statement made

I know it’s not okay to say that you like Nike because of all the sweat shop stuff and something about their shoes being made from the skin of Brazilian babies, but I’m a huge fan of their workout clothing and shoes.

Everything I wear to the gym is Nike.  In fact the CMO of Nike just texted me and told me that because I’m blogging about the brand, he’ll pay me three small children every time I write Nike.  So Nike, Nike, Nike.  I hope those kids are hard workers.

I realize that their stuff isn’t any better than any other sporting goods company, but the reason I am so obsessed with Nike is that when I was a kid, I could never have their shoes.

When I was young Nike Airs had just came out and obviously any kid that was worth anything had to have them.  This was a problem for me because I was a kid who was worth nothing.  Because I was poor.  I’m talking steal-your-friend’s-G.I. Joes-because-you-can’t-afford-any poor.

I remember pleading with my Mom and Dad for the Airs and being instantly rebuffed because for some insane reason they thought food was more important – a point I still dispute to this day.

Because they couldn’t afford to buy me Nikes (or Bugle Boys, by the way) my parents took me to the shoe store and bought me another brand of sneakers.  After I stopped crying and pounding my fists on the wall in protest, I thought that maybe it would not be that bad and I’d end up with some sweet Reeboks, but that’s not the way it went.

While all my friends walked around with their new, flashy, These Make You A Better Person Nike Airs, I had on my feet a brand of shoes called Winners.

Yes, Winners.

Just for the record: Nike > Winners.

The amount of ridicule that I endured because of my all-white Winners still sits with me today as I type this, and that’s why I go out of my way to purchase any and all Nike apparel/footwear.

It’s to let people know that I am A Person now.  A Person who wears brand names and sometimes has money in his pocket that he might spend at any moment!

But most of all, it’s for that little boy inside of me who still carries the pain of wearing generic sneakers to gym class, and who had to hear “Nice Winners, Loser!” one too many times.


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58 responses to “statement made

  1. Aw, poor baby. All of us poor folk can totally relate. My best friend not only had cable, but the Disney channel (which was extra dinero back in the day), and I was always super jealous as I scrolled through my 13 channels. I pay for HBO now, and I’m damn proud to fork over that extra $12 each month, ha.

  2. This is why I wear shoes at all now. No more garbage bags tied around the ankles for me!

  3. Ben

    Oh adulthood – the glorious time where you can undo all the things your parents tried to instill upon you!

  4. But you are a winner!!! See how I turned that around and made it positive?

    Whatever, I tried.

  5. clgirl

    i’m sure my “guess” jeans could have given your winners a run for their money in the middle school arena.
    i use the term “guess” loosely, as i’m not sure how well the general public bought the emblem-cut-from- socks-sewn-to-value-city-jeans.
    perhaps i’ve blocked out my own winners as the swoosh painstakingly crafted from a sharpie and my mother’s hand is too much to bear.

  6. I was deprived of Nikes as a child. I had to where Nick’s shoes because he was older. Everyone showed off their new Nikes while I showed off my new Nick’s.

  7. Matt

    Things that are made in sweat shops are often high quality. Its true. The kids do a really great job when you make them.

  8. I feel for you on this one. I was the only one in junior high without Nikes. I know this because I became obsessed with the fact that the shoes were too expensive for my parents to purchase, and became fixated on everyone’s shoes around me. Nike, nike, nike, nike, nike, nike, oh… some generic shoes from Hills? That’s awkward….

  9. Dude. I went through the same thing when I was a kid. I brought it up with my mom recently and she did not remember at all. I was probably about 8, and we went to get some shoes at either Sears or JC Penny. I wanted some BK Ratchtech shoes, but my mom had already decided on what I as getting. It was a pair of white with green logo Winners. I yelled about how uncool it was to no avail. They were my shoes. We got home, and I had to have a babysitter that night. She secretly told the babysitter to tell me how cool they were. I was not fooled. I am dedicating a blog post to this today since someone else knows what I’m talking about.

  10. Gee wiz. And now not only did I have flash backs of when I was the poor kid who had to go without. My own kids are the ones now getting riddled with the pain of having to go without. I do feel bad, if that’s worth anything, however, if you can’t afford such things, you just can’t have them. Unless you want to teach your kids to grow up and be theifs, but that’s I suppose to each their own.

  11. I feel the same way! As soon as I was old enough to have my own money I bought a pair of the Nike shoes that were the IT shoe when I was poor and in high school. They were sadly 10 years past their coolness, but I had to have them.

    When I was 12 I had a pair of generic Wal-Mart tennies. They looked just like adidas but had one too many stripes. I colored the fourth stripe to match the shoe but no one was fooled.

  12. I was the biggest tomboy when I was younger. I begged and pleaded for some Jordans and got them. It was like the thing in grade school, all the girls and boys had them.

    Basically, I couldn’t ask for anything for a whole year because of how much those cost.

