How Sneaker Brands have Responded to the Black Community Compared to COVID-19

The deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd are just some of the latest tragic losses the world has suffered as innocent Black lives continue to be unjustly taken away due to police violence. Through the last couple of weeks, the world has come together as a united front in the name of justice. Petitions, donations, protests, and more are taking place.

The acts of solidarity with the Black community are long overdue as systemic racism continues to disproportionately affect the Black community, especially in the United States.

Image via Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

On top of the protest and demonstrations, COVID-19 is still present. Since February, brands have reached into their pockets to help communities in need as well as thinking of innovative ways to help healthcare workers and the general public. Although it’s great to witness brands doing their part for humanity’s sake, the responses to the Black community have been polarized in contrast to the reactions of the pandemic.

Maybe there aren’t enough Black people in leadership roles at these brands to facilitate a well-thought-out plan. Maybe these brands don’t care enough about the political climate. Maybe these brands (some more than others) are more worried about their conservative consumers because racists buy sneakers too. Plain and simple. We won’t ever honestly know their intentions. And while the press releases and donations are a notable effort, it’s not enough.

As Tremaine Emory puts it, the “expensive bandaid” these brands are applying to this deep, systemic problem of racism towards the Black community simply isn’t enough.

These brands, which have made an empire off of the Black community, need to do more at this point. We at Nice Kicks want to see these brands care about the Black community in its time of need. Without the Black community, these brands would be nothing.

Black Lives Matter.

Take a look at what each brand has (and hasn’t) done in response to both COVID-19 and recent call to action in support of the Black community. If you’re looking for more ways to help, follow this link for resources, petitions, and places to donate.

adidas

adidas & Carbon Face Shields

COVID-19:

+ Manufactured over 200,000 face shields for healthcare workers [link]
+ Donated 130 pair of UltraBoost to Mount Sinai Hospital workers in NYC [link]
+ Pledged $1 (up to $1M) for every hour of activity logged through #HometeamHero challenge [link]
+ Sold face covers with $2 of every sale (up to $1.5M) donated to Save The Children’s Global Coronavirus Response Fund [link]

Black Community Causes:

+ Quote Tweeted Nike and stated, “Together is how we move forward. Together is how we make change” [link]
+ adidas issued a statement that reads, “We recognize that we have not done enough, and we are dedicated to doing more.” [link]
+ adidas announced it would match 200% of each employee donation [link]
+ adidas initially pledged to donate $20M and then extended the donation to $120M over the next five years [link]

The brand also announced that it would finance 50 scholarships each year for Black students at partnered schools. The statement also included that at least 30% of all open positions will be filled by Black or Latinx people. adidas also mentions that 50% of all new positions will be filled with diverse talent across gender, sexual orientation, disability, and veteran status.

Brooks

Brooks

COVID-19:

+ Donated 10,000 pairs of shoes to healthcare workers [link]

Black Community Causes:

+ Donated $100,000 to the Equal Justice Initiative [link]
+ Pledged to give an additional $1 (up to $250,000) for every runner who signed up to run until June 7 [link]

 

FILA

FILA

Black Community Causes:

+ Fila on Sunday announced via Instagram that it would donate $100,000 to Black Lives Matter, encouraging followers to “take the necessary steps alongside us for a more equal and just tomorrow.” [link]

HOKA ONE ONE

COVID-19:

+ Donated 5,000 pairs of sneakers and $1M to combat the virus [link]

Black Community Causes:

+ Donated $500,000 in total to NAACP, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the ACLU Foundation, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Black Lives Matter Foundation, and the Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center at American University [link]
+ Compiled an array of resources on how to be an ally and anti-racist [link]

Jordan Brand

Black Community Causes: 

+ Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand donated $100M over the next ten years [link]

New Balance

COVID-19:

+ Dedicated factories to manufacturing masks [link]
+ Pledged $2M in grants towards non-profits [link]
+ The brand and its athletes donated $1M in sneakers for healthcare workers [link]
+ Released its NB Fave Mask v3 to the public [link]

Black Community Causes:

+ Advocated for “peaceful action” in response to the death of George Floyd [link]
+ The same statement asked NB’s followers to sign the Justice for George Floyd Petition
+ Donated 10,000 pairs of running shoes to the Black community in memory of Ahmaud Arbery [link]

No official donation to an organization nor movement has been made.

Nike, Inc.

COVID-19:

+ Nike produced over 360,00 pieces of PPE for healthcare workers [link]
+ Donated 32,500 pairs of shoes for healthcare workers [link]
+ Donated $25M to food assistance and medical care as it matched employee donations [link]

Black Community Causes:

+ Posted its “Don’t Do It” video across social platforms [link]
+ Nike, Converse, and Jordan Brand committed $40M over the next four years [link]
+ Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand donated $100M over the next ten years [link]
+ Nike announced that it will recognize Juneteenth as an annual paid holiday for its U.S. employees [link]

Nike and Jordan Brand also pushed back the release dates for a lot of their upcoming releases.

PUMA

COVID-19:

+ Donated 20,000 pairs of sneakers and 5,000 pieces of apparel for healthcare workers [link]

Black Community Causes:

+ PUMA participated in the #BlackoutTuesday and recommended people to donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund [link]

PUMA has yet to formally announce a donation to any organization.

Reebok

COVID-19:

+ Sold face covers and donated $2 of every pack (up to $1.5M) to Save the Children’s Global Coronavirus Response Fund [link]

Black Community Causes:

+ Issued a clear statement that Reebok, and America, would be nothing without the Black community [link]
+ Ended its partnership with CrossFit after its CEO made an insensitive comment over the death of George Floyd [link]
+ Reebok announced it will donate $15M over the next 5 years towards the Black community and resources [link]
+ 30% of all open positions will be filled with Black and Latinx talent [link]
+ 50% of all open positions will be filled with diverse talent [link]

Under Armour

COVID-19:

+ Donated $1M to Feeding America [link]
+ Raised $55,000 for teachers and students with its “Through This Together” apparel [link]
+ Dedicated some of its factories to creating fabric masks and protective shields [link]
+ Donated $1M in money and product for youth sports leagues [link]
+ Donated 20,000 face masks to Johns Hopkins Health System in April [link]
+ Released masks engineered for modern athletes [link]

Black Community Causes:

+ Stated “more to come” on an Instagram post [link]
+ Hosted an IG takeover with Rahsaan Rogers for Global Running Day [link]
+ CEO Patrik Frisk wrote a letter in which he states that the company stands for equality as Black Lives Matter [link]

No donation has been made from the brand.

Vans

COVID-19:

+ Launched a capsule of 500 pairs with each of the proceeds going directly to its independent partners [link]

Black Community Causes:

+ Donated $100,000 to the NAACP; $50,000 to Color of Change; $50,000 to the GSA network  [link]

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