The Bootleg Nikes That Got Banned by Big Tobacco

After a DIY designer made a pair of sneakers that riffed on Newport’s packaging, its legal team came after him with everything it had.

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Oct 19 2018, 8:32pm

In 2006, New York City designer Ari Saal Forman dropped a limited run of Menthol 10s, a one-of-a-kind sneaker that drew inspiration from and took a shot at Nike and Newport. Written right there on the tongue, Ari explained that the shoe was “dedicated to the two brands that have taken the most and given the least.” Once the companies got word that the shoe was out, they did everything they could to get it off the market.

Ari wound up getting a cease-and-desist letter from Nike and facing an aggressive lawsuit from Newport. To this day, he’s not even legally allowed to own a pair of Menthol 10s. VICE met up with Ari in Manhattan to hear the inside story of why he made the legendary sneakers, and why he took on a legal battle in the name of conscious consumerism.

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