  13. At least you knew you were a loser. I had to find out the hard way. I was bragging to a friend that my mom came home with loads of new clothes for me…that I had gotten so excited when I saw the 2 huge pink Conway bags in her hands. This caused an eruption of snickering from my friend. It was then I knew that getting your clothing from Conway wasn’t a good thing =(

  14. I’m on an Under Armour Running Team and get free gear and shoes. Don’t hate!

  15. I don’t see what’s so wrong with sweatshops. Kids nowadays need to be taught the value of a work ethic and stop playing all those viddyo games.

    I, myself, prefer adidas.

  16. It was the Magic Johnson Converse for me. Instead of these phat purple and gold hightops:

    I ended up with the Volume/Payless knockoff, the ones that looked almost identical ‘cept that they had two little chevrons on each side instead of the Converse star-and-chevron look.

    (And God forgive me for ever wanting anything to do with Laker gear. I was young and dumb.)

  17. I feel your pain! Same here as far as not having the latest “it” clothes and shoes while growing up. It follows you so now I will probably make sure my kids get what they want (as long as they aren’t little bad ass ungrateful kids of course).

  18. Maybe now you can get a Nike sponsorship and your own commercials where you sweat Gatorade. We are all witnesses.

  19. halfway through reading the entry, i was going to comment that wearing nike has no dignity. and then i came to ‘winners’. i stand corrected.

    no wonder your blog is fraught with angst.

  20. I bought two pairs of Reeboks in middle school. One pair of all white high tops, and on pair that were all pink. Because I thought they were cool. I was incorrect.

  21. Oh I feel your pain!!! For me it was Esprit and Liz Claiborne and Jet Set.

    If you didn’t wear those brands you were SCUM.

    End of story.

    I bet this is why we both drink so much now too.

  22. I would proudly wear any shoes called WINNERS. In fact, I wish I had some right now.

  23. Sometimes I’ll read one of your posts and become convinced that you and I have shared the same life.

    I, too, wasn’t allowed to have Nikes. Instead, my dad perpetually bought me $10 velcro shoes from Target.

  24. Remember Reebok Pumps and Nike Airs? Where you got to control how much bounce the shoes had through the fun pumpy thing!?! Yeah. I didn’t have them either.

  25. overpriced athletic wear is always justified, for whatever your reasoning…

    i never had the nice stuff either. but one time i got lucky and got a pretty sweet pair of pink and white BK white pump hightops. yes, that’s a highlight from my childhood.

  26. amind – You go girl! First and last time I ever type that sentence.

    aine – It’s all about bettering yourself.

    ben – One piece at a time.

    marie – Thanks for trying.

    clgirl – Hahaha – that is awesome.

    broke – I hope Nick at least had a hot girlfriend.

    matt – Right, but the trick is to make them.

    mermanda – Hills! Yes! That’s where I got mine!!

    ross – Do me a favor man, try and find evidence that Winners existed. I can’t. I tried and tried to find a picture of them but there is nothing. It’s like they were so bad they tried to erase them from the Internet.

    duhn – Hey, maybe they’ll grow up to be a blogger!

    gwen – No one is ever fooled by that trick, but yet we all try it.

    jamie – But you were cool for that entire year!

    vanessa – Hahaha – yeah, Conway is not a good bag to see.

    word – Bastard!

    kiala – You seem like an adidas kinda woman.

    justin – I remember those! “Chevron” does describe it perfectly too.

    akilah – Of course.

    narm – I pray every single night that it happens.

    gina – Exactly.

    megan – Damn, that is bad.

    kristen – I’m sure it has something to do with it.

    arielle – Trust me, no you don’t.

    arjewtino – Together we can cry.

    meghan – No pumps for me either, but Nikes were always cooler anyway.

    ang – That’s not a bad highlight at all.

  27. deutlich

    Yeesh – I remember the Nike hype.. it was bananas.

  28. Oh jesus, I wrote about selling out to the man too. And my corporate thing totally abuses 12 year old Thai boys too! We’re like blog twins.

  29. God. What was that like to grow up poor?

  30. This is why shoplifting is such a valuable skill for children to learn.

    Even now, if I saw you walking down the street, I would say to myself, “There is A Person who steals brand names and might steal from me at any moment.” Then I would check to make sure I remembered to zip up my backpack and I would give you the stink eye before I picked your pocket.

  31. We got all our shoes at Kmart. They did not wear well.

  32. Far

    dude i feel your pain… while everyone else in my school wore ROOTS sweatshirts and pants and bags and underwear I had no no name shit from a store called Bi-way… and when i was in school bi-way was the worst way… we didnt have money then to waste on brand names that i would grow out of in 5 months so it was bi-way or the highway for me!!

  33. Oh man, I could never have Nikes either. And now I work like, 3 blocks away from Niketown so ALL my workout shit is Nike.


  34. I told the CMO you were a fan and he should probably hand over some of the kids. Just saying.

  35. I was one of the poor kids too.

    Wait…I still am.


  36. angry gurl

    i had to wear LA Gears, which we all know, are SO uncool. and are referred to as LA Queers. by the most obnoxious kids in school, at top volume.

  37. Um, LA Gear was to cool! But only if you had at least two laces in each pair, and only if those laces were fluorescent. I had hot pink and hot green, and trust me, I was cool. I think.

