October 13, 2007

Nike fits Native feet

Alberty:  Hope for Indian health:  'Just do it'One of the high points was the presentation by Nike Inc. to unveil the Nike Air Native N7 athletic shoe. After two years of consulting with 70 tribes, IHS offices and podiatrists, this shoe was presented to the NIHB conference attendees with public service announcements, background, and a guest presentation by four-time PGA winner Notah Begay III.

You know you're at an Indian conference when, during the background speech about the N7 shoe, the presenter noted that the shoe was designed specifically for the "Native foot, which is different." I heard a comment. "Yeah, it's shorter and fat," a woman behind me said, eliciting low laughter and smiles all around her. But her comment wasn't too far off when I examined the N7 close up. The design is truly wider and, for lack of a better description, thicker in the laces area, or center, of the shoe.

An information center was set up for people to try on the N7 shoe, to be sized properly, and to examine the difference. An IHS staff person told me that the N7 was an excellent idea "especially for the diabetic population and people who want to continue walking, the older people, the heavier people, or just the people who have real Indian feet. It's so hard to find the perfect shoe."

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