Photos of a pair of ‘Lungsod ng Makati’-branded running shoes surfaced on Facebook yesterday, December 15, drawing glares and jeers from sneaker enthusiasts, who have collectively dubbed them the “Binay Baller Brand” sneakers, in reference to Lonzo Ball’s heinously overpriced Big Baller Brand sneakers, or the “Air Jejomar 1.” They’re white running sneakers with a bright blue lining and blue laces, and the seal of Makati on the heel:
If they look familiar to you, it’s because they look suspiciously like knock-offs of the TechLoom Pro—a running shoe by the fringe American sneaker brand, Athletic Propulsion Labs:
The Facebook user who originally posted the photo, Elecil Garcia Matutina, says that these sneakers were given out for free in Makati public schools, crediting the city’s current mayor, Abby Binay. “Galing ‘yan sa aming butihing mayora ng Makati,” she said, when reached for comment. “Libre lang po ‘yan sa mag-aaral ng pampublikong eskwelahan ng Makati.”
At least one other citizen of Makati has posted about these sneakers, explicitly thanking their mayora:
The good news is that kids who can’t regularly afford a decent pair of sneakers will actually benefit from this. Real running shoes are getting more and more expensive as they become covetable fashion statements for people who can afford to make fashion statements, effectively excluding a lot of others who just need something to wear on their feet. Free shoes for kids who need free shoes are a good thing.
The bad news is that this is a thinly veiled trapo move: ingratiate yourself to your constituents with free things that will leave your name ringing in their heads. Of course, these sneakers don’t actually have Mayor Binay’s name on them, but this is not unlike the birthday cakes that her father used to send to the people of Makati when he was mayor. We all know that there’s nothing quite like the rush of getting new sneakers (and posting about them on Facebook, hashtag-blessed), so you can bet that somebody's getting a lot of mileage out of this—literally and figuratively.