  38. Winners are not better than Nike? Well I’m a winner and you’re a winner and…

    Yeah I guess you’re right.

  39. Haha, I totally can identify with this. When I was a kid my parents, despite not being particularly badly off, used to dress me in charity shop clothes. I didn’t mind until I made the mistake of telling people at my primary seven christmas party that my lovely puffball skirt was from Oxfam. Now I like to spend LOTS of money on clothes just cos I can!!!

    Oh and I never got Nikes as a kid either. I think I got Gola trainers. I got slagged for that too…

  40. Maybe this is why I like McDonalds so much now. I wasn’t allowed to have “that garbage” as a kid and now…well, I think I’ll go there for lunch.

  41. Workout-gear-wise, I’m more of an Adidas girl myself. I do have a Nike sportsbra, though. Do YOU have one of those??

    Otherwise, I sport Pumas. Or heels or flipflops.

    Shoes shoes shoes.

    I am glad you are finally able to have whatever your heart wanted as a child. 🙂

  42. deutlich – And I had to endure it alone. Oh the pain!

    melissa – And blog geniuses.

    yourgf – Sad. Or : ( even.

    stoogepie – I miss the days of stealing stuff, I used to be so good at it too.

    todd – Hahaha – no, one would think they wouldn’t.

    far – Oh man, Bi-way just sounds bad.

    bigtime – It is the best stuff. It really is.

    stealth – Thank you.

    giggle – I’ll send you some Winners.

    angry – Which is why you’re angry.

    ari – You were cool for WV.

    rs – Yeah, it’s pretty much that easy.

    paula – Oh, I like “slagged,” I might have to use that sometime.

    megkathleen – Do it.

    jen – I have one in pink.

  43. I can SO RELATE! I too never got the new Nike air shoes, I was wearing some payless brand shoes and it sucked!

    Same thing happened when LA Gear became the “it shoes” – I was not able to be an “it girl” in elementary school because we were broke.


  44. I think a lot of us were right there with you. I remember wanting Guess? jeans SO BAD IT HURT when I was in grade school. Never got them.

    Being a girl I never cared about the Air Jordan’s but I do remember the mania about them. I’ve always been an Adidas and Puma girl myself.

  45. ken

    we were so poor, we used to duct tape used maxi-pads to our feet that we’d find in the trash.

    sometimes we got so hungry we ate them.

  46. I did get Nikes, but they were from their Cheap As Hell, Busted As Hell line and were called something like “Air Pegasus,” because everyone knows you run like a flying horse in $20 shoes.

  47. Winners. Ouch. That’s just asking for it.

    No Bugle Boys? That is really fucking poor. My parents were lucky because I latched onto Chuck Taylors at a young age (before, during and long after they were cool). Those things were only twenty bucks and came in so many vibrant colors!

    Yes, I was ridiculed for my shoes as well.

  48. Your Winners/Nike story reminds me of the day I showed up to one of my 4th grade basketball games at the local Boys & Girls Club with my brand spankin’ new LA Lights high tops. They were off the hook, for realz. No, but really, they were cool…flashing lights and all.

    I too adore Nike’s dri fit apparel for running and all kinds of working out. It is usually far superior in look and comfort to most other brands. However, where I think they still need to step up their game is in technical running shoes. Step it up Nike. Bring on the width and support. Otherwise, my Asics Gel Kayanos will be my go to running shoe and damn, those nearly break the bank. But whatever it takes to keep these feet happy, eh?

  49. As a marathon runner, I actually like New Balance better. They cost as much, but I get infinitely better mileage on them.

  50. Just Do It! (Why has no one said this? Is it b/c that’s a lame thing to say…? *sigh*)

    My mom made me these black knock off Reeboks to school every day. I’m not kidding when I say every day. I wore them until the soles literally fell off.

  51. I have nothing to contribute. I was (am?) a spoiled child.


  52. is this the longest post you have ever written?

    “excuse me – are those bugle boy jeans you’re wearing?”

  53. No Nikes? Seriously? That’s your big complaint?

    I was sent to school in tattered rags and milk cartons for shoes.

    Ok, that’s not true. But I only owned one pair of Umbros. That was pretty bad.

  54. tia

    aw. this post made me sad. i kinda wanna buy you a pony or something to make up for your nike-less childhood.

  55. I still know how that feels.
    ‘Cos even though I have recently started working, aftert the whole education phase, I need to take care of my family, so I’m still unable to afford even going to a gym, let alone buy and wear nike stuff in there 😦

    So who’s gonna sponsor me my very own nike goodies? 🙂 🙂

  56. kez

    Awww. It’s amazing how that childhood stuff just stays with us forever.
    I wanted Converse sneakers for many years. I eventually got some crummy ones that Mum found on sale, so I guess that curbed my enthusiasm.

  57. longredcape

    My dad wouldn’t let me get Nikes because he didn’t want Tiger Woods getting any of HIS hard-earned money, Goddamn it.

  58. erin

    my mom bought me fake keds. keds!

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