Nike Shox: a sneaker technology that’s lived many lives.
Originally designed by Bruce Killgore, the luminary behind the Air Force I and the Air Jordan II and Sergio Lozano, the mastermind responsible for the Air Max 95, Nike Shox burst onto the scene with a tremendous amount of momentum in 2000. There was nothing quite like them. Their iconic foam columns made you feel as if you could run at the speed of light (thanks to Nike’s great advertising) and jump tall buildings in a single bound (thanks to Vince Carter’s iconic dunk in the 2000 Olympics).
However, no technology can stay cool forever and by the mid/late 00’s, Nike had moved on to newer technologies like Lunarlon and Flyknit. Shox were relegated to middle-of-the mall purgatory. where they became a favorite of Flexfit hat-wearing suburban dads who yell at their kids in public (anyone who’s ever worked in a mall shoe store knows exactly what we’re talking about). They relaunched in 2014 in an Olympic-inspired pack, but quickly faded back into near nonexistence, as the pack failed to generate any substantial interest or hype. The minimalist movement was in full stride with shoes like the Flyknit Racer leading the charge, and there was no place left for the once-kingly technology.
No matter if you think Shox are hideous or iconic (or both-those two things aren’t mutually exclusive), you’re very familiar with them if you’re a 90’s baby. Shox were a part of your childhood. There’s a good chance you wanted a pair badly at some point in time. You were either lucky enough to have parents who’d cop a pair for you, or unfortunate enough to watch your lucky classmates “run faster” and “jump higher” than you.
And the iconic technology may just be making a somewhat unbelievable return to cool status in 2018. The Shox Gravity (pictured at the top of the article) was well-received upon its launch last week, and Nike has announced that more colorways will be arriving soon. They’ve brought the Shox out of the shadows, and are prepared to make them cool once again.
Nike Shox? Comeback? Cool? We’d bet that those are words you never thought you’d hear in the same sentence. Sure, it sounds far-fetched. But 2018 just might be the perfect time for Shox to bounce back into prominence. You don’t have to be down with the wave … but we’d suggest you ready yourself for it. Here’s three solid reasons why.
Early 00’s Nostalgia
Vintage pieces are still as hot as ever, and as time goes on and kids that came of age in the 00’s get older, it’s only logical that the hot trends from their childhood would make a return to the forefront to the forefront of fashion, much like clothes from the early-mid 90’s have enjoyed a thunderous revival in the past few years.
Along with trucker hats, velour suits, and skateboard tees, Shox were one of the most highly desirable items of the early 00’s. Now that people who weren’t old enough to purchase them upon their original release and had to settle for enviously looking at the feet of their classmates are now adults with jobs and money (at least we’d hope so), they’ll experience that fierce wave of nostalgia that catapulted 90’s clothes back to the forefront of cool.
When popular vintage fashion makes its logical progression forwards, the 90’s will eventually be out and the 00’s will roll right in and take their place. It’ll be a perfect time for Nike Shox, and that time is approaching faster than you may think. Hey, it’s already cool to wear Von Dutch hats again … what makes you think Shox are outlandish in 2018?
The “Ugly Shoe” Trend
Garish sneakers are gassed in a major way right now. Two of the hottest shoes of 2017, the Yeezy Wave Runner and the Balenciaga Triple S are overly bulky and ostentatious. Their crazy colors and enormous silhouettes grasp you by the shoulders, smack you right in the face and force you to pay attention to them no matter if you love them or hate them … almost exactly like the Shox did upon their initial release in the early 00’s.
The extreme maximalism offered by some Shox silhouettes (like the TL3’s pictured above) fits in perfectly with the sneaker game’s current trends: right now it’s not about who can have the sleekest, most refined look: it’s more about who can turn the most heads by wearing the biggest, brightest, loudest kicks available. Shox are nothing if not loud, big, and bright.
Don’t think it’s feasible? Take a look at street style images from last winter’s New York Fashion Week. You’ll be surprised at how many Shox you see in the images. The fashion week set is already beginning to catch on, so the trickle-down effect they generate will begin in earnest soon.
Remember the Shox-wearing suburban dad we mentioned earlier in this article? The one who wears Flexfit hats and yells at his kids in public? You may be surprised to know that his style is “cooler” than you thought. We predicted that normcore (making a conceited effort to dress as normally as humanly possible) would be a massive trend in 2018, and if the Air Monarch, long the lovable laughingstock of Nike’s roster can make a comeback in 2018, who’s to say some of those middle-of-the-mall Shox silhouettes like the classic Shox NZ (pictured above) can’t do the same?
Much like the Monarch, the Shox NZ has been a staple of Nike’s lineup for over a decade, and has a small but extremely loyal following. Normcore sneakerheads could grow to appreciate Shox for the strong sense of irony that they convey, as it truly looks like you don’t care about your outfit at all when you’re wearing a pair. Is that’s a good thing or a bad thing? That’s up for interpretation, but one thing that’s for certain is that the Shox have all the makings of a great normcore sneaker. If normcore takes off the way we think it will in 2018, classic Shox silhouettes may just take flight with it.
So there you have it. We’ll repeat ourselves one final time: don’t be surprised if Nike Shox come bouncing back into prominence in 2018 and beyond. They have a great deal of room for growth in the three aforementioned categories, and remember: everything in fashion moves in cycles.
What do you think of Nike Shox? Do you think they can become popular again in 2018? Did you own a pair as a child? If so, which model were they? Sound off in the comments or hit us up and let us know on Twitter!