The year is 1996. You pick up your toothpick skateboard with the impractically small wheels, chuck on an XXL Girl T-shirt, a pair of incredibly baggy jeans two people could fit into and then some big and chunky, era-appropriate Etnies, Duffs or Air Walk’s before heading out to try and mimic what you saw Tom Penny do on a borrowed VHS. Does it get any better than this? Well the footwear sure did.
Though Nike silhouettes that were intended for other sports had found their way onto grip-taped decks around the world, Nike SB had not yet found its feet and would not before taking a 5 year hiatus induced by this particular eras failure. Thanks to Nike SB’s vault, we’ve ventured back in time to bring you a very brief look at each Nike SB box era and a few of the shoes that came in them. Join us on a journey through the long and rich history of Nike SB starting with the start, the beginning before it all began: the Pre SB box era.
Minimal Nike branding with a maximum effective name. We’re still wondering why these never took off with a name like that.
Though the shoe was integral in Nike SB’s learning curve, they’re anything but a tasty snack.
Nike Lien Lo
Even though the name lay low, the foreshadowing of future skate-tech did not. Shock absorption was about to really step its game up in skateboarding thanks to Air Units and Phylon mid-soles.
Suede over panels, dual-layered cup soles and selective reinforcement made this one of the strongest skate shoes available even though it strayed from Nike’s minimalistic approach to skate performance.
The Schimp definitely did not skimp on protection with its extra padding, layered ollie area coverage and a protected lacing system.
Its heart was in the right place but its tech was not. A new way of thinking when addressing lace snapping in skateboarding was very welcome but placing that same system on the sidewall of a shoe was not. At least they tried.
Though it would be another 5 years before Nike SB would discover its true potential and shape the technological future of skateboarding through endless innovation, it's somewhat humbling to know that even the best fail sometimes. Make sure you tune in next week as we cover the next step in Nike SB's box era history.