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An Open Letter to NIKE: My Shoes Don’t Need A Diet

Dear Nike,

My name is Gabriella Davi-Khorasanee and I’m the co-founder and Executive Editor of M.I.S.S. and the founder of one of the leading women’s streetewear brands, Mama.  I’ve designed sneakers, for consumers and athletes, and been featured on sneaker websites and magazines, from Sneaker Freaker to Kix And The City, and know a little bit about what women want when it comes to a pair of kicks.  I am also an avid consumer of sneakers and of my over 100 pairs, I would say 90% are Nike.  I love the brand, and some of your silhouettes, including the Cortez, Air Max 97 and Dunk High, are at the top of my all-time list. Unfortunately, I feel the need to write this letter because I am concerned that the direction of your designs and conceptions of the women’s market are fatally flawed. You are making some big mistakes in your design and I believe there are some misconceptions in Portland on what women want.

I think it was last year or the year before when I first heard about a “Zen” Air Max 97 – a “feminized” slimmer version of the Air Max 97 for women.  I have since stopped buying women’s Air Max 97s and can only cross my fingers to find boy’s size 5 as my only option for the original Air Max 97 silhouette.  I was disappointed yesterday when I learned on HighSnobiety that you were making a “slimmer” version of the Dunk High.  It now looks like I’ll have to stop buying Nike Women’s Dunk Highs.  I don’t know who told you that this was a good idea, but I fear that your focus group or tastemakers may be leading you astray.  Here’s a little something about women that you should know:  Women have many, many, options when it comes to footwear.  Sneakers are only 1 of many options to choose from to achieve 1 of countless possible looks.  We wear sneakers to be casual, sporty, and stylish.  If we’re going for a more feminine look, we don’t wear sneakers. We wear ballet flats or stilettos or boots or any one of the dozens of different “ladies” shoes.  Stop trying to make the sneaker something that it isn’t.  It’s a sneaker, trainer, kick – whatever you can to call it – embrace what it is – and give your customers what they want.

Your loyal but extremely disappointed customer,

Gabriella A. Davi-Khorasanee

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12 Responses to “An Open Letter to NIKE: My Shoes Don’t Need A Diet”

  1. Preach on my sister! NO HALF STEPPING!
    Let’s hope they’re just doing a skinny model, and not all women’s dunks will be skinny. I won’t wear Women’s Vandals for basically the same reason, they’re missing that suuuuper comfy upper ankle fat that I really really love. It’s like wearing an ugg boot without the ugly. With your little feet, I know you know how hard it is to find a Vandal in a men’s 7. And not boy’s youth 7. Those are wack too, thinned out plus they have the dunk just doesn’t look right.
    This move reminds me of the Adidas sleek series for women. At least they still make Top 10’s the regular way.
    I actually wouldn’t mind if they fattened up the padding in the dunk. I gave up on them years ago cuz they diminish on my patented comfortability index with wear. I pulled my daktari dunks out of retirement one day last year and wore them all day…they looked fresh but i hated myself for a week.

  2. Lollie says:

    That letter took the words right out of my mouth. Thanks Gabriella for writing that to Nike, because they were on the verge of diminishing the interest I initially had. Salvage female sneakers!

  3. AMEN! Thank you Gabriella. Thank you!

  4. bleta says:

    Fair dinkum! Couldn’t have found any better words.

  5. Amonee says:

    Preach it!!! Girl this letter was the God Honest Truth!!!

  6. amelia says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! Women’s kicks are getting awful. Girly colors and not original/classic designs…rrrrrr. NIKE HAS TO BRING IT BACK TO THE OLD STUFF. fight the power…

  7. BLB BLB says:

    JUST ain’t even Do’n IT anymore…Hope they’re reading!

  8. ladylexx ladylexx says:

    I’m with everyone above: Thanks so much, Gabriella! This is a much needed letter and I’m hoping more than just Nike reps see it.

    It sounds like these companies need to be more careful with who they get in their focus groups and who does their marketing. This “slimmer shoe” thing reminds me of that “smaller baby” thing has running about how some women would “prefer” smaller babies.

    On a personal note: I spent about an hour and a half on Friday calling places to see how small the Aaron Rose (who I’m a big fan of) for DC shoes run…called about 5 places, emailed 2 DC reps…no luck. I wish shoe companies wouldn’t tease us ladies with putting out awesome special edition packs, only to have them in men sizes out of a women shoe size range. I was literally devastated when I came to the realization that I may never own those shoes because they do not come in my size. It’s like having the biggest crush on a boy and him telling you he’ll never like you back. Yeah. It’s like that.

  9. Kimbot says:

    I personally don’t like the idea of a skinny dunk but thinking from a marketing standpoint (at least their’s) they are probably attempting to get a larger women’s market with dunks. Unfortunately, they have been going about this the wrong way. If they want a larger women’s market they have to come out with visually appealing patterns, materials and so on. Not change a classic shoe. I hope that this isn’t going to become standard because I agree, a lot of female dunk followers are gonna ditch this classic.

  10. joogie says:

    amen !!! i thought i only felt that way. personally i have only bought mens sneakers because i just did not like what nike was doing with womens sneakers.

  11. alissa.duh says:

    props to this letter! i’d like to know if they respond! appreciated to the max!

  12. A$TNMNQ says:

    feelin the message, NIKE needs to re-evaluate!


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