Thanks to Nike, There Are Now Some Very Colorful Grateful Dead Sneakers on the Market

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Rock Cellar Magazine

The Grateful Dead is a marketing empire, and has been for decades.

The legendary jam band’s presence is ubiquitous, whether in its abundance of archival streaming events released to YouTube to the activity of its remaining members on the touring circuit (when the pandemic isn’t around, at least).

Among its latest ventures is an opportunity for dedicated Deadheads to wear new Nike sneakers emblazoned with the band’s iconic “dancing bears,” in a new series of footwear announced by the gigantic shoe company this week.

Just look at these colors, which the Grateful Dead Instagram page shared along with information about a raffle:

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#repost @ftcsanfrancisco – Keep On Dunkin'. 50 years ago the Grateful Dead @gratefuldead released the album, "American Beauty," and cemented their legacy as one of the greatest psychedelic rock bands of all time. To celebrate the Long Strange Trip, SB is putting out a fuzzed-up Dunk Low in three neon colors with our Deadhead friends. With shaggy fur panels on the upper, custom-designed GFD Bear logo and a secret zip stash pocket inside the tongue itself, the GFD Dunk is full of surprises if you know where to look. @nikesb and the Deadheads. We are everywhere 👀 Paying tribute to the Dead’s history in San Francisco’s infamous Haight-Ashbury, FTC is proud to announce that we will be releasing the exclusive special edition GFD Orange Bear Dunk Low 🧡. Due to high demand we will conduct a 24hr online email raffle for ORANGE ONLY dropping Saturday July 18th. Raffle info will be released Wednesday July 15th 🧡 and raffle info for the Yellow and Green Dunks — TBA 💛💚 #nikesb #gratefuldead #weareeverywhere

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More details on the sneakers, per Nike’s announcement:

The community-rich bond among Dead Heads is even more inviting thanks to the band’s fun, furry ambassadors. While the bears may not have influenced the music itself, the man behind the bears — an enigmatic audio engineer nicknamed Bear, who helped develop the group’s Wall of Sound system as well as the cartoon symbol — certainly did, and his work brought a resounding impact to the Grateful Dead’s legacy, much like Nike SB founder Sandy Bodecker’s impact on the Dunk and skate culture.

“As the band’s benefactor, Bear was an incredibly huge part of the Grateful Dead’s ability to become who they were,” says David Lemieux, the band’s archivist and legacy manager. “They were talented musicians, but they would not have had the financial freedom to forgo jobs, move to Los Angeles and practice for 14 hours a day. The band wouldn’t become what it is today without Bear’s innovations and contributions. The same fiercely independent spirit from Bodecker helped create that authenticity within the skate community.”

The orange colorway [Not pictured] of the Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead releases July 18 at FTC. The yellow colorway releases July 24 on SNKRS and at select skate shops, while the green colorway releases on the same day at select skate shops.


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