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A deubré on a Nike Air Force 1 sneaker.

Deubré is a generic term, originating at Nike, Inc., for an ornamental shoelace tag. Typically, a deubré will have two holes through which a shoelace is threaded, like a bead on string. When the shoe is laced, the deubré is centered between the first two eyelets (closest to the toe), with the shoelace passing through and behind the deubré. A deubré is typically made of metal, plastic, or leather, and may be decorated with a logo or text. It is distinguished from a bead in that it is non-tubular; it has two points of entry/exit for the shoelace, as a belt or webbing may pass through a buckle. One could argue a deubré is functional in that once threaded to the midpoint of a shoelace, it assists in centering the shoelace in the shoe, though not all deubré and shoelace combinations necessarily will provide enough friction to hold the deubré in place while lacing.

Origin of the term[edit]

The term deubré originates with a Nike footwear designer, Damon Clegg. In a 1994 product presentation for an internal group, Clegg pointed out features of his design for a Nike ACG boot, eventually coming to the shoelace tag, for which he lacked a term. Falling back on a word he had picked up from his Glasgow-native college roommate, he called it a "doobrie". Doobrie is a Scottish placeholder name, akin to "watchamacallit" or "thingy". Though Clegg suspected his audience had mistaken doobrie for a technical term, he continued his presentation. The word caught on. Nike documents reflect later uses of the word on designers' sketches and computer files with the Clegg spelling. However, over time, the pronunciation evolved to doo-bray and spellings would come to vary widely from "doobray" to "dubret" and "deubré". The doo-bray pronunciation has become commonplace among sneaker collectors, with wide disagreement as to its spelling. With the publication of a catalog for the Nike Air Force 1 in 2006, Nike came to embrace the spelling "deubré".

Popular versions[edit]

A deubré may be used on a dress shoe or an athletic shoe. It may vary in shape, size, material or materials, graphics, and text. The Nike Air Force 1, originally designed in 1982 by Bruce Kilgore, has been embellished with a deubré since the late 1990s. Considering the popularity of this shoe, its deubré is likely the most widely produced in history.