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Nike Shox
In its long history, the label with the Swoosh has brought some very popular silhouettes onto the market and still inspires sneakerheads all over the world with the latest releases. In this long time, however, there have also been one or two outliers that polarised the masses with their unconventional look and led to the formation of so-called subcultures.

The Nike Shox has always been one of those sneakers. Its very forward-thinking technology and out-of-this-world design already divided the entire community when it was released. Many years later, Nike is now bringing the controversial sneaker back into our shop windows and sees a promising future in the model. On this occasion, we would like to take a closer look at the history of the Nike Shox.

Nike Shox - A Shoe with History

The beginnings of the Nike Shox can actually be dated back to 1984. Bruce Kilgore, the designer of the well-known Air Force 1, had a very innovative and unconventional idea at the time. Instead of the popular and already established Air soles, he wanted to integrate a mechanical damping system into a completely new sneaker. The design of the shoe and the various details were to be primarily inspired by typical space motifs such as the equipment of astronauts or space suits. The pistons on the heel of the sneaker, which are very familiar to us today, were obviously influenced by the round boosters on the undersides of space shuttles. It really took Nike a lot of trial and error to integrate all the design elements in a way that made sense and added the desired space accents. Part of this indecision was also directly reflected in the community, which didn't really know what to do with the Nike Shox now. The brave loved it and wore it proudly, while the other side couldn't do anything with the shoe. This situation is nothing new in the sneaker world and the typical polarisation is almost part of every good sneaker.

Even though the Nike Shox was marketed as a general sports shoe in its "youth", it only gained its full popularity through its presence in the basketball segment. Superstar Vince Carter wore the Shox during an Olympic game against France, in which he landed a brutal slam dunk over the 2.18m French centre. Just a reminder: Vince Carter is "just" 1.98m tall. While this blatant move buried a career, it also gave rise to the immense popularity of the Nike Shox BB4. Along with the Slam Dunk, the entire sneaker community suddenly understood what the message behind the unconventional silhouette was originally supposed to be: a future-oriented shoe that ushered in the millennium. Funny coincidence that this insight only came after the hyped basketball game 😉

Away from the Nike Shox BB4, there was also the Shox R4! This model in particular was the most legendary runner version of the shoe and really attracted a lot of attention from various subcultures. In Italy, for example, the R4 was extremely pushed in the bodybuilder scene. Why do you ask? The answer couldn't be more banal. Rumour had it that the shoe's piston-like damping system was a clear help when lifting weights. In general, it is noticeable that the Nike Shox developed into a sneaker for "outsiders". It became an absolute favourite among various fringe groups all over the world.

Nike Shox - Technical Revelation

From a technical perspective, the Nike Shox also brought with it some unexpected innovations. It was the first sneaker to focus on energy return during running and ultimately successfully integrated this into the shoe. Most cushioning systems of the time only focused on absorbing the force applied. The Nike Shox, however, managed to efficiently "absorb" the energy and simultaneously return it through the spring-like construction of the columns. This resulted in a very responsive running feel and literally provided a real push forward. The pistons on the heel of the Shox were also pretty damn durable. To incorporate such advanced technology into a shoe of the late 90s and early 2000s really just showed that the Nike Shox was way ahead of its time.

Nike Shox - Legendary Comeback?

It's quite possible that the Nike Shox was just a bit too far ahead of its time. But now a few years have passed since the original release and we are curious to see how well it will be received at the relaunch. The fashion trend is moving towards edgy and chunky silhouettes anyway, which is why the stars don't look so bad for the Nike Shox. To make sure you don't miss any of these new releases, subscribe to our newsletter or download our Grailify app directly.

Nike Shox R4, TL and BB4

You've probably already come across these seemingly arbitrary combinations of numbers and letters from the Nike Shox line. But what do R4, TL and BB4 mean? We have summarised it for you here:

R4: The designation "R4" stands for "Running 4" and indicates that this variant of the Nike Shox was originally designed as a running shoe. The Nike Shox R4 is distinguished by its characteristic pillar cushioning technology, which is embedded in the sole of the shoe. These columns are arranged to absorb impact forces and return energy to improve comfort and performance while running.

TL: "TL" stands for "Total Air" and is often used for models that combine Nike Air cushioning technology with Shox technology. This means that the shoe has both Nike's signature columns and air-cushioned cushioning in the sole.

BB4: The designation "BB4" stands for "Basketball 4" and indicates that this variant was designed for basketball.

Neymar Jr. designs two Nike Shox R4 and one TL

Brazil loves the Nike Shox and that's why Nike has launched a re-release of the Shox R4 in 2019 and secured the services of Neymar Jr. to do so. Together, they've created a co-branded pair of shoes with the patented suspension, made even more exciting by the clever logo transformation of the famous Shox Z - which turns 90 degrees to become the letter "N" for Neymar. The "Platinum Tint" offers a modernised version of the original R4 Launch colourway with a plethora of inverted Swoosh graphics on the metallic silver overlay of the upper. The other shoe, however, is much more personal to Neymar, evoking the bustling street markets of his hometown of São Paulo in a water-coloured red/purple colourway.

The black and gold Neymar Jr. x Nike Shox TL will follow in July 2019. The shoe features a bold design with a dark black mesh upper framed by a black synthetic cage and gold Swoosh. Signature detailing is found on the tongue and heel, where the Nike Shox logo is rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise to create an "N" for Neymar. Finally, there is silver detailing on the heel, front of the toe and various places on the sole.
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