Nike puts its foot in it with 'Black and Tan' sneaker


WITH ST Patrick’s Day around the corner, the giant footwear company Nike is releasing two beer-themed sneakers or runners to mark the date.

The first runner is known as “The Guinness” and the second is known as “The Black and Tan”.

The company is presumably unaware of the historical connotations of the use of the term “Black and Tan” in this country.

It is not clear if Nike is officially calling these two new sneakers “Guinness” and “Black and Tan” (no one from Nike was available to comment at short notice last night) but they are certainly being advertised with the Guinness and Black and Tan names at online shops and will go on sale this weekend to buyers.

At the Premier online shop ( they say about the “Nike SB Black and Tan Quickstrike” sneaker: “Tis the season for Irish beer and why not celebrate with Nike. “The Black and Tan sneaker takes inspiration for the fine balancing act of a Stout (Guinness) on top a Pale Ale (Harp) in a pint glass.”

One fashion blog is drawing attention to the Nike SB “Guinness” by writing: “The ‘Guinness’ takes cues from the tasty Irish Stout with a black leather upper alongside Light British Tan accents on the textured Swoosh”.

Both the “Guinness” and the “Black and Tan” are expected to retail at about $90.

There was a controversy over the use of the term “Black and Tan” as a flavour of ice-cream six years ago. The US ice-cream makers Ben & Jerry later apologised after bringing out a “Black and Tan” flavour ice-cream, even though the ice-cream was available only in the US market.

“Any reference on our part to the British army unit was absolutely unintentional and no ill-will was ever intended. Ben Jerry’s was built on the philosophies of peace and love,” said a spokesman for the company at the time of the controversy.

A blogger on a food site had upbraided the company for their use of the term “Black and Tan” writing. “I can’t believe that Ben & Jerry’s would be so insensitive to call an ice-cream such a name and to launch it as a celebration of Irishnsss . . .

“I hope they don’t try to launch it here in Ireland or I’ll imagine they’ll lose a lot of their fans.”