By: Drew Hammell
In 1999, the world faced a catastrophic dilemma: Y2K was approaching. People were terrified that computers would not be able to transition to the year 2000 because the last two digits would be read as 1900 instead of 2000. Computers everywhere would crash. Traffic lights, ATMs, power grids, airports, and anything else run by a computer would all come to a screeching halt. People were saving bottled water and canned food because they were afraid of what could happen when the clock struck midnight that fateful New Year’s Eve.
Fortunately, the world didn’t come to an end. Computers were able to recognize the new year, and life went on in 2000. For Nike, it meant bold, unabashed steps forward in terms of technology.
While the 90’s were all about the evolution of Air Max, 2000 represented a dramatic shift in technological direction. What if springs could be attached to sneakers so that the athlete could jump higher and absorb shock better than ever before?
The result was the revolutionary Shox technology, which featured literal springs attached to the bottom of the sole. As proof that Shox worked, NBA Slam Dunk champion and Toronto Raptors star, Vince Carter, happened to be wearing the first model in the 2000 Olympics for Team USA. During a game versus France, Carter literally jumped over 7’2” center Frédéric Weis, which, to say the least, was a rare feat.
With that dunk, Nike had their moment and their latest breakthrough. The marketing slogan was short and sweet: “Boing,” read the ads. Carter’s first model, the Nike Shox BB4, would become iconic. Many more models would follow, with VC becoming the leading spokesman.
Shox technology would soon be added to the forefoot, just like Air Max and Zoom Air. Eventually, there would be full-length Shox as well. The main obstacle for Nike designers would be figuring out how to reduce the weight and bulk of the Shox models.
As the first decade of the new millennium progressed, athletes would opt for lighter Nike basketball sneakers, which offered low-to-the-ground Zoom Air, or soft and light Air Max technology. But, for a few years, Nike Shox grabbed the attention of sneakerheads everywhere. Just like Vince Carter’s jaw-dropping dunk.
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