Right or wrong, the sartorial choices of female politicians have always drawn the attenion of the media and consumers -- in 2008, Sarah Palin's Kazuo Kawasaki glasses caused almost as much of a stir as she did.
The story around Wendy Davis' red sneakers isn't exactly the same. But Mizuno, the manufacturer of the kicks, has gotten something of a tailwind from the Texas state senator's 13-hour filibuster over a controversial anti-abortion bill.
The sneakers Ms. Davis wore during Tuesday's session -- the $114.99 Mizuno Wave Rider 16 -- have picked up attention from "reviewers" who have been taking to the shoes' Amazon page in support of the senator's stance. The comments have generally ranged from satirical to sarcastic.
Mizuno, a private company, will not share sales data, but said its own Wave Runner's product page has been the most popular on Mizunousa.com since Tuesday, and that overall daily page views for the site have doubled from last week.
Mizuno's e-commerce shop isn't the only retailer benefiting from the sneaks' cameo. As of early evening Thursday, the Wave Rider 16 was No. 25 on Amazon's bestsellers list for shoes, and No. 2 for women's athletic running shoes.
Plenty of politically-tinged comments have popped up during the past two days, with more being added every few minutes. "When I first began wearing these shoes I thought my reproductive rights were secure," says Austin-based reviewer GML, who doesn't appear to have posted a review on the site under that handle since 2008. "Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong. Luckily these shoes are really great for kicking republican legislators out of office!"
"These shoes are a danger to the republic!" wrote commenter Cullen Newsom, who is also identified as from Texas -- and also seems to be an infrequent commenter. "This is precisely the kind of technology that will enable terrorist women, terrorist gays, terrorist minorities, and other terrorist liberals to endure the long (and getting longer, just you wait) lines at the polls."
Given that these comments have nothing to do with the actual shoes, Amazon -- which did not return a call for comment by press time -- could choose to delete them. The New York Times reported this past December that the e-commerce giant was cracking down on reviews that appear to be bought, manipulated, or posted by friends and family. It's unlikely that many of these commenters know Ms. Davis personally, but they clearly have an emotional connection to her.
As for Mizuno, the Japan-based company is taking the role of Switzerland on the matter. "We are proud of the running shoes we develop for our customers and know the Wave Rider's design is able to provide the comfort and cushioning needed for any endurance event, whether it's a 5K, a marathon or 10+ hour filibuster," a spokesperson said. "We do appreciate Ms. Davis' choice in athletic footwear. However, we do not maintain a corporate position related to the topic in discussion."
Mizuno isn't the only label getting a lift from Ms. Davis. Actress Lena Dunham published a photo on Instagram of Ms. Davis' dress, designed by the up-and-coming Erdem Moralioglu, with the caption: "Yet another reason to love Wendy: Her dress is by Erdem." (Ms. Dunham and Kate Middleton have worn the London-based designer's dresses, as has Samantha Cameron, wife of conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron.)
But unlike Mizuno, the high-fashion label has been vocal in its support of Ms. Davis, tweeting: "The amazing @WendyDavisTexas wore Erdem during her marathon 11 hour filibuster in Austin. Wendy, we salute you!"