Nike’s decision to pull shoes with the Betsy Ross flag on the heel has sparked immediate controversy — as well as a price surge on the secondhand market.
Pairs of the Air Max 1 USA are now selling for as much as $2,501, according to the sneaker reselling site StockX, which listed the shoe’s retail price at $120. As of Tuesday morning, 66 pairs have been sold, the site said.
The 1,983% price increase comes less than a day after The Wall Street Journal reported the athletic apparel giant’s decision to halt sales on the shoes before they were officially released.
Nike NKE, -0.32% sent the red, white and blue shoes to retailers but called them back because the athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick, who has an endorsement deal with the sporting apparel giant, objected to the shoes’ Revolutionary-era Betsy Ross flag.
The flag bears 13 stars for the 13 colonies and was made in the 1770s, during a time of slavery in the Southern colonies of a new country being built on the idea of equality and freedom. Some, including a branch of the NAACP, say white nationalist have co-opted the Betsy Ross flag as their own symbol.
The price surge replays how the secondhand web-based market can vault prices on goods suddenly becoming high profile. Earlier this year, Patagonia said it would stop making so-called sleeveless fleece “power vests” branded with Wall Street client logos. It wasn’t long before the branded fleeces, which retail for between $99 and $139 were going for double the price on eBay EBAY, +0.10% .
While StockX sales prices climbed, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced on Twitter TWTR, +0.30% he was instructing the state’s Commerce Authority to yank “all financial incentive dollars under their discretion that the State was providing for [Nike] to locate here.”
A Nike spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal it chose not to sell the shoes because they “featured the old version of the American flag.”
Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49’ers quarterback, knelt during national anthems to protest police brutality, but hasn’t played a game since the end of the 2016 season. Kaepernick once took his team to the Super Bowl, but alleged that National Football League owners decided to keep him — and his views on #BlackLivesMatter — out of the league.
Kaepernick and another player, Eric Reid, filed a grievance with the NFL alleging owners colluded to keep them out. The complaint was settled for a confidential amount earlier this year.