The origins of the Nike Shox
So the Nike Shox isn’t a new thing by any means. Debuting in the early 2000s it was met with moderate success. Heralded once upon a time as a potential successor to the Air Unit. Although the Nike Shox didn’t quite live up to those lofty expectations no one can call it a complete failure.
The concept behind mechanical cushioning for which the Nike Shox is based actually began in 1984. With the goal of optimising energy return penned at the top of Nike team’s priorities. An array of steel spring solutions as well as a multi-layer leaf-spring heel unit were trialled. It wasn’t until 1997 that the solution of twin plates with foam columns birthed what we all come to know as the original Nike Shox.
Although it is not considered to be garnered with much recent mainstream success. The Nike Shox til this day is still considered a fan favourite. An indelible aesthetic and a truly unique composition have made the Nike Shox one of the most easily recognisable and unique Nike products available.
The return of the Shox
Well it appears that Nike are in agreement with the fan base that the shoe deserves more than to disappear into archived obscurity, seemingly looking to be attempting some form of revival for the Shox. Start from scratch attempts to revamp the concept began in late 2017. The culmination of their efforts resulted in models like the Nike Shox Gravity which looked to take the technology into the modern era. Technically the strength of the Shox pillar system was its diversity in application. Builds could be purposed for basketball, running and tennis, making for a range that could appeal to a broader fan base than the Air Max could boast.
It appears however, that despite this it is the more retro variations of the Shox technology that is beginning to once again turn heads in 2019. The Nike Shox TL which debuted in 2003 most notably looks like the model of choice for the attempted revival. Obviously receiving an update as well as some heavy hitting collaborations with London based Grime artist Skepta, and football sensation Neymar. The TL aesthetically can be likened to an Air Max TN and definitely appeals to that style demographic most specifically. A synthetic upper accompanied by the chunky pillar midsole system. This shoe has definitely found its home in a lifestyle setting despite the technologies performance pedigree.
The thing that has made the Nike Shox an appealing proposition in 2019 I think is similar logic that can be applied to the Nike Monarch, or the Reebok Classic. I think people like nostalgia, and nostalgia that aligns with the cylindrical nature of fashion trends. The same sleek, lightweight, and minimalist culture that essentially buried the Nike Shox in the 2010s has since dissipated. Being replaced with a fashion culture which is obsessed with thick, brash and bulky trainers, and the Shox fits that description. While for people of a certain age, the Shox evokes so many good memories. Even if you don’t remember the Nike Shox it is cool to pretend like you do. These trends come and go in an endless cycle. The sooner we all realise that the less surprising it will be when it all comes round again!
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