A Guy Paid $9,000 for Donald Trump's Sold-Out Sneakers

On Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia, less than 24 hours after he was ordered to pay $450 million in a New York civil fraud cause, the former President Donald J. Trump made a surprise appearance on stage at Sneaker Con to promote his own line of sneakers. Retailing for $399, the limited-edition “Never Surrender High Top” looks a bit like a cross between an Air Jordan 1 and a Converse All-Star, done in gold-painted leather and featuring an American flag on the heel. Although, as the New York Times reported, the shoes are billed on their official website as not “designed, manufactured, distributed or sold by Donald J. Trump,” they’ve already sold out.

“This is something I’ve been talking about for 12 years, 13 years, and I think it’s going to be a big success,” Trump told gatherers at Sneaker Con, over a chorus of both cheers and boos. Response to the release has been divisive, to say the least: some have criticized Sneaker Con for offering Trump a platform, while others have mocked the very idea of a political leader getting involved in this kind of promotion. A Joe Biden campaign spokesman ridiculed the shoes as “bootleg Off-Whites,” adding that these shoes are “the closest he’ll get to any Air Force One ever again for the rest of his life,” a dig at Trump’s election prospects for 2024.

Sneaker Con responded vaguely to the controversy on their social media channels, referring to their mission “to support and promote sneaker culture through [their] worldwide live events and digital platforms.” While the “Never Surrender” high-tops are long gone already—several pairs are now listed on eBay for six figures—Trump’s also hawking two low-top shoes, the “T-Red Wave” and the “POTUS 45,” which have a sock-like fabric upper and come in white and red. Besides the few collectors (of a sort) who managed to snag hand-signed pairs at Sneaker Con, including a luxury watch dealer who shelled out $9,000 for his, no one actually has any of these in-hand yet. According to the website, the shoes are made to order and will be manufactured and shipped out in July; the site also says they’re “high-quality products and a testament to the 45th President.” 

The shoe itself, of course, is more of a novelty item than an actual attempt to enter the sneaker market: The release has been limited to a practically irrelevant 1,000 pairs (including 10 random pairs that have been autographed by Trump himself), and it was clearly more about drumming up broadsheet notice than trying to take the shoe market by storm. While Trump’s website asks visitors to “Join Trump’s Sneaker Community” to “Be a Part of History,” it does not seem likely that sneakerheads will rally around this particular drop, whatever their political affiliations. For now, we’ll have to wait for the advertised “Official Trump Sneaker Launch Party,” date TBD, which adds to the caveat that there is “no guarantee President Trump will attend.”

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