Nike sets Grateful Dead sneaker release date

SB Dunk Low Grateful Deads will come in green, orange and yellow

Nike teamed up with the Grateful Dead band to design new kicks coming out July 18.

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The Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead sneakers will debut in green, orange and yellow, the company announced in a statement Tuesday. The orange pairs go on sale via FTC July 18, with the yellows set to drop on the SNKRS app and at select skate shops July 24. The green ones will be released at select skate shops also on July 24.

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On the sneakers’ tongue is the Grateful Dead’s iconic dancing bears symbol, which first appeared on the back cover of the group’s 1973 LP "History of the Grateful Dead, Volume 1 (Bear’s Choice)." The design features faux-fur and suede and a frayed Nike Swoosh.

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Although the bear art may not have influenced the band’s music, Owsley Stanley, an audio engineer nicknamed "Bear," who helped develop their Wall of Sound system as well as the cartoon, very well did so, David Lemieux, the band’s archivist and legacy manager, said in a statement.

"As the band’s benefactor, Bear was an incredibly huge part of the Grateful Dead’s ability to become who they were. They were talented musicians, but they would not have had the financial freedom to forgo jobs, move to Los Angeles and practice for 14 hours a day.”

He added that Nike SB founder Sandy Bodecker’s influence on the Dunk and skate culture made an impact, too, saying, “the same fiercely independent spirit from Bodecker helped create that authenticity within the skate community.”

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Nike’s reveal comes as the company in June reported a quarterly net loss and a sales decline of 38 percent year-over-year. The sneaker maker saw a loss of $790 million, or 51 cents per share, during the period ended May 31 versus net income of $989 million, or earnings of 62 cents a share, a year ago. Total revenue dropped to $6.31 billion from $10.18 billion last year.

Nike shares have ticked up 10 percent in the past three months, however.

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As Americans have stayed home during the coronavirus pandemic, online sales were one gleaming portion of Nike’s recent quarterly earnings. Digital sales shot up 75 percent, making up about 30 percent of total revenue. Nike’s previous goal was 30 percent digital penetration by 2023.

“We are continuing to invest in our biggest opportunities, including a more connected digital marketplace,” Chief Executive Officer John Donahoe said in a statement, with an eye town pumping up online sales.