Reeling from $450 million penalty, Trump hawks $400 ‘golden’ high-top sneakers

February 20, 2024

Former President Donald Trump—reeling from a ruling in a New York civil fraud case on Friday, February 16, that ordered him to pay a $450 million penaltyappeared at a footwear convention in Philadelphia the next day to promote Trump-branded sneakers, retailing for just under $400, reports The New York Times.

The former president took to the stage at Sneaker Con in Philadelphia—facing a less-friendly audience than is typical for his political rallies—brandishing golden shoes called the Never Surrender High-Top, which follow in the footsteps of Trump-branded products like Trump Water, Trump Vodka, and Trump Steaks.

“Wow, a lot of emotion, there’s a lot of emotion in this room,” Trump said after boos and cheers drowned out his voice as he began speaking. He added, “We’re going to remember the young people; we’re going to remember Sneaker Con.”

The appearance, just hours before a scheduled campaign rally in Michigan, is the latest effort by Trump to capitalize on his brand as he faces staggering penalties in civil court cases and 91 felony counts across four criminal indictments. In just the past year, Trump has promoted trading cards, his mug shot, scraps of his clothes, and firearms bearing his name and likeness.

The website selling the shoes says they are not “designed, manufactured, distributed. or sold by Donald J. Trump”—adding that “ is not political and has nothing to do with any political campaign.” But the company is using Trump’s brand through a licensing agreement, under which he would most likely get a cut of the revenue. Trump, his campaign, and surrogates all have promoted the shoes, either at the convention or online.

The sneakers, described on the website where they are sold as “Bold, gold, and tough, just like President Trump,” are coated almost entirely in gold—even the shoelaces—and have a “T” badge for Trump and an American flag wrapped around the collar. The site also features two other cheaper sneaker styles in red or white for just under $200, as well as “Victory47” cologne and perfume sold for just under $100.

Derek Guy, a menswear writer who has written extensively about the style of politicians, called the promotion “embarrassing.”

“Imagine Macron doing a limited drop and Rishi Sunak holding pop-up events,” he wrote on social media, referring to the French president and the British prime minister doing similar promotions.

Research contact: @nytimes