NIKE are well-known for testing their new technology on the feet of athletes prior to public-availability. This gives the brand ample time to amend and iron-out issues that may arise during tech or a model’s pilotstage. However, in the case of Swoosh’s Shox range, this period of refinement is rumoured to have lasted 16 years.
The idea first arose in 1984, with Nike’s technical-engineers hoping to introduce and achieve the ‘goal of optimizing energy return’ back through the wearer’s foot. Early designs utilised a steel spring within a running shoe’s midsole – a simple test to assess whether running economy and effort could be reduced through the incorporation of a basic spring-system.
Yet, the ‘twin-plate’ system only surfaced in 1997, with columns or pillars filled with foam suspension – this was the original Nike Shox. In 2000, Shox became available for public consumption.
A prime example of the dual-layer spring system, is the R4 model widely stocked across size?stores. A factor which made this model stand-out at the time of production, was the way different subcultures adopted it as the shoe typically worn by the associated few. Bodybuilders were Italy’s target audience when heavy-lifting, in areas even overtaking the Air Max 97 in popularity. In Northern Europe, the silhouette was taken-on as on popular amongst football fans due to its likening to the standard astro-turf trainer – except a little morestreet. A football boot for the street if you will.