The Kobe 4 Protro (“performance retro” in sneaker lingo) is one of the much-anticipated sneaker releases of 2019. The “Draft Day” colorway of the shoe (same colors as the Charlotte Hornets team in the NBA to commemorate the team that drafted Kobe) was released in Feb. 19 and it almost sold out the moment it hit the shelves. At the same point, Nike also made an online press release statement in their nikeinc.com website about the shoe stating that one of the enhanced tech-specs is Full-Length Zoom.
Trivia: For those of you who are not familiar with what Full-Length Zoom is, it’s basically a type of cushioning system that covers the entire footbed (hence, the word ‘full’ is included in the term). It kinda works like the popular “Air” cushioning system that Nike is known for but only in foam form.
However, a couple of days ago a reputable blogger of a popular sneaker review site had discovered that this upgrade claim from Nike is NOT TRUE when he deconstructed the pair that he bought and found that the Zoom cushioning is only in the heel area! And the worst part of it is Nike immediately removed the part where Full-Length Zoom detail was found in their press release but hasn’t made any retraction to this claim yet. And to an avid sneaker collector, this leaves a bitter taste to the mouth to some extent.
Read more as we are going to discuss the impact of the Kobe 4 Protro shoe fiasco to the entire sneaker community.
Analyzing The Issue From A Sneakerhead’s Point Of View
In order to see the bigger picture on the overall effect on the Kobe 4 Protro shoe issue, let’s try to analyze it from the different players in the sneaker community. First off, let’s take into consideration Nike’s part in this story.
Nike is a popular sneaker brand, no doubt about that. That’s why a lot of bloggers (and vloggers also) are making reviews about their shoes to inform sneakerheads about the things they need to know from fashion to function. And in order to be true to the source, these bloggers and vloggers sometimes copy-paste the exact online press release statement from Nike to properly informed their viewers.
And since Nike has made a false claim in their press release and hasn’t made a retraction yet (only that they’ve deleted the portion where the wrong information is found) then it will affect the bloggers and vloggers in such a way that their subscribers may think they are the ones making the false claim and not Nike. And as a result, it will stain the reputation of these online reviewers (and worse, may even lose subscribers) which can only be rectified if Nike will make a retraction to their previous statement.
As for the reason why Nike hasn’t made the retraction yet, it’s still left to be determined. Maybe they purposely included the ‘Full-Length Zoom’ statement to intensify the hype and intentionally delete it once the consumers have become overexcited. Or maybe they just want to profit more from this so-called false advertising and benefit more from the negative publicity that goes along with it (much like what happened to the famous “banned” controversy of the Air Jordan 1). Or it could be that they just committed an honest mistake considering the frailty of humans to commit errors… Whatever the reason is, that we may not know – for now…
As for the sneakerheads, it will have a good and bad effect on them too. On the bright side, sneaker aficionados will learn to become smarter consumers because of this issue and not just rely on the information that is being fed to them. They will learn to inspect more the actual tech-specs of the shoe onhand before actually buying the product from now on.
Food For Thought: Sure, the hype of collecting is bigger than ever. But at the end of the day, what really matters is the features of the shoe. After all, a shoe is worn mainly for function, wearing it for show (or just join in the collecting trend) merely comes second. And having the wrong features can cause discomfort or injuries when worn casually or on court.
However, this may also cause some sneakerheads to lose their trust on Nike. And if this is the case, then the worst case scenario is that some of the consumers will choose to switch to different sneaker brands and buy fewer shoe releases from the Swoosh brand.
And lastly, some resellers might advantage of the issue and sell Kobe 4 Protros at a higher price because if the controversy that is connected to it.
The Kobe 4 Protro shoe fiasco did cause a stir to both the online and sneaker community. And this controversy may leave a significant impact to the sneaker game in general. But nonetheless Nike must own their mistake of including a Full-Length Zoom detail in their PR statement (regardless of the reason) and prevent this from ever happening again.