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First Ever Cochlear Implant Sneaker

Marne, a young woman athlete holding her cochlear implant in one hand and her sneaker in the second. Next to her a photo of her white sneakers.

During my senior year, I worked with Endstate to launch their first-of-a-kind NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) collaboration with Boston College athletes, including myself. Endstate, founded by Bennett Collen and Stephanie Howard in 2021, combines their passion for sneakers and blockchain technology, particularly NFTs.

Bennett is the former Founder/CEO of Cognate, which was acquired by GoDaddy in 2018 for its use of smart contracts/NFTs for trademark rights, and Stephanie is a veteran design director with experience at Nike, New Balance, and Reebok, including one of her most notable designs - the New Balance 850! Working with them, along with Eric Amador Mays, Benjamin Jones, David Filar, Leland Grossman, and others, was a pleasure.

They all contributed their creativity, understanding, and passion to bring my vision for my signature sneaker to life! The drop's theme was 80s-inspired, “looking back to see how far we've come. Close your eyes and imagine the year is 1988. You’re going to school in Boston, the city where Endstate will be founded 40 years in the future.”

For my signature sneaker, I wanted to focus on the power of storytelling and representing cochlear implants, as a deaf student-athlete. There are many misconceptions on how a CI works, how it sounds, and how deaf people can be successful with them. My sneakers symbolize what I want for the future, to not only spread awareness, but to empower and encourage CI users to be more involved within the sports world. EndState was the perfect brand to make this dream a reality.

My sneaker:

  • Heel word play & track analogy represents a reliance on lip reading

  • Pink username honors my pink socks, which gave me confidence and luck in high school races which then shifted to black for BC

  • Buying the shoe came with the gift of hearing! A percentage of profit went to Joyful Life Cochlear Foundation which helps CI recipients have the necessary equipment, resources, & a healthy support system for them to achieve their full potential

I’m so grateful for the Endstate team and this partnership experience. And I'm eagerly looking forward to witnessing EndState's ongoing growth, as they collaborate with professional athletes and potentially expand to more collegiate partnerships.

Check out more about EndState U: New Heights, including the link to my signature sneaker!

Six pictures: First Marne Sullivan, an athlete holding her  cochlear implant in one hand and her sneakers in the other. Second: Marne's super amazing sneakers, they are white with a red back and pink writing; third photo: Marne with other athletes and fourth photo Marne stretching. Fifth and sixes photos are the same as the first and second

1 Comment

Gil Kaminski
Gil Kaminski
Jun 14, 2023

I love it!

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