Since the dawn of time, human beings have had a unique connection with their feet. Whether it’s running through fields as kids in P.E. class or hitting up your neighborhood skatepark for an afternoon shred session, Nike has been there every step of the way revolutionizing what’s possible on two feet! From its inception in 1964 to today’s roster of iconic rock star-inspired Air Jordans and Skateboarding half-pipe kings who wear them, Nike has been deeply entrenched in developing quality shoes designed to keep you comfortable and stylish no matter where your journey takes you!
In this blog post, we’ll explore how Nike transformed itself from a small shoemaker into one of the most sought-after streetwear brands by diving deep into the history and evolution of their beloved skateboard shoe collections.
How did Nike get into skateboarding?
Nike began to seriously invest in skateboarding in the late 1990s. While it had dabbled with experimenting before in the 1970s, 1998 saw an official partnership with the National Skateboard Co., marking it as a major player in the world of skateboarding.
From there, Nike went all-in on skaters and their needs. In 2002, they truly broke into the core skate shoe game by signing Paul Rodriguez and Lance Mountain as signature models; shortly after, Nike also pushed its SB Dunk silhouette into prominence among skaters due to its legendary collaborations with skaters like Soulland.
Nowadays, Nike is considered a mainstay for both everyday skateboarders and professional riders alike – and it’s all thanks to their commitment to focusing on traditional designs and not compromising performance ever since those early days.
Why was Nike’s first attempt into the skateboarding industry successful?
Nike’s first foray into skateboarding came in 2002 with the launch of the SB brand. The success of this attempt was down to several factors, most notably their approach to design and collaboration.
Not only did Nike hire prominent skateboarding figures to help create footwear specifically for use in skating, but their range was also designed with the active skater in mind – from highly durable shapes to features like Zoom Air cushioning for extra support and comfort.
Additionally, Nike heavily invested in sponsoring events such as the Damn Am competitions, creating greater awareness among shareholders and generating favorable responses from fans. Ultimately it was this combination of excellent product design and effective marketing that made Nike’s first attempt into skateboarding a success.
Why were skateboarders reluctant to buy Nike shoes?
Skateboarders have traditionally been averse to the concept of Nike when it comes to skateboarding shoes. This is likely because Nike had its roots in basketball, an entirely different sport.
But beyond just this sports-based reluctance, Nike’s earlier attempts at achieving skate culture acceptance fell flat and failed to resonate with consumers. Shoes designed by the company during this period were overly bulky and far from fashionable, completely missing the mark of what was preferred by skaters.
As a result, skateboarders viewed Nike as an outsider to their culture and were slow to take them seriously in the industry.
Who was the first skater on Nike?
It was Tony Hawk who first made waves for Nike in the world of skating. When he took up the challenge to design his skateboard shoes with Nike, he showed the world that style and function can nicely co-exist on one platform.
These unique designs demonstrated a modern take on street and skate culture while still enabling Hawk to perform at the highest level in competitions. His signature kicks were lauded heavily by athletes and non-athletes alike and were viewed as fashion statements rather than simply skateboarding shoes.
Before long, Hawk’s influence on Nike had created an entire line of performance-oriented skate footwear under their name; a legacy that is still seen today.
What was the first skate brand?
The first skate brand was Variflex, established in 1977 by Eric and David Swartzberg. This dynamic duo was motivated to make a skateboard specifically designed for vert (vertical) skating as well as to carve rough roads and swiftly navigate tight corners. While the early years saw them struggling to make ends meet due to the lack of popularity for their product, Variflex eventually soared when pro-skaters such as Danny Finegood began promoting the brand.
It quickly gained fans and spread like wildfire, earning it the moniker of being “the original” in people’s minds. Today, Variflex is a top leader in the skateboarding industry, producing some of the highest quality boards and apparel at affordable prices that make it a popular choice among many skaters worldwide.
The Final Word: The history and evolution of Nike in the Skate shoe market
The success of Nike in the skateboarding market serves as a testament to the fact that an omnipresent brand such as theirs can remain relevant and vibrant with a savvy understanding of the ever-changing opinion of the customer. By producing skater-friendly shoes, Nike has been able to appeal to an entirely new market, diversifying its steady customer base and giving birth to a new generation of Nike skateboarders.
This evolution in their product line has allowed for an immersion into a culture that had previously only been supported by smaller independent brands – giving individuals of all backgrounds an avenue to enjoy skateboarding and street style with confidence, comfort, and security that comes from such a trusted name like Nike.