Beyond Footwear: The $399 Gold Trump Sneakers Story

Trump's Latest Merchandise Stirs Controversy and Debate

by Zain ul Abedin
Beyond Footwear: The $399 Gold Trump Sneakers Story
© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

When Donald J. Trump, the former U.S. President and now a presidential candidate, stepped into the world of merchandise, he brought his unique brand of flamboyance to every item, from gold (chocolate) bars to wines and superhero NFTs.

However, the pièce de résistance of this collection could well be the $399 'Never Surrender' sneakers, debuted at Sneaker Con in Philadelphia. These sneakers aren't just footwear; they are a vivid representation of Trump's values and political strategy, encapsulated in a pair of shoes.

The sneakers, with their gilded high-top design, mirror the opulence of Mar-a-Lago's chandeliers. They feature an American flag adorning the ankle, reminiscent of the backdrop often seen during Trump's rallies. The red soles echo his signature red ties, perhaps also hinting at luxury through a subtle reference to Christian Louboutin's iconic designs.

Emblazoned with a prominent 'T' on the side and tongue, these shoes are unmistakably Trump. Marketed on the Trump sneakers website as "bold, gold, and tough, just like President Trump," these sneakers are sold as a piece of history.

Yet, they lack any technical performance features and are seen as more of a homage to Nike Air Force 1s - aligning with the 'Air Force One' theme but without any originality.

Flash Over Substance?

Critics might view these sneakers as mere flash, devoid of substance.

Michael Tyler, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, mockingly compared Trump's venture to selling counterfeit sneakers, implying a lack of authenticity and connection to the original Air Force Ones. These sneakers could be perceived as Trump's attempt to tap into sneaker culture's inherent 'coolness' and the vitality and action suggested by slogans like 'Just Do It.'

This is somewhat ironic, given that Trump is rarely seen in sneakers or engaging in physical activity. But there's more to this than meets the eye. The release of these sneakers has been met with skepticism and humor, especially considering Trump's financial obligations stemming from various civil cases.

There was also a notable negative reaction at Sneaker Con, indicating that the true sneaker enthusiasts aren't the target audience - it's more about appealing to his MAGA base. In summary, these $399 Trump sneakers are more than a fashion statement; they are a strategic extension of Trump's brand and political messaging, aimed squarely at his loyal followers rather than the broader sneaker-loving community.