After this shoe launched, I wondered how it would fare.
Murketing blog spells it out pretty well. Is it Air Jordan
backlash? Or just more parents refusing to plunk down
an electric bill for sneakers? Read on. --K

murketing » Blog Archive » Starbury scoring?: "Starbury scoring?

Both Business Week and Brand Channel have done pieces recently on the success of the Starbury One sneaker — which sells for the startlingly low price of about $15. I will admit that when I heard about this sneaker, I was pretty skeptical. But Business Week says “3 million pairs have sold since its August debut.” (Although somewhat oddly, the source on that is Stephon Marbury.) Business Week continues:

The Starbury and its ilk have the potential to undermine Nike’s basketball sneaker business. According to researcher NPD Group Inc., the low-cost shoe market — sneakers under $50 — has grown nearly 9% over the past two years and now makes up more than half of the $16.5 billion of branded athletic footwear sold each year in the U.S. Nike sells its own cheap sneakers, but doesn’t have much traction against such low-cost entrants as the $35 Amp runner, a creation from Payless ShoeSource. “If I were a branded athletic company right now, I’d be reconsidering my whole approach,” says Jeffrey Bliss, president of Javelin Group, a sports marketing firm.

I don’t know about any of this threatening Nike’s business model. I think they’re doing pretty well these days.

BrandChannel adds this:

Though the brand was promoted in influential basketball lifestyle publications, a major ad budget wouldn’t keep those shoes priced below $15 for very long. So over the summer Marbury embarked on a series of launch appearances dubbed the Starbury Movement Tour to introduce the brand at Steve and Barry’s stores throughout the US. (Marbury was paid no money up front, unlike his previous endorsement deal with sneaker brand AND1, but receives royalties on sales.)

Also, Marbury apparently wears the shoes during games: “And even as his on-court performance occasionally (all right, more often than occasionally) incites 20,000 fans at Madison Square Garden to boo (or worse), Marbury burnishes his good-guy image with a brand that is accessible to nearly anyone.”

I definitely agree with that last point, and I basically thought that was all this brand was going to achieve — making Marbury look good. But I guess it’s actually resonating with some group of consumers. Is it parents buying these shoes for their kids? Is it adults who just want some no-nonsense sneakers and don’t care about whether they’re “cool” or not? Or are kids really into them? I would think that there’d be some risk of schoolyard stigma associated with wearing a brand basically known for being super cheap. But maybe I’m wrong about that.