Many Greeks were angered by the apparent misspelling of the name of the Greek goddess Nike on the newly launched sneakers by the American multinational of the same name. Nike, meaning “victory” in Greek, celebrated the goddess by releasing a new pair of footwear called “The Winged Goddess Of Victory” with the Air Force 1 Low. Greek-speakers were quick to spot, however, that at the heel of the left sneaker, an inscription in Greek which was apparently supposed to read ΝΙΚΗ Air, i.e. “NΙΚΕ Air”, was misspelled. The way it looks now, it would be more like “PIKS Air.”

Many were left wondering what exactly “ΠΙΚΣ” means. Is it a colossal mistake, some unknown initials, or a made-up word that just looks Greek for marketing purposes? Some took to the social media to complain about the apparent blunder. Others started a petition to make the American multinational retract the sneakers.

“We are demanding Nike to retract and recall the Air Force 1 “Goddess of Victory” sneakers from the marketplace. Nike has misused the Greek alphabet on the back of the sneakers misrepresenting the spelling of the Greek Goddess NIKE. Currently the sneakers spell PIKS and not NIKE – this is cultural appropriation. We are asking Nike to preserve and respect the Greek culture and history by accurately using the Greek alphabet when writing and referring to the Goddess NIKE.”

The Air Force 1 “Goddess of Victory” sneakers have a clean white base, supposedly replicating the robes of ancient Greek gods. Keeping its look monochromatic, the low-top shoe has replaced its smooth leather with ribbed Epi leather, adding texture to its forefoot and heel overlays. A silver mesh peeks out from underneath white laces, hinting at the Greek’s devotional marble statues, or perhaps, a medal. To specify which deity the sneakers celebrate, however, the shoes bear an extended sheer tongue akin to a wing.

Towards the heel of the sneaker, traditional Nike branding has been swapped out for thematic motifs. One shoe reads “PICS Air” in silver Greek lettering, while the other boasts a metallic palm branch graphic — the symbol of victory — embroidered into its heel tab. The dedication continues within the sneaker, where a figure of Nike the goddess has been imprinted onto the insoles alongside the definition of the Nike name.

Dubbed the “Goddess of Victory,” these Air Force 1 Lows have yet to receive a release date, though their official imagery suggests they’ll hit the Nike website in the coming weeks. Each pair is expected to retail for $130. 

As a business communication major, I assume the lettering is marketing, but is that a good enough excuse?