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Shoe Dog- Book Review

Sneaker culture is traveling at 88 mph and is in a state of flux.

While sneaker releases, technology, and awareness through social media is at an all time high, the written word is arguably at an all time low.

Aside from print based cultural icon Sneaker Freaker, regular resources for culturally relevant sneaker literature are Fat Boy Slim to none.

And right about now, if you imagine asking Kanye to comment on the current state of written sneaker culture, what do you think he might say?

Perhaps, something along the lines of, “I ask because I’m that sure, does anyone write real sh*t anymore?”

Well, apparently people still do write real shiitake.

Recently, I stumbled across Phil Knight’s memoir Shoe Dog.  The following is a review of Shoe Dog broken down into two parts.

1) Brief synopsis

2) Provocations I would propose to Phil Knight (AKA things that might make Phil Knight go hmmm)

Brief synopsis 

Written as a memoir, Shoe Dog details the little known public life of Nike’s founding father, Phil Knight.

With a particular emphasis on Phil Knight’s early formative years, Shoe Dog chronicles his turbulent journey from Onitsuka sneaker salesman, to struggling entrepreneur, to philanthropic business mogul.

Phil Knight’s introspective retelling of his life journey is a medley of poignant, jovial, and melancholic emotions.

Provocations I would propose to Phil Knight (AKA things that might make Phil Knight go hmmm)

1) How do you think your early turbulent relationship with Onitsuka shaped your journey to search for lower labour cost factories around the world? How has low cost labour production, directly related to Nike, positively or negatively impacted social conditions around the world?

2) Even as an early multi-million dollar company, Nike had a very unstable, almost unsustainable business model, investing almost all of its profit back into product.  Knowing what you know now, would you change this business strategy?

3) It is amazing to see your billion dollar philanthropic donation. Which part of the world do you see being the most needy for financial aid?

As we continue to navigate the unknown waters of future sneaker culture at 88 mph, it is refreshing to know that introspective and engaging literature still exists; no flux capacitor required.

Perhaps books like Shoe Dog can potentially inspire a new generation of sneaker enthusiasts to reflect within and meaningfully share the written word.

Stay Solefullylaced,

Kev Zool


Published in Keville


  1. JL JL

    I’ve been wanting to read this one! Let’s chat.

    • kev zool kev zool

      Indeed, let’s chat.

  2. ralph zool ralph zool

    not too sure about what the world thinks, but in my opinion…
    for 20-30 years (?), there has been pure profit from relatively cheap labor.
    only recently, has there been any sort of uproar among those who drink ethical coffee.
    i don’t think anyone can say what is right or wrong with 100% accuracy.
    this can be looked at from many different angles.
    but one thing is for sure, i feel fortunate wearing them instead of making them.

    • kev zool kev zool

      Reading Shoe Dog has made me realize ethical morality in the sneaker world is as clear as mud.

      There are no defined winners or losers, only variations of perceived truth.

      Sneakers have a particularly bad reputation, but how are they really different than electronics, agriculture, or any other form of labour?

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