Nike released the Air Force 1 '07 x Colin Kaepernick on Monday, which features his image on the heel of the shoe with the numbers 08 14 16 printed on the outsole of the shoe. The numbers coincide with the date he started his protest and kneeled during the national anthem kicking off a controversy across the U.S., which reached the upper echelon of the White House and continues in 2019.
The shoe is part of a branding deal Nike and Kaepernick agreed to prior to the start of the 2018 NFL season. Nike had already released a black jersey that has featured his No. 7 and his last name on the nameplate of the apparel. Houston Texans star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was seen wearing it prior to a game last season.
Kaepernick tweeted that at least two retailers selling the shoe will donate profits to unnamed charities. An adult size shoe costs $110.
“As a football star with the ability to articulate a powerful message, Kaepernick is one of this generation’s most prominent crossover cultural influencers,” a description of the Nike shoe reads.
Carolina Panthers defensive back Eric Reid, a strong Kaepernick ally who was the first to kneel alongside him before the start of NFL games in 2016, teased the shoe in a photo in November.
While the company took an initial hit upon announcing the endorsement deal with Nike, the company's stock price has seen an 18 percent increase ever since. Kaepernick also caused controversy with the company when he reportedly expressed concerns over a Betsy Ross flag shoe that had been scheduled to be released around the Fourth of July holiday. Nike pulled the shoe off the shelves, causing a backlash.
Kaepernick was set to have an NFL-scheduled workout last month but moved locations last minute over his issues with the league's transparency and an injury waiver officials wanted him to sign. Instead, he worked out elsewhere for about eight teams.
He hasn't played in the NFL since the 2016 season, when he decided to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustices across the U.S.