Friday July 20th, 2012

Nike released a limited edition Roger Federer shoe to commemorate his record of 287 weeks atop the rankings. (Image via Nike)

In celebration of Roger Federer's 287th week at No. 1, Nike released a limited edition pair of sneakers to commemorate the occasion. The Nike Zoom Vapor RF 287 was manufactured in limited quantities (287 pairs, to be exact), packaged in a fancy box with a certificate of authenticity signed by Federer, and sold for ... wait for it ... $287.

Not surprisingly, the inventory went fast. Offered for sale online only, the shoe sold out in 25 minutes and fans were not happy (just take a look at the comments on Nike Tennis' Facebook page). Luckily for fans, you can still get the Zoom Vapor RF 287s online. On eBay. For up to $4,000 a pop.

That's right, the in-demand shoe is being offered for upwards of $4,000 on the auction site, with pairs having already been purchased for $2,870 (I'm not the only one who feels bad for the guy who sold them for $600, am I?). And that's today's lesson on supply-and-demand economics, everyone.

Apart from the fact that the sneaker sounds like a chemical weapon (Zoom Vapors? Run!), Nike's somewhat over-the-top celebration of the feat -- "Celebrate Legendary" doesn't make sense as a phrase -- probably didn't sit very well if you're a Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal fan. "No. 1 never left Roger. And it never will."  Huh? Yes, it did. In 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Isn't that why his return to the top ranking is so remarkable? And it will. He's ahead of Djokovic by only 75 points.

Also, should Nike really belittle the accomplishments of players in its own stable, i.e., Nadal? Or maybe it thought he was too distracted by his fancy #HIS7ORY T-shirt to complain? It's probably right. All in all, say what you will about Nike, but it sure does know how to market the heck out of a product. I mean, $4,000 for a pair of black sneakers? That's impressive.

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