Factfile On... Sports Shoes

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Sports shoes

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‘Like to flaunt ’em,that ’s why I bought 'em... We make a mean team my Adidas and me.'
sang Run DMC at the height of the sports-shoe craze of the 1980s.

• Basketballer Chuck Taylor was the first celebrity used to market sports shoes in the 1920s. Since then his signature, as part of the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars logo, has graced 550 million pairs sold worldwide.

• In the 1990s, Michael Jordan received $20 million a year to endorse Nike. Currently, Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo receives about $1.5 million a year to wear Nike gear.1

• An upstart in the 1960s, Nike is now the number-one sports-shoe producer, selling $9.2 billion-worth of shoes a year.1

• Eighty per cent of Nikes are not used for any athletic activity.1

• Nike’s famous swoosh logo was created in 1971. A student, for a fee of $35, designed one of the most recognizable corporate logos worldwide.2

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Your sports shoe is made up of dozens
of different, mostly synthetic, materials.

[image, unknown] Upper: leather, tanned via a 20-step process using strong chemicals. Chemicals from tanneries in South Korea are discharged into the Nattong River along with other industrial pollutants, making tap water undrinkable.

Midsole: includes custom-designed EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam - a composite of several chemicals which when combined and baked release tiny air bubbles, giving the shoes their cushy feel.

Below the heel: is a small amber-coloured polyurethane bag filled with a pressurized gas. According to a UN report on global warming, pressurized sulphur hexafluoride gas in the trademark bubbles in Nike's Air shoe is a global-warming agent 22,000 times more damaging than carbon dioxide.1

Outer soles: styrene-butadiene rubber, synthesized from petroleum and local benzene.

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'There shall be no discrimination based on race,
creed, gender, marital or maternity status, religious
or political beliefs, age or sexual orientation.'
Nike's Code of Conduct 2

Advertisement for a Chinese factory
producing shoes for Nike and Adidas4:
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Salary of a Nike contract worker in Indonesia: $2.60 a day

Number of years needed for Nike contract worker to make the same as Nike CEO Phil Knight earns in one year: 98,644

Percentage of Nike's marketing expenditure required to ensure all Indonesian workers receive a living wage: 4 %

Reebok's international sales in 1999: $1.197 billion

Reebok's annual marketing budget: $435 million

Percentage of marketing spend needed to double the wages of 40,000 workers making shoes in Philippines and China: 10 %

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Jim Keady
Former professional soccer player and coach Jim Keady (pictured above) refused to wear Nike gear in protest at the company's labour practices. He went to Indonesia and tried to live on the wage of a worker at a Nike factory, often going hungry.
See his story on: www.nikewages.org

[image, unknown]  Log onto http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/5232/links.html
to find your nearest anti-Nike or anti-sweatshop campaigning group.

1 Colours No 36. 2 www.nikebiz.com 3 John C Ryan & Alan Thein Durning Stuff: the Secret Lives of
Everyday Things
(Northeast Environment Watch, 1997). 4 Nike Campaign. 5 Christian Aid.

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New Internationalist issue 330 magazine cover This article is from the December 2000 issue of New Internationalist.
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