Pope Francis needed some new kicks, so he did what anyone would do: he went out and bought some. Now, when you or I go out and buy ourselves shoes it’s no big deal, but when Pope Francis does it’s a BIG deal because he’s the freakin’ pope and most popes don’t run their own errands; they have people who will do those things for them.
Of course, his visit did not go unnoticed. It’s hard not to notice the guy wearing a pope outfit, right?
Imagine the surprise of fellow shoppers when Pope Francis shows up at a pharmacy close to the Holy See, the jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, to buy shoes.
If you’re wondering why the pope, who turned 80 on December 17, bought shoes at a pharmacy, it’s because the shoes he bought are orthopedic and help reduce the pain caused by his chronic sciatica.
The Argentine-born pontiff graciously posed for snaps that were then shared on social media.
Pope Francis unexpectedly left the Vatican, this time to get new orthopedic shoes. Last time it had been to get new prescription glasses. pic.twitter.com/pcJEsdTekU
Forget Halloween. Each year more and more brands are tapping into the Mexican celebration of the dead, Día de Los Muertos, to target Latinos with their calavera-inspired designs. The Mexican holiday surrounds death, but it’s a time to celebrate life with loved ones, and each year it’s gaining more and more traction in the U.S.
Celebrated in the U.S. from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, the holiday tradition calls for the creation of altars to deceased loved ones, decorated with photos, meaningful objects, and their favorite foods said to attract their souls. Petals of bright yellow-orange cempasúchil flowers are used to guide them from the cemetery, according to tradition. This year Nike took up the opportunity to celebrate, with a brand new collection dropping later this month, inspired by “traditional Mexican skeleton graphics.” This isn’t the first time the brand celebrates the Mexican holiday though, a few years back the Swoosh brand released another pair of Cortez’s to pay tribute to the dead on Día de Muertos.
This latest ‘Día de Muertos’ collection is scheduled to release on Nike.com and at select Nike retailers on Oct. 30.
credit Twitter @Solecollector
This latest assortment will include the Air Force 1 Low, the Cortez, and the Air Max 95 which are all getting dressed up for the occasion. Each pair will reference the holiday ever-so-slightly with traditional Mexican skeleton graphics featured throughout the design on the upper parts of the shoe as well as on the insoles.
The Cortez turns black and orange for Day of The Dead
Credit Twitter @sneaker_arian
The Cortez, is a Nike style Mexican-Americans love to wear, and the sports company picked the iconic design to be part of the Day of the Dead collection. It’s not the first time the Swoosh gets the Mexican-inspired treatment though. As we mentioned earlier, back in 2015 a ‘Day of The Dead’ Nike Cortez was released in honor of the holiday, and the design was a lot more thematic than this year’s minimalist iteration.
Featuring a ‘papel picado’-inspired design on the inside, the stitching of the iconic Swoosh on the upper side of the shoe as well as on the soles, turns bright orange, reminiscent of cempasúchil and candle-lit ofrendas. The shoe is dressed in a nylon and suede floral print and has distinct embroidery on the heel.
The Day of The Dead Air Force 1s Glow in The Dark With Papel Picado-Inspired designs.
credit Twitter @unrtd
The iconic performance shoes were re-imagined to celebrate the Mexican holiday in the most subtle way. The classic silhouette has an all-white upper body, contrasted by piping in yellow, green, blue, pink and black, and also sports a black heel tab and stitching across the midsole. The best part though is that once the shoe’s in the dark, it reveals a glow-in-the-dark skull papel picado-inspired pattern that is fully reflective throughout the entire upper. It’s to die for!
The Nike Air Max 95 was reimagined for the occasion in muted colors and subtle touches of huichol-style graphics.
credit Twitter @RyoRyo719
Joining the AF1s and the Cortez, the Nike Air Max 95 will also be a part of the 2019 Day of The Dead Collection. The festive colorway of the Air Max 95 takes on a white mesh upper with the signature layered side panels taking on a textured/crackled leather appearance. The leather side panels are emblazoned with muted ‘Huichol’ or papel picado-inspired graphics to go along with the Mexican theme. The limited-edition shoe also features black leather mudguards, black Swoosh branding, speckled laces, and a black midsole that adds to the look, along with teal detailing on the skull graphic insoles, papel picado-style tongue branding, and translucent outsole.
There are 57 million Hispanics in the U.S. only, and they represent 18% of the country’s spending power— no wonder brands like Nike want to tap into Latino traditions.
credit Twitter @thesolesupplier
Over the past few years, companies and retailers have made it easier to get into the spirit of the holiday, offering themed apparel, home decor and containers in which to tote goodies. With 57 million Hispanics in the U.S. alone, this demographic represents almost 18 percent of the country’s population and significant spending power, according to Nielsen. In fact, the data analytics company expects its buying power to grow from $1.4 trillion in 2016 to $1.8 trillion by 2021. And that dollar strength isn’t lost on retailers.
