The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 158 — The Bootleg Battle

Nike's battle with bootleggers is just beginning

What’s good, family! Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear. Thanks for rocking with me this morning.

It ain’t Juneteenth yet but happy Juneteenth. Also happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there. Love y’all.

Shall we begin?

The crackdown on the crackdown

(Photo by Josh Redd on Unsplash)

Last week, Nike secured a Jordan 1 trademark with the US Patent and Trademark office amid a groundswell of lookalike AJ1 designs from bootleggers.

This week, that’s in jeopardy. Robert Lopez, the founder of RGL Consulting Group, is calling fraud on Nike with its trademark, Complex’s Brendan Dunne reports.

  • RGL Consulting is a group that assists independent, smaller brands in legal matters against corporate giants.

The trademark secured protects the design of the Jordan 1 along with the Jordan 1 Low and Low SE designs under trade dress, which pertains to the physical appearance of a product.

There’s a crucial detail missing, though. None of the designs include the swoosh in any of the renderings for the trademark.

  • Lopez argues this is fraud because Nike has never sold a shoe without the swoosh. And because they haven’t, the trademark should be void.

That’s an important detail — not only for this case, specifically, but for designers moving forward.

Here’s what Nike is trying to do. They’re bolstering their stringent trademark protections that already include the swoosh by also registering the panels that form the body of the shoe. They’re claiming that these design elements are just as iconic as the swoosh itself and warrant protection.

That’s what Lopez is trying to block. He’s trying to stop Nike from blocking independent designers from even using basic design concepts.

  • For example, under the trademark, even something as simple as the stitching of the AJ1 midsole is protected.

With this trademark, Nike assumes complete control over what replicas are permitted and what replicas aren’t. No lookalike would survive under this.

That’s good. But it also presents a problem.

  • Yes, counterfeit kicks and sheisty replicas would be weeded out. We’d also be rid of weird Warren Lotas-type replicas, too.

  • But drops like MSCHF’s Jesus and Satan shoes would be wiped out, too. And any other artistic play in the same vein could be chopped down at the knees if Nike chooses to do so.

This would give Nike almost unilateral power in allowing what small designers can and cannot do. But thoughtful design and customization are a huge part of sneaker culture. That could be lost here.

While I’m thrilled that we may have less counterfeit goods out there to worry about, I’m afraid that may be at risk here. That would be a big loss.

Hopefully, it doesn’t go that way.

Nike is peeling back the curtain on SNKRS

(Photo by Peter Aroner on Unsplash)

They finally let us in on how the sausage is cooked with SNKRS.

Ahead of the “Dear Summer” Off-White Dunk drop, they gave directions on how to position yourself for exclusive access. A few notes:

  • Nike uses over 50 (!!!!) variables to determine who gets access and who doesn’t.

  • Those variables include interacting with their content (streams, videos, etc.), polls, and what drops you try to cop.

  • They say the goal is to always reward the “most deserving members.” But they also note that exclusive access is not a guaranteed cop.

This was fascinating to me. Not just because I thought this information would always be proprietary for competitive reasons, but because I thought it’d piss people off.

That’s exactly what happened. Because some of it just…doesn’t really make a ton of sense.

  • For example, Nike rewards users for being active. But there are times when folks create new accounts and get exclusive access without going for any drops at all.

  • There’s also the matter of some users not having access to specific content. Android users, for instance, don’t get access to SNKRS streams.

This was meant to add clarity but there seems to be more confusion. People are being told to interact with the app, consume the content, participate in polls and take the L’s every week but aren’t getting any payoff for it.

Anyway. Good luck with the Dear Summer joints. Exclusive access goes out August 9.

Crushing boxes is dumb. Plz, stop doing it

Look, reselling has sucked the soul out of the sneaker game. We all have an understanding of that.

But crushing boxes is not the wave. It doesn’t stop anything. Yet, still, Offspring did that with the AMBUSH x Nike Dunk drop last week. And it was dumb.

The sentiment here is pure, I guess. This is supposedly being done to prevent folks from reselling sneakers. But…this really doesn’t stop anything.

  • Ok. No box. So what? A reseller will take that shoe right to GOAT or eBay and sell it for $20 off.

This is a retailer ruining the consumer experience for everyone. The box is part of the purchase. Sometimes it tells a story. Sometimes, folks hold onto them as a keepsake. And here they are, ruining that experience just to try and stop something that’s going to happen anyway.

The Donut Dunks 🍩

I’m sorry. I normally try not to get caught up in hype like this. But I love everything about these Dunks — from the look to the packaging to the theme.

If y’all wanna, ya know, SPRINKLE some joy in yerboi’s life and grab me an 11.5, I won’t be mad. I’ll throw you the DOUGH. Have the whole IG timeline totally JELLY. Feel me?

Sorry. I don’t deserve these.

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First, Uncle Stan got us popping with the FOG Air Raids. Man. Jerry really had an era with Nike.

Then my guy Chris popped out with these lemon flavored 550’s. They’re SO good fam.

The homie Maliik came through and doubled up on us this week with the Supreme Blazers.

The homie Patrick came through in the Answer IV’s with a bold claim. Sixers, don’t let this man down.

Meanwhile, the homie Mike has different plans. TRAE YOUNG HIVE LETS GO.

The homie David came through in the MA-2 and this shoe is so good man.

The homie Amy came through with more J’s and you absolutely love to see it.

My guy Norm just out here stunting with all the SNKRS dubs. Clearly, he ain’t need no guide. I’d also like to mention that two of the three of these have been on SPECIAL DELIVERY.

Then my guy Matt popped out in the Animal Instinct AJ3. Leopard print ain’t never look so good. SHEESH.

Then the homie Christina completely flexed on us with a Nike collab and some 13 year old kicks. IT’S OVER *cue the Vince Carter gif*.


Thank you so much for rocking with me today, fam. New Special Delivery, coming at 12 noon ET.

It’s still giveaway SZN round these parts. Let your folks know to subscribe.

Catch you on the flip side, fam. Peace. Love. Be safe. Be easy. Be kind.

-Sykes 💯

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