Forgotten Shox

With a catalog as deep as Nike Basketball’s, some shoes get lost in the crowd. Technology operates in the same manner. Who remembers Palm Pilots? Not many people, the personal organizer existed in the early years of handheld technologies alongside cell phones. A few years later cell phones would start offering all the benefits of a personal organizer without having to carry a second device (over simplification). What we’re saying is that some shoes (or tech) existed in transitional phases of design, materials, aesthetic and/or technology.

University of Illinois PE

2005’s Nike Shox Bomber existed during shifts in all four categories mentioned above. The Shox Bomber commonly takes a backseat in history to it’s predecessors like the VC line, BB4 and Stunner but in no way is the shoe wack. Sneakerheads have a hard time being objective with Nike Shox as it is, so a lot of good shoes don’t get the love that they should. The Bomber had color blocking options for days. The use of three panels divided by clean lines made for limitless combinations on Nike ID. Sharp, vertical, lines allowed for simple execution of dark/light contrast; horizontal Shox only added to the effect. Take these Jermaine O’Neal PE’s for example, the black base beautifully highlighted with maize piping. 

Or these ‘home’ PE’s…

Much like the player famous for wearing them, Jermaine O’Neal, Bombers were released at the end of an Era. Fittingly, O’Neal would lead the Pacers kinda far into the Playoffs; he couldn’t fight the fact that the Pistons were too good. Isolation driven post-players like O’Neal would have a few more years of success but the game would evolve to a wing/guard-centric league. Nike Shox followed a similar trajectory; Vince Carter made the tech (as a viable basketball option) relevant but after the VC III (also from 2005) was the last truly great Nike x VC Shoe design. We’re not saying the VC IV wasn’t good, but the wow factor was far lesser than previous iterations. Not many people wanted to wear Shox (runners like the Shox NZ excluded) to the movies; shoes like the Bomber were exclusively for the hardwood.

Consumers started wanting more casual applications to their hoops shoes. LeBron’s first two signature models didn’t have big, obviously basketball tech like Shox and achilles/ankle cut-outs; they looked good with pants and a t-shirt in ways VC and Bomber Shox couldn’t dream of. Nike wasn’t pushing ‘lifestyle’ basketball options like they are now but the aesthetic shift was palpable. The coming years would usher in an era of Nike basketball shoes that would heat up the streets, fashion and the court.

Even though basketball shoes have become more lifestyle friendly, advancements in materials hasn’t slowed down. We never see leather in modern Nike shoes. It’s either Engineered Mesh, Flyknit, or ___Posite, which is great for reducing weight and retaining fit but they don’t have the same feeling as ‘old school’ tech. There’s something beautiful about the Shox Bomber’s bulkiness. Its wide, stable, Shox columns, and the raised Swoosh over perforated leather. When wearing a pair of Bombers now – they rightfully feel like combat boots, but that’s half of the fun.  Nike released a handful of underrated Shox from 2004-2006 that just couldn’t evolve with the times… kinda sounds like the theme of Shox as a whole. 2018 appears to be the year Nike tries to reinvigorate the tech, we home they find applications in basketball for a Bomber retooling/ retro! Did you own a pair of Nike Shox Bombers? Do you have a soft spot for Shox? Tell us your memories in the comments below!

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