A Former NFL Star Is Making Training Sneakers Focused on Fashion and Function

Shawne Merriman spent eight NFL seasons with the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills terrorizing quarterbacks and celebrating with his “Lights Out” sack dance. But now the former football star is focused on competing in the sneaker industry.

The linebacker started his Lights Out athletic apparel brand in 2007 during his Chargers days and will deliver the label’s first sneakers as early as July. The line will consist of training models that Merriman said will help boost the performance of the wearer in the gym.

Its entry into footwear will consist 0f four styles, led by The Taker and The Streak, which are executed with knit uppers and the brand’s proprietary Lights Out Energy foam technology. (Merriman explained the tech is designed to reduce the impact your knees and joints feel during training.)

The Streak Lights Out
A colorway of The Streak by Lights Out.
CREDIT: Hans Molenkamp

But performance alone isn’t what the brand’s leader believes will have people buying Lights Out shoes.

“I don’t care what you’re doing nowadays — you want to look fashionable,” Merriman told FN. “The industry is not making that. What the industry lacks is a strong training shoe that’s fashionable.”

In the coming weeks, Merriman will announce the distributor of the functional and fashionable Lights Out sneakers, as well as the retailers that will carry his brand’s footwear.

The Taker Lights Out
A red iteration of The Taker by Lights Out.
CREDIT: Hans Molenkamp

Although this is Lights Out’s first run in shoes, Merriman said he was approached with the opportunity to get in the sneaker marketplace during his playing days but opted to learn about the business before jumping in.

“I was a client of Nike, and I learned a lot. It takes a long time to learn the industry,” Merriman said. “I’ve put a team together for this who have been in the industry for 25-plus years with bigger brands. And now I’m ready to create something that’s been lacking for some time.”

The Streak Lights Out
A black and white colorway of The Streak style from Lights Out.
CREDIT: Hans Molenkamp

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