Nike has taken a concrete step by launching a new brand aimed squarely at a market segment not previously served by its core lines of athlete-focused footwear and apparel. Produced by the wholly owned Nike subsidiary, Exeter Brand Group, Tailwind, as the new brand is called, is a fashion-conscious line of footwear, officially launching in three Payless stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn on Tuesday.
The launch came with all the hoopla and sports-star endorsements you would expect from Nike. Soccer great Brandi Chastain was involved in Tailwind product development and design, and she, along with teammate Hope Solo and volleyball player Logan Tom, are the front-and-center faces of the brand.
The line aims at what Exeter President and CEO Clare Hamill describes as the “premium value” space. In other words, cheap shoes, in this case for women. For now, there are six styles, ranging in price from $19.99 to $34.99. Constructed from various materials, including mesh, leather, and synthetic suede, the shoes feature cheerfully bright colors and are certainly sporty looking. Each design features a Nike-developed technology called “G Zone,” a honeycomb gel that sits in the heel of the shoe, intended to soften the impact of life on the wearer’s foot.