Who Makes Your Shoes and Why You Should Care


Zach Piatt, sophomore, prefers Nike Airmax for comfort. Photo by Amelia Morgan


Ethan Black, junior, states that he’d “Nike 5.0 has more comfort than 3.0”. Photo by Amelia Morgan


Evan Graves, senior, chooses the comfort of Nike Free Runs. Photo by Amelia Morgan

Bradley Crager
Staff Writer 

Picture this: You’re standing in a darkened area with limited lighting. The lights flicker and you are amongst hundreds of thousands of hard working people.

You’re standing under a barely supported roof and on top of a floor surrounded with insects, mold and mildew.

You are inside a sweatshop, in a foreign country, of Nike Incorporated. Several men with a strange language force you into a seat to work for as low as 13 cents an hour while suffering verbal and physical abuse. The men also force you to sign a contract in a different language.

Soon after, you find yourself making designer Nike clothing and shoes until you can’t feel anymore and are abused when you slow your fast pace. Then, after a hard day’s work, you struggle to cram through the crowded quarters that are your living area. You would like to bathe after all of your hard work, working from nine to thirteen hours a day. Oh, but that’s not how they ‘JUST DO IT’ over at Nike.

You have no choice but to bathe with more than three hundred of the same sex with only one trough, or shower head. You then approach your crowded section for living and you sleep on the concrete floor with a very flimsy sheet to keep you warm at night.

These are most of the horrors one would have to go through while forced into a sweatshop from Nike and abused all day long for long hours and very low wages. Most Americans still have the nerve even after reading this article to protest for a higher wage. You will be replaced in a heartbeat by a lower paid individual. It is situations like these that go uncaring by the public eye.

More than half our students at Northrop, knowing and not knowing, take part in these horrors by purchasing Nike apparel and shoes. “I had no idea about that,” stated Shania Hutchinson, a sophomore at Northrop. She continued, “that is definitely a company worth avoiding.” While other students knowingly take part, like freshman Nick Crager, stating, “Workers have to eat too.”

Students that are aware of these horrors still take part in Nike’s long standing confrontation. The Global Exchange, to this day, is still striving interest in their 1998 campaign for Nike Anti-Sweatshops. Other organizations that support the cause include Fair Trade and No Sweat Apparel. Some students argue that buying more Nike apparel will get these workers in the shadows more to eat and support.

There are other options to still look good with a clean conscience. Buying shoes that are made in America are more likely to not use sweatshops. Caution should always be applied when buying shoes “made in America”, because the materials could have been exported from foreign sweatshops. By visiting The Global Exchange and Fair Trade websites, one could gain basic information on these sweatshops in the shadows of Nike Inc.


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