Tina Fey now has a pair of ‘medical sneakers’ to go with her new Subaru, ‘Karen’

Tina Fey
Subaru capitalized on Tina Fey’s “medical sneakers” comment by sending her a pair.
(Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

Tina Fey got a little more than she bargained for when she self-deprecatingly plugged her new Subaru Forester — a “Karen car” — on “The Tonight Show” last week: She’s now the proud owner of some basic Karen sneakers.

Why? Well, in case you missed it, the writer-actress, who is currently starring in Pixar’s ethereal movie “Soul,” told host Jimmy Fallon that she finally gave in during COVID-19 lockdowns and bought her first car ever.

Although the New Yorker proudly took the subway and buses before the pandemic hit, she wanted more agency after being cooped up for months.

Much to her family’s chagrin, the “Saturday Night Live” alum and “Mean Girls” scribe didn’t get anything fancy or cool. She got a white Subaru Forester, known for its practicality and reliability, that she affectionately dubbed “Karen.”


“It’s so basic,” Fey joked. “My older daughter, Alice, she’s 15, I think she’s looking at that car, knowing, like, that’s the car she’s gonna learn to drive on. She was really pushing for a cuter, cooler car, and I was like, ‘No, I want a car that looks like a medical sneaker.’ It’s so safe. It looks like Judah Friedlander’s freakin’ sneakers.”

Shoes and other swag that automaker Subaru sent actress-writer Tina Fey.
Automaker Subaru sent actress-writer Tina Fey shoes and swag after she compared her new Forester to a “medical sneaker.”

Car and Driver and Auto Evolution gave the wealthy celeb guff for giving in to the whims of the middle-age female stereotype (Hey, she’s a “Tonight Show” auntie, after all). But the good people at Subaru in New Jersey capitalized on the product placement this week, gifting the Emmy Award winner a brand new pair of $130 Brooks walking shoes.

And they’re pretty basic too.

“Subaru has responded with a little joke of their own and has sent Tina a fresh pair of white kicks (some may say medical sneakers) — and some Subaru swag — to go with her new ride,” the Japanese automaker said in a statement.

In a letter addressed to Fey, Subaru President and Chief Executive Thomas J. Doll applauded her work on “30 Rock” and “SNL,” but took issue with her footwear simile, saying that he thinks the company’s signature vehicle rates “closer to the level of a sensible pump if nothing else.”

Incidentally, the Brooks community has donated more than 45,000 shoes to healthcare workers fighting COVID-19.

A representative for Fey was not immediately available to respond to The Times’ request for comment.