The unprovoked shoe attacks against President Bush in Iraq may have shocked the world. But to forward-thinking weapons system designers at Northrup Grumann and shoe experts at Nike it was simply an expected occurrence and one they have been making plans to thwart for quite a while now.
Unwilling to be quoted on the record, an unnamed source inside Nike told this writer that development of a defensive shoe weapons system has been ongoing at least since the statue of Saddam was torn down and pictures of Iraqis throwing shoes at the prostrate edifice were broadcast on worldwide television. A Nike shoe designer, aghast at the prospect of shoes being used as weapons to show disgust and displeasure, started a small side company called “The Sole of the Matter” with the goal of consulting on the growing problem of shoe violence around the world. What he learned made him suspect the escalation of shoe violence was an assured thing and that there was a terrifying anti-shoe weapons gap with the United States on the short end of the matter.
Unknown to even those on the inside of cutting edge shoe technology, Nike, in the greatest of secrecy, was given the contract to work with Northrup Grumann and Rocketdyne to build a state of the art defensive anti-shoe weapons system.
Millions saw the result of this work when President Bush was attacked in Baghdad when shoes were thrown by an angry Iraqi reporter. The president, at the suggestion of the Secret Service, was wearing a prototype of the new shoes when he was attacked. So successfully was the attack thwarted that the Defense Department immediately ordered one million pairs of the anti-shoe shoes, with three quarters of those earmarked for soldiers in the field. A source at the Pentagon said that the Joint Services Bizarre Weapons Group (Jazzwep) are leery of ordering a highly secret weapons system in such bulk based on one successful real world test.
Jazzwep is worried that this technology might fall into the wrong hands and have suggested a biometric security system — Toe Print technology — be installed before issuing them to soldiers. A representative at Nike said that the cost of adding such a device would be prohibitive and besides, it would be impossible to place a Toe Print reader in the shoes without sacrificing the stunningly clean lines of this new line of Nike footwear.
The shoe, called the Nike Air Defense, comes in sneaker, wing tip, and combat boot styles and can reportedly stop a thrown shoe within 30 feet of the wearer 86% of the time. If fully deployed the Pentagon expects successful shoe attacks to drop dramatically, thereby lessening the occurrence of soldiers on the ground being humiliated. This should lead to a more effective and happier military and may cut down on cases of Post Traumatic Shoe Disorder.
Asked about marketing the shoes for the general public the Nike representative said no plans were in the works at this time, but there are rumors swirling that a massive ad campaign is being planned for when a civilian model of these shoes are released. Early audience response to previews of a possible ad campaign for Nike Air Defense Footwear have shown promise with slogans such as “Nike Air Defense, It’s Da Bomb” and “Just Shoe It” being considered.
Critics of the new system say this technology could be used nefariously if released to the general public and called for legislation making it illegal to possess this anti-shoe defense without a license and extensive training. There is talk in Congress of such anti-shoe defense codes that would include registration and strictures against excessive foot odor.
Asked what they were worried about, Congressmen said this technology could be used to thwart professional athletes such as basketball superstars by surreptitiously placing a player wearing the Nike Air Defense shoe around the basket area in hopes the laser would detect fast moving sneakers as threats and act accordingly. Each shoe is expected to cost $127,000 dollars and come in three colors. Nike was hoping to have the perfected civilian model available for the Christmas rush but production of the platinum-lined shoe laces lagged due to supply problems.
Defensive shoe technology has been on the rise in the past few years and the old trick of having a spring-loaded blade in the toe is old hat. Adidas was reportedly working on a shoe that shot mace, planning to market it to joggers in New York. But problems with the delivery system scrapped the model. In a related development, Converse was in set to add tasers to their line of jogging shoes but canceled the program after early morning tests showed taser enabled shoes and early morning dew on grass are completely incompatible.
The skater shoe company Vans even tried to add airbags to their shoes three years ago. The air bag system, designed to keep children from hurting themselves while skateboarding was a disaster. The shoe was supposed to be activated by sudden deceleration, but the technology could not be perfected and Vans hastily canceled the program after being forced to pay a huge settlement to the family of one of their shoe test participants when he was launched into a wall at high speed after stepping down too hard from a curb.
On other shoe fronts Apple is expected to come out with an iShoe any day now. It will feature GPS technology and the ability to hold 25,000 songs.
Michael Jordan was unavailable for comment.