Revisiting the Nike Skateboarding Shoe Story

With the launch of the Nike skateboarding range of shoes, Nike has extended its reach into a new territory and that is the skateboarding community. Nike now has its brand adorning all the necessary items like clothing, footwear, equipment of skateboarding and has managed to create a unique identity for them in this hitherto unexplored market.

Traditionally, shoe companies have always tried to gain valuable market share in the competitive basketball sport and that left the field free for smaller companies to make their presence felt in the skateboarding market and they have been able to hold on to their market share quite well. They were helped in this by the fact that Nike’s basketball shoes were never considered ideal for skating, though the comfort and robust ankle supports were strong motivating factors for anybody to try them on for skating as well.

However, the early part of the 1990s witnessed the emergence of skateboarding and you had brands like DC Shoes coming out with shoes that had better fabric, tensile rubber, attractive plastic eyelets and excellent soles which provided for very good traction. This in turn led to a major demand for shoes that were sleek and people quickly dispensed with the traditional blocky looking skating shoes. At this stage, Nike released a number of shoes, which were basically reinventions of the older styles, but found that they could not make much of a dent.

It was in 2002, that Nike released its Nike SB Dunk Lows with embellishments like padded tongues and a unique “Zoom Air” technology within the soles. Though this did not find much favor in the market, Nike released four more styles in the form of the Nike Skateboarding Angus, Nike SB FC, Nike Skateboarding Delta Force and Nike SB URL. Unfortunately for them, these too did not seem to impress the market.

However, in 2004, once they signed on Paul Rodriquez and released the Nike Skateboarding P-Rod, the skateboarding market took notice and very soon Nike also launched the Nike Blazer SB with the padded collars and the same “Zoom Air” feature in the soles. This proved to be a masterstroke and Nike got itself entrenched in the skateboarding industry with further releases like the Nike Skateboarding Tre and the P-Rod II. This spurred them on to release other Nike SB Dunks in limited quantity and they were quickly lapped up by even non-skaters to sell them at much higher rates.