Why are the Nike Zenji now called Nike Juvenate?

Sometimes it is extremely difficult to manage the communication of a brand with presence in almost every country and culture.

Marketing managers are aware of this, and they are specially careful when designing global campaigns. For example, in our culture white symbolizes purity and serenity, while in other cultures it is the colour for mourning.

These differences can be greater still if we’re talking about languages: a word which in a language has a positive meaning can sound ridiculous in another, and this is so with every aspect of communication. Even though experts know this, sometimes little details slip through the cracks. For instance, did you know that in Spain the Mitsubishi Pajero was renamed as Mitsubishi Montero, because of the obscene meaning of the word Pajero?

Well, even a brand as powerful and prestigious as Nike is not free from these problems. We had been hearing about a new Nike model, the Nike Zenji, for quite a long time. We know the name, the features, when it was going to release… So when we finally received the first Nike Zenji and we saw that the name Nike Juvenate had been glued over, we know there had to be a reason for such a change.


And according to Nike’s own words to Complex magazine:

The name for the Nike Zenji was derived from the Japanese word for Zen master, as the simple and lightweight design of the shoe is inspired by the idea of achieving a Zen-like state. Unfortunately, we were unaware that the word “zenji” also takes on a derogatory meaning when pronounced in Arabic. As soon as we became aware, we took immediate action to rename the shoe the Nike Juvenate. We apologize to anyone who was offended by the original name. No offense was intended.

It’s a pity, because the name Nike Zenji did convey minimalism and simplicity, but a brand like Nike has to watch even the smallest details. In fact, following up on the lightweight concept, Nike had decided to include a nylon bag with each sneaker to pack them, but since they featured the wrong name they had no other choice than to take them out.

Anyway, good news is the new Nike Juvenate are here, and we couldn’t be happier. There’s no denying that they are similar to the Nike Roshe Run, and as stated before Nike also drew inspiration from the Zen concept to design the Nike Juvenate, but this new model has a lot to offer.


Their silhouette is even more slender that the Roshe’s, but the best thing about this model is that it is surprisingly light. Yes, the Roshe Run are light too, but the Nike Juvenile go even further. The upper is made of layered breathable mesh and canvas, which fit the foot without adding any weight, while the Phylon midsole provides all the cushioning you’ll ever need.


The model we have available at foot District belongs to the Nike x Liberty 2015 collection, for which Nike collaborated with the renowned London brand. That’s why they feature the colorful “Merlin” print of the collection, together with the white upper and sole.


We’re certain that the Nike Juvenate will be one of the hits of the season. Get ahead of the rest and get your pair now in our Nike sneakers section :).