Every June since 2012, Nike has been releasing a special campaign in support of the LGBTQ+ community in sports and beyond. This year, the mega-giant sportswear brand decided to take it up a notch. Nike partnered with the Gilbert Baker Estate, co-create this year’s BETRUE collection.
In the 2019 BETRUE collection – and for the first time – all footwear, apparel and accessories feature the icon’s original eight-colour flag which was created back in 1978 by Gilbert Baker, the political activist and designer. It is a symbol that would unite gay, lesbian and transgender people. Baker sewed the flag as a symbol for gay joy, positivity, and unity in 1978. Four decades later, the flag is featured on this year’s line of Be True products, alongside Baker’s signature.
The ad campaign features some of the most important LGBTQ+ athletes of 2019, including WNBA star Sue Bird, track and field champion Caster Semenya, and triathlete Chris Mosier.
The Nike BETRUE collection offers special takes on the Air Max 720, Air Max 90, Tailwind, Zoom Pegasus 35 Turbo, and Benassi slides, all of which feature some embroidered or hand-crafted details as a nod to Baker’s handmade flag. For example, the 90 features eight Swooshes embroidered in different colors, and the Tailwind boasts an embroidered heel-tab. The 720 features a bold multi-piece rainbow gradient on top of a translucent Air Max cushioning unit, while the Pegasus runner features a rainbow ribbon from heel to toe. The insoles also recognize the specific meanings of each color, from sexuality all the way down to spirit. Additionally, Nike will feature a striped rainbow pattern for the first time (previously designed with a gradient); you can see it in place of the NIKE logos as well as on the JUST DO IT box graphics.