By: Alyssa Rashbaum
Russell Simmons' footwear company, Run Athletics, is launching the Legacy line of sneakers and a special Arthur Ashe sneaker slated to hit stores in early 2006.
The Legacy and Arthur Ashe sneakers will feature classic designs with modern updates, with a portion of the proceeds from the Ashe sneaker benefiting the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, founded by tennis star Ashe shortly before his death in 1993 from AIDS contracted from a blood transfusion. The shoe will be available at specialty stores in February 2006, Black History Month.
The casual tennis sneaker - which will sell for about $75 - will be white with green trim and accents and will feature an Arthur Ashe logo on the eye stay, and engraved embroidery on the outside sole, with a gray custom suede toe guard.
The Legacy sneaker - which will retail for about $125 - meanwhile, will be targeted to sneaker collectors and will be available at high-end boutiques. The shoe features an old-school design including suede toe guards, cognac vegetable leather wrap, mock croc eye stays and more. Orange/brown and nude/burgundy will be the featured colors when the shoe launches in February.
"Arthur represents something we don't see much of any more in society and sports," Treis Hill, Head of Marketing for Run Athletics, said in a statement. "Arthur Ashe was a class act who considered being a role model part of his duty. He was an amazing athlete and humanitarian, who fought for equal rights for everybody."
Ashe was the first tennis player to win the U.S. Open and was the #1 ranking American tennis player in his 20s and the #1 ranking player in the world by his 30s. His Arthur Ashe Institute of Urban Health serves minorities in cities around the country.