Tonight is the night: the Presidential Debate is finally here. Occasions like this get us feeling especially patriotic here at Sneaker Report, even if we are usually focused more on fitness gear than fiscal policy. Meditating on the beauty of the democratic process, bald eagles, Old Glory and all the rest got us thinking ... what sneakers would our Presidents have worn?
Only a few Presidents have actually worn sneakers, but we feel like if they were alive today, most of them would have dope kicks befitting a real Decider-in-Chief. That’s right. It’s the list that all of you poli. sci. buffs / fitness enthusiasts have been waiting for, where we match the presidents past to their perfect performance sneaker. Take a look to see if you agree with our suggestions.
No. 20 - Barack Obama x Asic Gel-1110
Our current president is the first sneaker fan Commander-in-Chief. When he is working out, whether taking a jog or courtside for some hoops, Barry prefers Asics. He was spotted wearing these Gel-1110 running shoes while throwing out the first pitch at a White Sox game.
No. 19 - Thomas Jefferson x Nike Zoom Huarache II Lacrosse Cleat - UVA
We aren’t saying that Jefferson would have been a LAX Bro, but he was the founder of Lacrosse powerhouse University of Virginia. And, as he was our 3rd president, he certainly had ample interactions with Native Americans, the people who invented the game. And besides, if he wasn’t a LAX Bro, he definitely was a Monticell-bro (alright, we’ll resist puns from her on out).
No. 18 - John F Kennedy x Tretorn Nylite Canvas
The Late John F. Kennedy was far more partial to tennis boating than he was to aerobic fitness. You would probably be more likely to catch him rocking Tretorns and Sperry Boat Shoes than sneakers. If he had worn sneakers, we know he would have worn something classy and understated. Let's face it, if you bagged babes as fine as Jackie O and Marilyn, you would have no need to show off.
No. 17 - Rutherford B. Hayes x Nike Zoom KD IV ‘Easter’, Size 7
Hayes had the smallest feet in Presidential History, so it’s no big surprise that he wasn’t exactly a sporty dude. It didn’t help that his parents refused to let him go outside until he was five or play sports until he was nine. We chose Kevin Durant’s Nike Zooms because they were released as part of Nike’s 2012 “Easter Pack”. You see Hayes and his wife started the White House Easter Egg Roll. Weak? Perhaps, but the only other thing he did that people remember him for was breaking the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. We feel like a sneaker commemorating that would just be depressing.
No. 16 - William McKinley x Asics Gel Excel 33
McKinley was one of four presidents to be assassinated in office. Unlike most of the other presidents felled by gunmen, that is pretty much all he was known for. That will teach him to visit the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. McKinley exercised very little in his life. He was so out of shape that doctors said he would have had a much better chance of surviving his gunshot wounds had he exercised even a little. McKinley held the record for most hand shaken by a president at 2,500 an hour … impressive, but not a great workout. That is why we recommend the Asics Gel Excel 33 for McKinley. Selected as the “Best Beginner’s Running Shoe” by Men’s Health, perhaps this sneaker would have provided the motivation McKinley needed to hit the gym and cheat death.
No. 15 - Lyndon Johnson x Custom Nike Free 3.0 V4 Hybrid
Lyndon Johnson’s quirks weren’t limited to taking high-powered meetings on the toilet. He had some strange physical quirks as well. Presidential shoemakers Johnston and Murphy tell us that Johnson’s feet were two different sizes (11 & 11.5). Since he is going to have to custom order his kicks anyway, we went ahead and designed some one-off shoes for Lyndon with Nike.com’s NikeID tool. Notice we put “POTUS” on the tongue top, so Johnson can show the world who’s boss.
No. 14 - George H. W. Bush x Saucony Grid Flex
George looks like a total hipster here, though I guess if he were a hipster, he would be wearing the GOP shirt ironically. Like any good hipster, he is rocking old school Sauconys. We recommend Georgie upgrade to the Grid Flex model, as it will be better for his jogs with the Secret Service. He can even keep the grey and teal color scheme.
No. 13 - George W. Bush x Nike Flynit Racer
Dubya is worse than his father at a lot of things, but running isn’t one of them. Though he is better known for having shoes thrown at him than jogging in them, Junior is an avid runner and sometime marathoner. Unlike the liberals who came before and after him, the second Bush doesn’t have a brand of choice. We peeped pictures of him in Adidas, Asics and New Balance. He might just settle on a shoe if he tries the Nike Flynit Racer when he prepares for his next marathon. Olympic Marathoners in London wore these hi-tech shoes last summer.
No. 12 - William Howard Taft x Asics Gel Evolution 5
William Howard Taft was a big boy. He famously got stuck in the White House bath tub. After one term, he left the White House, only to end up on the Supreme Court a decade later. He preferred the flowing black robes to not-so-slimming suits. Taft might have shed some pounds in the Asics Gel Evolution 5, considered an ideal sneaker for the overweight, as they have received the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association.
