What do you do when the world's oldest basketball court is falling apart? Well, if you're Nike, you create a pair of shoes inspired by it—complete with a herringbone-style leather exterior. The Dunk Low Premium QS Paris footwear, unveiled in June, pays homage to the 125-year-old Parisian floor, and all of the proceeds from sales go toward the historic court's restoration. Only 400 pairs of the shoes were manufactured (200 with a gold herringbone pattern and 200 with an ale brown leather exterior) and were available to purchase through a now-closed raffle at snkrs.com; those lucky enough to snag a pair were set back $128. The sales will help preserve the aged basketball floor for the next century of pick-up games. "The goal of the restoration is indeed to allow games to be played again," says Christelle Bertho, project manager at the YMCA in Paris that houses the floor, built in 1893 and, as covered in a previous issue of WFB, christened as the first-ever basketball court in Europe (the sport had been invented in Massachusetts just two years earlier). The unique fundraising effort launched by Nike may have come just in time, as the floor has been acting its age. Aside from the wear that comes from 125 years of use, there's been considerable moisture damage to the court. "Some boards can be taken away by hand today," says Bertho, who estimates it will cost $94,000 to restore the entire gym and part of the historic YMCA building to its former glory. Can we call this the coolest gym floor fundraiser ever? Only if the herringbone shoe fits.
A GoFundMe to raise funds for the gym's restoration has also been started, and can be found here.