If you are looking for collectible trainers, it is pretty likely that something strongly associated with a sports star will be close to the top of the list. This has long been true of Nike, most notable through its deals with basketball superstar Michael Jordan.
However, with Jordan now in retirement, it is more contemporary sporting superstars that are taking centre stage, with a new Nike collection being launched by England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford.
The collection, Rashford’s first, are part of the ‘Better Believe It’ collection and contain the player’s own signature colours, mainly white with elements of orange, pink and yellow. The ’MR’ initials is on the collar and the signature phrase: “When you believe in yourself, incredible things can happen” is written on the heel.
As well as the shoe, Rashford is to get his own Nike Air Max Pulse, coloured in light blue and white with shades of grey - although some might raise some eyebrows at the presence of colours more associated with rivals Manchester City than United’s red.
Perhaps it is little surprise that Marcus Rashford should be the subject of such a campaign, given he is seen as a superstar both on and off the field.
A member of an increasingly potent England team, he had a stellar season at club level last term, netting a career-best 30 goals in all competitions, including in the League Cup final, helping Manchester United to their first trophy in six years.
Some might be a little less complementary about the timing now, given the player is having a dip in form in the current season with just one goal so far for his club, matching the struggles of his team.
However, the saying ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’ may apply here and it should be just a matter of time before Rashford is finding the back of the net on a regular basis again.
What sets the young Mancunian apart from other players, however, is his high off-field profile. In the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, he was a persistent campaigner for free school meals and also helped run a campaign to encourage more reading in schools, starting his own book club in connection with the National Literary Trust.
Recognition came in the form of an MBE and also a mural in the Withington area of Manchester, making Marcus Rashford a national treasure way beyond the world of sport. Even within the highly partisan world of football, he is admired well beyond the confines of Manchester United’s support at Old Trafford.
That he should now be recognised and enjoyed through the shoes on people’s feet is only logical. This is a man whose classic rages-to-riches tale of a working class lad who has become a star at the giant football club he grew up supporting, a classic case of showing just how who believe in themselves can indeed make incredible things happen.
As his career unfolds, there may be many more Nike collectibles to come associated with the inspirational Marcus Rashford.