No. 11 - Richard Nixon x Nike Hyper Dunk Olympic China Edition
Whether it was blending in with Commies during his attempts to weed our Red traitors or to help his stance during his later foray into ping-pong diplomacy, we feel like Nixon could have used these kicks, designed for the Chinese Basketball Team to wear at the London Games.
No. 10 - Gerald Ford x Mizuno Wave Alchemy 9
Gerald Ford had a plaguing knee injury that had a strange side effect. It made him fall down. His tumble from Air Force One on a 1975 trip to Austria remains an iconic picture. If only Gerald had Mizuno Wave Alchemy 9s, he made have had a legacy outside of pratfalls. These Mizunos are designed to protect against over-pronation. Recent evidence suggests that jogging can actually help bad knees. Though it is too late for Ford, maybe you can avoid embarrassing yourself in front of any cute foreign diplomats.
No. 9 - James Buchanan x Nike BE TRUE Lunar Flow
James Buchanan was likely America’s only Gay President. If Buchanan were around today, hopefully, he would be able to celebrate that fact rather than hide it by having his niece act as a proxy First Lady. If Buchanan was able to show a little pride, he might have enjoyed the Nike BE TRUE pack, recently released in support of the LGBT community. We think these BE TRUE Lunar Flows might have suited him just fine while starring in his own “It Get’s Better” video.
No. 8 - William Henry Harrison x New Balance 1110
This trail training shoe is lined with GORE-TEX, making it waterproof. Harrison died of pneumonia after a record-length inaugural speech. We wonder if he could have lasted more than a month as president if he had these babies to keep his feet dry.
No. 7 - Bill Clinton x New Balance Abzorbs
Though Clinton and Obama have many similarities in terms of policy and charisma, they differ when it comes to performance kicks. When Bill set out to shed the excess bar-b-que weight in his pre-vegan days, he wore New Balance Abzorbs. This particular pair are currently available for auction, if you want to walk a mile in the man’s shoes. Hopefully you’ll pick up his skills in diplomacy and not his skills at monogamy.
No. 6 - Dwight D. Eisenhower x Bodega Reebok Pump 20th Anniversary Sneakers
It is only fitting that an exclusive sneaker be reserved for the President with the highest military rank. Not only was Eisenhower a general, but during World War II, he was the most powerful military figure in the world, as Commander of the Allies. The five-star general would appreciate this exclusive Bodega-Reebok collaboration that was limited to just thirty-one pairs.
No. 5 - Andrew Jackson x Hiroshi x Nike Dunk Hi
Andrew Jackson certainly earned the nickname Old Hickory. Though it was given to him due to his toughness on the battlefield, he carried the attitude into outside of war as well. He killed a man in a duel for insulting his wife. The man wounded Jackson on his way out, and the bullet was be lodged inside of him, near his heart, for the rest of Jackson’s days. We felt that this wooden sneaker from Japanese artist Haroshi was quite appropriate. We wouldn’t exactly recommend wearing this, but Jackson wouldn’t have to worry about that, since he was always on horseback anyway.
No. 4 - Teddy Roosevelt x Cabela’s GORE-TEX Silent Stalk Sneakers
Teddy Roosevelt was a nature-lover, outdoorsman, and avid hunter. This shoe uses the soles of sneakers and the body of a boot to allow sportsmen a sturdy shoe that still allows for the element of surprise. Apparently, TR was also an avid skinny dipper, though we don’t have any sneaker recommendations for that.
No. 3 - Abe Lincoln x Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2K4
We had to choose one of Kobe Bryant’s shoes for Honest Abe since these two actually are both size 14. They have other things in common when you think about it, as they are each in the conversation as the greatest of all time in their career. One key difference is that while Abe was known to be a nice guy, he got shot, and Kobe is known to be kind of a dick, yet no one has made any serious attempts on his life. The only way Abe would want his kicks is in Union Blue, as the only thing on his mind was preserving that Union, even on his death bed.
No. 2 - Jimmy Carter x adidas Achills
Jimmy was our first jogging President. It’s hard to believe, as almost every old dude on our block goes for a light run every morning. A few years before Carter, the male workout consisted of mowing the lawn and sipping whiskey in a La-Z-Boy. The adidas Achills, the brand's first running shoe, look to have been Carter’s shoe of choice.
No. 1 - Barack Obama x US New Balance 990s
We have to go back to Barack one more time, as the sitting President is the first to get his own custom sneaker. U.S. Representative Michael Michaud of Maine gifted him these kicks in hopes of bringing some military contracts back to the U.S. of A. Obama was also gifted a pair of Air Jordan Spizikes by well-documented sneaker enthusiast / Obama supporter / filmmaker Spike Lee. We can only hope that one day we will see a sneaker closet in the Oval Office. Then we will know we’ve arrived.