During the 1970s, Warrior (回力) brand sneakers were the hottest shoes in China — its bright, clean design a sharp contrast to the drab homogeneity of Communist China. Continuing into the 1980s, the shoe remained a status symbol for Chinese teenagers who were well-off enough to don a pair of famous Warriors.

But as China opened up economically, so did the marketplace for sneaker brands. While the 50 year-old Warrior name was still well-known in China, it was no longer well-known as one of the premier Chinese brands. Instead, Warrior shoes became the shoe of the working class — worn by poor construction workers, elderly women and rural citizens looking for a pair of cheap, durable shoes, not an expensive brand name (and mark-up).

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