No, not at a store near You.
Near Yu, which is a county in Shanxi Province in China. Not the easiest place to get to, either, unless you are traveling from Pingding.
But that is only going to be a temporary problem, as Li-Ning announced Wednesday that it expects to have Dwayne Wade’s new signature line of sneakers available in U.S. retail outlets in the first quarter of 2013, with a retail price in the neighborhood of $120-$130.
If you can’t wait that long, they are available online from li-ning.com.
The kicks pictures to your left are the new Li-Nings that Dwyane Wade will wear in China this week as the Miami Heat play the Los Angeles Clippers in a pair of exhibition games.
Wade becomes the highest-profile American athlete to sign with the Chinese manufacturer, leaving the Nike umbrella where he represented Converse and then Jordan Brand.
How disadvantageous is it for the shoes to be available online only in the first few weeks after they go on sale?
“We are moving into a direction where e-commerce is certainly a strong and viable platform to sell products, especially with an athlete like Dwyane who is so engaged digitally and socially with his own network and the ability to mobilize his followers, I’m certain we can drive then to a place,” said Li Ning executive Brian Cupps as Li Ning officially unveiled its newest product.
“But at the same time, having been a guy who grew up loving sneakers and buying sneakers, there’s very much an element that a lot of kids and a lot of consumers still want and need — and that is touching the products. The typical ritual of going in and trying on the shoes and taking them home that day — that instant gratification. And that’s not lost on me and that’s not lost on us as a brand, or on Dwyane. So we need to balance a new platform in e-commerce with the tried-and-true platform, which is retail, where people walk out of the store wearing the shoes and become evangelicals for the product.”
The announcement in Beijing was about more than sneakers.
The sides are actually collaborating on a footwear and apparel brand called WADE, which will serve as the centerpiece of the corporation’s growing international basketball strategy, and be shaped by an unprecedented level of creative and strategic direction from the two-time NBA Champion. Elements will include a signature line of adult apparel and footwear.
The partnership will seek to connect Wade’s renowned methods of style, training, and personal growth with Li-Ning’s values of dream, inspiration and enterprise. It will draw upon the similar business and athletic philosophies upheld by Wade and Mr. Li Ning, a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist in Gymnastics in 1984, and the final torchbearer who lit the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games cauldron in one of the most memorable moments ever during an Olympic Opening Ceremony.
“I am so proud to welcome Dwyane Wade to the Li-Ning family,” said Li Ning, the company founder. “Dwyane is a superstar for his athletic achievements, and also for the way he carries himself on and off the NBA court. I have come to understand what motivates him, what he cares about, and the personal and professional path he wants to take in the coming years. There are remarkable similarities between Dwyane and myself in this regard, and I could not be more excited about developing a brand with him that speaks to those shared views. At the same time, the WADE brand will deliver the high quality and performance characteristics consumers have come to expect of our company.”
For more on the launch, including video, click over to Li-Ning’s Web site.