Foot Locker is raising awareness for the autism community with the launch of two new adaptive sneakers.
The retailer has partnered up with sporting giant Puma and Italian footwear brand Diadora to bring the sneakers to life in honor of Autism Acceptance Month.
For the Diadora shoe, designer Sarath Ton reimagined the brand’s N9002 sneaker, giving the kick a custom upgrade. The sneaker is equipped with a shock absorption feature and comes in a classic black and white motif. The shoe also features yellow laces and a multi-colored puzzle design at the heel.
The new and improved N9002 drops today at Footlocker.com with a $175 price tag. When designing the shoe, Ton had her brother-in-law Joshua in mind, who is an autistic adult. With the drop, Foot Locker and Diadora will be donating $10,000 from the proceeds to Autism Speaks.
As for Puma, Foot Locker and the German label joined forces with actor Ron Funches, who has long-been an advocate for the autism community. The sneakers feature lime green adaptive laces — a nod to Funches own son as the hue is his favorite color. The vibrant color is paired with crisp white uppers and noise-cancelling headphones on the back heel — another tribute to Funches son.
The Puma kicks will be available on April 28 and come with a $150 price tag at FootLocker.com. Foot Locker and Puma will donate $10,000 to the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism, which supports people and families affected by autism.
“I am excited and humbled to promote autism acceptance and to celebrate all the things my son has taught me,” Funches said of the collab in a statement.
Diadora echoed similar sentiments, sharing: “We were very happy to team up with Foot Locker and Sarath Ton on this capsule collection. We believe in sport as a way of life, and we know sport is about teamwork, which means we know when to step up for our teammates and when to step aside when it’s their time to shine.”
Foot Locker’s new adaptive sneakers comes as the adaptive space remains underserved. One in four adults in the United States have been diagnosed with a disability — which provides a huge opportunity for brands and retailers to step up, FN previously reported. According to Coresight Research, the global adaptive fashion market is estimated to hit nearly $350 billion in 2023. In the U.S. alone, it’s expected to approach $54.8 billion within the same timeframe.
In addition to Foot Locker, retailers and brands, including: Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Marks & Spencer, Kohl’s and Target have emerged as players in the adaptive space and have released products that cater to the differently abled.