SCMF Musings: Product Placement and Nike Waffle Sneakers

DesignTAXI sent an email newsletter the other day that had “Is Nike’s ‘breakfast’ sneaker a hoax?” as a part of the Subject line. Of course, we stopped to peruse.

Sure enough, there was a picture of a “waffley” high top Nike shoe stomping Monty-Python style, a stack of waffles.

“New Nike Sneaker Celebrates Breakfast with Chicken And Waffles-Inspired Design” the copy read.

Wait… what?

We bit again, and clicked. That’s when things got stranger.

From DesignTAXI's site

From DesignTAXI’s site

See? From the looks of this, McDonald’s is tag-teaming with Nike on a breakfast promotion.


So we read further to track down DesignTAXI’s source.


The slideshow on its page did NOT show Mickey D’s.

Humm… We’re guessing that somehow, through the magic of word matching, McDonald’s was able to score placement in the DesignTAXI post.

Interesting, right?

Now about that Nike Waffle Shoe… Believe it or Not?

The waffle iron and Nike go way back — to the 1970s when Bill Bowerman invented Nike Waffle shoes. He was trying to come up with a means for providing excellent traction that could work on multiple surfaces, without metal spikes.

His “light bulb moment” came over breakfast, as he contemplated the syrup-cradling depressions of the waffle on his plate.

What if you reversed the pattern and formed a material with raised waffle-grid nubs?”

He subsequently commandeered the family waffle iron and substituted melted urethane for batter. Unfortunately, Bowerman initially forgot to grease the iron with an anti-stick agent and it glued shut. Despite this setback, he persevered and fashioned a flexible, springy and lightweight rubber material with a raised, gridded pattern and grip traction.

Nike's Bill Bowerman at work.

Nike’s Bill Bowerman at work.

Bowerman’s legacy as an original thinker and innovator will forever be linked with the waffle sole, which like many brilliant inventions is so simple and intuitive it resonates immediately and broadly. Versions of it are still employed today in Nike footwear, as are Bowerman’s many other contributions to running shoe innovation, including the raised heel, the nylon upper and the continuous midsole.

70s Classic

70s Classic

You can read the whole story here.

Yet we still wonder, is this DesignTAXI one for real? The Highsnobiety post indicates an April 2 arrival (the day after April Fool’s Day). Guess we need to stay tuned for further news.

For sure, this is a great example of a #SCMF discovery.

—The Gang

Bonus Content:

NPR: The lost waffle iron is found.

Gizmodo: The Original Waffle Maker That Started Nike

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