November 17, 2009

For the people, by... Adidas? The €1 shoe.


Having already pioneered the simplified 7-piece sneaker for their edgy eco-spin-off, SLVR, Adidas would seem like an excellent candidate to make the $100 computer of footwear: the €1 shoe. Toms Shoes are currently at the forefront of ethical footwear; but fresh off last year's scandal over underpaid workers at its Chinese factories, Adidas is looking to rehabilitate its image, and a charity shoe project could be just the thing.

Based in Bangladesh, the project would benefit that nation's poor by creating new jobs, as well as a product people just might be able to afford. Adidas would keep prices down by selling the shoe at cost, but no promises on the price just yet: €1 is "more of a concept," according to the company, and could change as the project develops. Following hot on the heels of the Tata Nano, the world's cheapest car, this shoe seems to be the latest in a string of products targeted at third-world consumers. Slightly more expensive than the free shoes being given away by Toms, it does give the world's poor one more option for protecting their feet.

At least, as long as they have the equivalent of $1.48 to spend: as of 2005, 880 million people were still living on less than $1 a day, and 80% of the world's population was living on less than $10 a day. On those budgets, free is still sounding pretty darn good.

 
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