‘Dia De Los Muertos’ celebrations run from November 1st through November 2, and the Nike Air Force 1 will drop at retailers like Sneakersnstuff and nike.com on October 15. Priced at $100 USD, the festive sneakers are the ultimate day-to-day shoe to add to your rotation. The rest of this latest Nike Día de Muertos collection is scheduled to release on Nike.com and at select Nike retailers on Oct. 30.
Influencer Ray Polanco Jr. and Converse have collaborated again for Latinx Heritage Month as a part of the “Converse by LatinX” collection. Polanco Jr. recruited artist Eric Narváez to hand draw and create a Chuck Taylor that featured coloring book style art of Dominican iconography.
The collection also features work from tattoo artist Don Rimx, and Mexican and Colombian artist Paloma Montoya. Each of Polanco Jr.’s shoes will have a unique pattern of the cultural iconography — that means every pair is one of a kind.
Ray Polanco Jr. Uses Dominican Upbringing As Inspiration
“Inspired by Ray Polanco Jr.’s experience growing up Dominican in New York City, the hand-drawn images encourage wearers to bring the design to life with color transforming the Chuck Taylor into a cultural coloring book for your feet. Make the “Puro Platano” story your own. Shout to Uptown,” the Converse description reads.
“What a feeling… meet my new @converse the “puro plátano 2” — a cultural coloring book for your feet inspired by my experience growing up Dominican in NYC. I want the world to get to know us beyond flag colors, so I designed a visual story of pride. I left the hand-drawn images blank so YOU can collab with me. the reality is us LatinX come in all colors, so I want u to make these ur own,” Polanco Jr. wrote on Instagram.
This isn’t the first time Polanco Jr. has brought Dominican pride to Chuck Taylors
Polanco Jr. collaborated with Converse on the Puro Plátano last year. It was a simple plátano green shoe with the words “puro platano” on the side in gold letters.
“As a storyteller, I believe sneakers are the perfect canvas to communicate a message because we all wear some kind of footwear. Last year, I wanted to get the world to know more about Dominicans beyond just the colors of our flag and I thought food was the best way to do that, which led to transforming the Chuck Taylor into a Platano. This year, I wanted to connect on a deeper level with the ‘Puro Platano’ story by collaging distinct images from my experience growing up Dominican in New York City,” Polanco Jr. told Footwear News.
This year he really amped up the Dominican iconography. There’s rolos, plátanos, bachata dancers, andbottles of rum among other familiar images to anyone who grew up in The Bronx.
“A lot of the shoe is inspired by family: my dad playing dominoes at the bodega with his friends, my mom wearing rolos in her hair after the beauty salon, and things like that.” he said. “Shout out to my sister who would cop Chucks in every color on Fordham Road in the Bronx back in the day. Beyond my story, I feel like anyone who grew up in NYC will connect with at least one thing on the shoe and hopefully, other people in different cities can relate, too.”
Polanco Jr. is not the only artist included in Converse’s LatinX collection.
Mexican and Colombian artist Paloma Montoya’s artwork was inspired by Colombian culture, like its cafes, people, and vallenato musicians and singers.
“I was born from my father, a Mexican and my mother from #medellincolombia, but I was raised by my mother and maternal grandparents. All #antioqueños. I grew up on arepas, tamales and empanadas #colombianos , sancocho and natilla. I listened to Carlos Vives and know the lyrics (in Spanish) to Jaime R. Echavarría’s Serenata de Amor – Thanks Mamita,” Paloma wrote in her Instagram caption.
“My grandparents bought the house in South Gate. I’ve been here all my life, I didn’t embrace my Mexican side from my father, I embraced it here with my friends who are Mexican and Mexican-American. Mexico and South Gate run through my blood, but I have generations and generations of Colombian blood in me. Maybe that’s why I think about going back often? Maybe that’s why when I went and met my relatives high up in the mountains of #antioquia – it felt like home. This pair is for you Mom, Mamita and Papito.”
Puerto Rican muralist and tattoo artist, Don Rimx also got a chance to make his own custom sneaker. The unique pattern mimics rosary beads and colorful feathers.
“Muy honrado de poder colaborar con @converse en este proyecto para diseñar un patron para el Chuck Taylor dandole un giro personalizado con el estilo original de Don Rimx inspirado en su cultura y el camino por andar,” Rimx wrote on Instagram.
The Converse by LatinX collection is available now. Shout out to Converse for hiring these independent Latinx artists as well!
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