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How Nike SB Got Into the Skateboard Industry

By Valentina Diaz
V. Diaz, a journalist and passionate skateboarder is a full-time writer for SHIT®️ Magazine.


Shoes are as important as the skateboard if we are going to take skateboarding seriously. For many years the industry has been working on making the best skate shoes, pro skateboarders aren't sponsored just to skate, they are also part of the development and evolution of the shoes that we are buying nowadays. 

Skateboarding has existed since the 50s and during that time you didn't have to scrape the board and there are a lot of pictures where they skated barefoot too. Of course that was uncomfortable so shoes found it's importance too.

The first thing that we look at in footwear is the durability of the sole because we have to use it all the time, durability is important unless you want to spend a considerable amount of time buying shoes to replace your worn out ones.

Nike was in the skateboarding industry before they knew it themselves, and in the 70s the perfect shoe brand to skate was Nike. You could see skateboarders of the time wearing the Blazer Mid 77 or the Nike Leather Cortez at the beginning of the 80s. However, it was in the late 80s till the 90s when every skateboarder was wearing Nike.






Jordan Shoes (1985)


In 1985 the first Air Jordan shoes came out on the market, during this season everyone wanted to play basketball like Michael Jordan and be trendy with his pro shoes. The footwear features super-flat soles and durability that was perfect to skate with. After this, Jordan's shoes evolved to be the perfect footwear for basketball. Even so, Nike took noticed this new market and launched its first skateboarding footwear attempt in 1996.


The Choad, The Snak, The Schimp (1996)

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The 90s was the beginning of an SB version from Nike, their first pro skateboarder was Bam Margera who had to ride with unoptimized skate shoes shoes but who gave his opinion that served as good advice to develop new designs fit for skateboarding. These shoes were casual and the brand wanted to launch shoes that everyone could use because the skateboarding market was still small.


The Nike Dunk SB (2002)

Snickers NKSB



At the beginning of the 2000s the Air Jordan shoes were re-engineered for skateboarding. Nike was not doing a good job to get into the skateboarding industry, and had the same problems with the soccer segment. So Sandy Bodecker who was in charge of skateboarding at Nike decided that instead of creating a new skate shoe, she was going to bring back those that were popular in 1985.

Bodecker planned to do the research right and get to the perfect skate shoe. The team was composed of Gino Iannucci, Richard Mulder, Reese Forbes & Danny Supa who had their signature Dunks.





With this shoe in place, Nike released that same year some collaborations maintaining the dunks style. They made the the Nike SB x Supreme Dunks, Nike SB Zoo York Dunk Low and the Nike SB Chocolate Dunk Low. The next year Nike made limited Dunk editions for charity which gathered 30.000 USD.


Supreme Dunk "Gold Star" (2004)



This pro shoe definitely gave to Nike SB its name. Paul Rodriguez decided to be on the Nike team and start with those Supreme Dunk "Gold Star" with G2 system. Paul made his first ads with them that was received very well just because it was Paul that gave them approval.

P-Rod is a street skateboarder and has won 4 X-Games gold medals, the first one in 2004 the year he started his agreement with Nike. Since then he has been loyal and Paul has released ten pro skate shoes with Nike until now.


Jeff Staple Pigeon Dunks, Diamond Dunks, Zoom Elite Shoes (2005)

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This year was crazy for Nike SB, the Pigeon Dunks by Jeff Staple fascinated the collectors, skaters, youth and everyone else. The shoes were gray and had a pigeon on the back of the shoe to represent New York City. When they were launched it made national news in the US due to the riot in NYC caused by people going nuts to secure a pair.

Furthermore, Tiffany Diamond Dunks were the last dunks version for all the collection. These shoes were so trendy that it was viral in a time when the internet was still coming into the market. The designer Nicky Diamonds closed this edition to never forget the Dunks that gave Nike the entrance to the skateboarding industry.

Even if that year was to close the dunks collection it was also a new beginning that saw versions like the Zoom Elite Shoes by Paul Rodriguez. Those were the first pro model shoes designed together with Tinker Hatfield, the same guy who designed many other Nike shoes. Two years later, Nike released "Nothing But the Truth" its first video dedicated to its pro skateboarders.




Stefan Janoski (2009)

Stefan Janoski is an American pro skateboarder, artist and Crucifloat creator. He still belongs to the Nike SB Pro team and this was his shoe edition. This footwear is the best known pro model shoe in Nike SB history.

Even though this kind of shoe is not my type to skate, maybe because of the long list of wide shoes, well the Janoski broke all those stereotypes to recreate skinny footwear that brought a new style and comfort to skateboarding, these caught my attention and probably many others as well.

Janoski was the second pro skateboarder with his signature pro skate shoe by that point. Until now, these classic shoes still sell and are respected for what it caused in the skateboarding footwear industry.

Currently, Nike SB launches new shoes at every possible opportunity and are constantly renewing their shoe technology. It has more than 40 pro skaters who belong to the Nike team, some of the most iconic like Nyjah Huston, Shane O'Neill, Sky Brown, Leticia Bufoni, Leo Baker, Luan Oliveira, Eric Koston, Sean Malto, Ishod Wair and many more.

Nike is one of the best options to skate professionally. After their history so far we know that it wasn't easy for them to bring the right shoes to this new skateboarding era. They are still learning what's working, but they have the best skaters to make the right choice.


Read also: Louis Vuitton Ventures Into The Skateboarding Industry

Read also: The New CATIBA Pro Skate Shoes


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