Running a Business
What Tim Cook’s Crispy Sneakers Suggest About Apple’s Shifting Culture
Unlike his predecessor, Apple CEO Tim Cook isn’t so averse to decision fatigue that he feels the need to wear the same thing every day. He’s been spotted in everything from full white tie at the Met Gala to a t-shirt and jeans at Apple store openings. And on Wednesday, at the company’s annual, world-stopping special event, he stepped onstage in a pair of all-white Nike Epic React sneakers. And, if you’ll pardon the Vanessa Friedman-style close reading of this choice, the shoes say as much about him as they do about his vision for the world’s most valuable tech company.
The Apple of today is as much about improving its customers’ health and wellness as it is about giving them the most innovative devices on the market. After all, one of the new products announced at the event was a watch that can perform an electrocardiogram. And while Cook is a notoriously private person, one thing we do know about him is that he takes his health very seriously. (He reportedly wakes up at 3:45 every day to answer emails before a 5 am workout, and hikes and cycles in his spare time.)
Choosing one of the flashiest running shoes to come onto the market in 2018 would feel like a flex for any other CEO, but because Cook has placed such an emphasis on staying active, it’s a choice that makes sense. But their fresh-from-the-box quality (and the fact that he paired them with khakis and a blue dress shirt) suggests Cook hasn’t actually worked out in the shoes he wore today. He’s a modern CEO leading a modern company, and a man who understands the communicative power of clothing.
Which is why we’d be willing to bet he has more than one pair.