoes because they are comfortable.
They are good for wearing around the house and to low-key, casual events.
If you don’t need unique fashion, or cutting-edge running shoe technology, that’s OK.
Nike has dozens of shoes that are great for any comfort level.
4. Nike’s ads keep you inspired to do more
Have you ever noticed that Nike’s ads don’t usually mention their products?
Nike’s strategy for its ads is a marketing technique called “emotional branding.”
One of the reasons you feel that Nike’s products are worth what you pay for them is that you identify with their products, in part as a result of these advertisements.
Most Nike ads play up the story of a hero who has overcome adversity.
This hero has emerged victorious after a hard battle with an intractable foe.
But the foe Nike wants you to overcome is that little voice in your head that tells you “You can’t.” To that, Nike tells you “Just do it.”
Nike debuted its “Just do it” advertisement in 1988, with an appearance by Walt Stack, a runner who was then 88 years old. Walt Stack ran 17 miles a day, including a round trip across the Golden Gate Bridge.
That same year Nike started running its advertisements with Michael Jordan, who had not yet achieved superstar status.
The ads have Jordan saying “Money, it’s gotta be the shoes!” ten.
Subsequent Nike ad campaigns featured basketball great Charles Barkley in “I’m not a role model,” tennis stars Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras in “Guerilla Tennis,” and Tiger Woods the year he turned pro with “I’ve heard I’m not ready for you. Are you ready for me?”
Nike finally decided that ordinary athletes can be just as inspiring as athletes.
In “Find Your Greatness,” Nike features an overweight boy struggling to jog along a lonely road. A voiceover explains that “Greatness is no more unique to us than breathing. We’re all capable of it.”
Nike now focuses on the idea that ordinary people can meet goals they once thought were impossible.
That inspiration causes customers to look beyond the price tag.
5. Nike has cutting-edge technology you won’t find anywhere else
Nike likes to say it delivers new sneaker technology before others even think of developing it.
A great example of this is its HyperAdapt sneaker.
The HyperAdapt automatically tightens the laces after you put them on.
It has sensors that adapt the shoe to the contours of your foot, rather than forcing your foot to fit into the shoes.
You can use two buttons on the side of the shoe to adjust the fit until it’s perfect.
HyperAdapt is not the only technological innovation Nike has brought to the sneaker market.
Nike advertised the NikeZoom Butterfly 4% as giving your stride an extra bounce that increases your running speed by 4% on long-distance runs.
If you run a four-hour marathon, that’s enough for you to cross the finish line nine minutes sooner.
A study of 500,000 runners sponsored by the New York Times confirmed Nike’s claims.
The study found that marathon runners got a 1% greater boost from NikeZoom than from the next fastest shoe.
One of the latest innovations from Nike is augmented reality for shoe shopping.
Just download the app and point your smartphone at your feet to see how they would look in your next pair of Nikes,
You can also see how they look next to the hem in your pants. Or you can show them off to your friends before you buy them.
A tech innovation from Nike that sneakers fans love is AeroAdapt.
This new fabric does the exact opposite of what you would get from ordinary, sweaty tennis shoes.
Ordinary sneakers block air when they get damp from sweat. AeroAdapt causes the fabric in the uppers to let more air in the sweatier your feet get.
Sensors in the fabric make it relax to let air into your shoe when they sense sweat.
This keeps feet cool and dryer.
Your feet don’t overheat.
They don’t get chilled.
You have one less distraction from the game.
But there is one Nike technological innovation that is so popular that it deserves its own section.
6. Flyknit Technology
Most sneakers are still made by stitching together as many as 36 different pieces to make the upper part of the shoe.
These pieces have seams that wear out.
Those seams can constrict your foot.
With other brands, your feet have to adapt to your shoe rather than the other way around.
Since 2012, Nike sneakers have uppers that are made from Flyknit.
This is a seamless fabric created with the help of a computer that shapes the entire upper part of the shoe.
Flyknit is more flexible. It’s never tight. It lasts longer.
It’s lighter than other fabrics but just as strong.
Competing brands now have their own versions of Flyknit, but Nike’s fabric for uppers is still the lightest on the market.
That makes these Nikes wort the price. And Nike didn’t stop with Flyknit.
7. Next% Technology
Nike’s new Next% is a great example of how Nike keeps innovating to make running easier.
The Next%’s rubber sole comes with deeper grooves for channeling water off the sole when you are running on wet pavement to give your better traction, more bounce, and reduced risk of falls.
It has more ZoomX foam in the front of the shoe.
Your foot will drop just 8 mm (that’s about 1/3 of an inch) instead of 11 mm (a little less than half an inch) with each step.
That’s a little less effort every time your foot hits the ground.
The upper of the Next% is made from nylon that doesn’t absorb water.
The laces are offset to the side, to take pressure off the blood vessels that provide oxygen and nutrients to your foot.
And the polymers from which the fabric for the upper of the shoe is spun are heat-sensitive, opening when your foot will need cooling and closing again when ambient temperatures are cooler.
8. Nike makes its shoes relatable
Nike is a master of influencer marketing.
It sells $3 billion worth of its Air Jordan sneakers every year.
While Michael Jordan is the best known influencer for Nike, the company also manages to reach rockers and rappers (who often spend thousands of dollars on just the right Nike shoes for public appearances), rappers, rockers, artists, musicians, aspiring athletes, and ordinary people with its highly relatable spokes figures.
Relatable spokespeople generate sales, even when a lot of people don’t like the people representing Nike.
In 2019, for instance, Nike hired ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, best known for kneeling during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner to protest police mistreatment of African Americans.
Some people loved the campaign.
Some people didn’t like it.
But enough people paid just enough attention to the campaign to remember to buy more Nikes that sales for the company went up $6 billion.
The Colin Kaepernick campaign increased mentions of Nike 1400% in social media.
Chances are that you have seen mentions of Nike a lot more often since the Kaepernick campaign than before it.
Nike keeps its shoes on your mind, so it feels natural buying them.
Nike’s audience is versatile.
It consists of rockers and rappers, artists and thinkers, entrepreneurs, athletes and other individuals – and not just professionals, but regular people, too.
So to speak to their target audience in the same language, Nike’s ad campaigns use a voice to which their consumers are likely to respond.
9. Nike keeps you engaged with activities like Nike Phenomenal Shot
During the World Cup of Soccer (FIFA football), Nike and Google got together to create Nike Phenomenal Shot.
When an athlete sponsored by Nike scored a goal, Google delivered display ads in real time.
Fans could rotate images of the goal-scoring shot in 3D.
They could frame them for personal use, adding captions, filters, and stickers.
Nike Phenomenal Shot was shareable on social media.
After Phenomenal Snot, Nike moved to YouTube with Margot vs Lily. Margot and Lily are two sisters improving their fitness journey with Nike shoes, workout gear, and Nike+ technology.
The series is fun to watch, and has over 100 million views.
10. Nike has turned over a new leaf of social responsibility
The Generation Z and Millennial shoppers who buy the most Nike shoes aren’t satisfied with a great product at a great price.
Younger adults in markets all over the world want the companies that make their consumer goods to be responsible toward their workers and for the health of the planet.
After some missteps in the early years of the company, Nike now makes sure that the workers who finish your shoes are fairly paid.
They emphasize the use of plastics made from sustainable sources and fibers made from plants as part of their stewardship of the planet.