Posted on July 14, 2017, by Travis Pulver
When J.J. Watt was announced as the first-round draft pick of the Houston Texans in 2011, fans were not exactly happy with his selection. A few Defensive MVP trophies have certainly helped turn the hater into believers. His tireless work ethic (preparing for football and in the community) along with his charm and — according to the ladies – good looks has helped make him a fan favorite wherever he goes.
He’s always appeared to be a good guy; down-to-earth, honest, and loyal.
He helps people in the community. He’s gracious with fans; the kind of guy you build a franchise around. But all the stuff away from the field may be clouding his mind a little bit. Either that, or he’s not as connected to the people as he once was.
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Otherwise, how in the world would he call $99 an affordable price for a pair of shoes?
“I grew up in a middle-class family,” he said (via CBSSports). “My dad was a fire fighter, and my mom was a secretary and worked her way up, so we weren’t rich. I couldn’t always afford the coolest shoes on the market.”
“I wanted to create something that everybody can afford, everybody can wear to the gym, during workouts, and after the gym.”
He sounds like he means well and wants to appeal to everyone—but $100 for a pair of shoes? To be fair to him, most designer brands and new styles will cost over $100. Watt may have made the comment with another recently released show in mind that cost $495 ($695 if you have really big feet).
Watt even took a couple of shots at those overpriced shoes on Twitter.
400 dollars less than some shoes on the market and 100% more effective.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) July 13, 2017
And I actually wear them.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) July 13, 2017
In comparison to a $500 pair, his shoes are more affordable—but does that make them affordable to everyone? No.
Back in October 2013, the average cost of a pair of sneakers was $68.80. So—yeah, J.J. is way off base there. If he wanted to set a price that everyone could afford, he should have taken a page out of former NBA star Stephon Marbury’s play book.
Back in 2006, Marbury released his own brand of sneakers and clothing. Like Watt, he wanted to make his line affordable for everyone. His price was a whopping $14.98.
Yep. Just $15.
Surely, they must have been terrible, right? Not at all. In 2007, they were tested against a pair of Jordan’s. According to the results, Marbury’s $15 shoes were just as good as the Jordan’s. Recently, Marbury began making his shoe again. They can be had in stores in China (where he has had a very good career) and online for fans in the United States.
The price the second time around? Still $15.
“I’m from the housing projects, where people can’t afford $150 shoes,” Marbury told ESPN.com. “I was one of those kids who wished to have shoes at that price, but my parents couldn’t buy shoes at that price. Putting food on the table was more important than owning a pair of pricey shoes.”
When he reintroduced his shoe line, Marbury came up with something a little different. The collar is detachable allowing the shoe to be a high top or low top. An app allows for the lights on the bottom to be synced with whatever music is playing on the phone.
“These shoes can easily be sold for $300, but we sell this technology shoe for only $48.98,” Marbury said.
To be fair to Watt, his shoes are made by a corporate giant that is more concerned about the bottom line than affordability. There is likely little Watt can do to affect the price of his shoes, and that’s fine. Just don’t try to tell us you wanted everyone to be able to afford them because they can’t.
That is unless you’re going to hook up everyone who can’t afford them with a pair.