It took less than a day for Nike's new Colin Kaepernick shirts to sell out

Jack BaerWriter
Yahoo Sports
Consumers were quick to snap up the latest piece of Nike merchandise featuring Colin Kaepernick. (AP Photo)
Consumers were quick to snap up the latest piece of Nike merchandise featuring Colin Kaepernick. (AP Photo)

Nike has fully tied its business to Colin Kaepernick and it appears the business of Colin Kaepernick is booming.

The sports apparel behemoth put a new “Kaepernick icon tee” on the market Thursday, with the shirt bearing a simple design in which the famous Nike swoosh and Kaepernick’s name are the most visible features. Let’s just say sales were good.

Kaepernick announced the shirt’s sale through his Twitter account Thursday morning.


Seven hours later, Kaepernick took to Twitter again to proudly announce the shirts had run out of stock online, though some shirts are apparently still available at Nike’s physical stores.


It’s just one shirt, and it isn’t known how many shirts Nike stocked in the first place, but it’s hard to deny this as another good look for the company’s big bet on Kaepernick.

What Colin Kaepernick’s Nike shirts look like

The shirt is a long-sleeved black tee featuring Kaepernick’s name on the back in distinctive reflective lettering. The name is basically where his name would be on an actual football jersey.

The Nike swoosh comes on the right shoulder sleeve. Nike and Kaepernick’s now-famous slogan of “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” also appears on the shirt, in small lettering down the sleeve.


The shirt retailed for $50, steep for a t-shirt but clearly not too steep for certain consumers.

Nike had LeBron James debut the Kaepernick shirt

If this shirt looks familiar, it might be due to one the other faces of Nike debuting it earlier this month. That would be Lakers superstar LeBron James, a vocal supporter of Kaepernick.

James entered the Staples Center for a preseason game on Oct. 4 wearing the shirt, then posted a picture of it on Instagram.


Nike’s Colin Kaepernick industry rolls on

It was extremely clear when Nike announced its decision to put Kaepernick at front of center of its 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign that publicly embracing the NFL’s highest-profile persona non grata would lead to some backlash. From small communities to the president of the United States, detractors were predictably vocal.

And yet, the move keeps appearing to be a calculated risk that is paying off for Nike. Consumer data has found a warm reception to featuring Kaepernick, polling has been good and there has been no shortage of prominent athletes praising the move.

It could be years before we understand the full effects of one of the most polarizing marketing campaign in recent memory, but there seems to be little reason for Nike to regret its big risk right now.

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