TISH: Bo Signs with Chicago

Today in sports history the Chicago White Sox gambled with the signing of Bo Jackson. At the time Bo Jackson’s future in the MLB and NFL were in serious doubt. For those unfamiliar (go watch the ’30 For 30′ Bo Knows, now) with why signing a 28 year old Jackson would be risky then watch this clip:

It didn’t look like much but his hips sustained enough damage to jeopardize his future. The Kansas City Royals waived Bo’s contract because of his injury. Franchises across Major League Baseball were weary of signing Jackson off waivers but 16 days later the White Sox took the risk. A 1 year deal (plus 2 player options) with only 700k of it being guaranteed; proving even the Sox had little faith.

Through all the uncertainty Nike continued to feature Bo. He was the face of their training category. Jackson’s embodiment of the duel threat athlete continued to inspire Nike Training’s multi-sport design mindset. 1991 saw the release of Nike’s (then)flagship trainer, the Air Trainer Max, commonly referred to as the Bo Jackson Trainer.


Like the name implies, the Trainer Max features an internal Air unit. Design cues from a variety of notable Nike silhouettes can be found throughout the shoe. A Huarache-like ankle support system locks the foot into the shoe for lateral and vertical movements. Tech Challenge inspires the heel design. The strap setup appears to be a precursor to the design later used in 1992’s Air Raid basketball shoe. Lastly the Swoosh mirrors that of the Air Trainer 1. Material possibilities are endless; nubuck, mesh, 3m, and leather each work well throughout the upper.

  • Bo Jackson’s story is one of the greatest ‘what if’s’ in sports but the Air Trainer Max ’91 was a sure shot (with four retros since 2010 alone). History favors Bo though his White Sox career gamble didn’t payoff. Peep some recent renditions of Nike’s ’91 Bo Jackson trainer. Have you ever owned a pair of ’91’s? Tell us in the comments section below.
2010 retro via Nike
2013 retro with Raiders branding and 3m upper
2013 retro (perfect for those Eagles bandwagon fans)
images via Solecollector
2014 retro with a fresh take on materials via SneakerNews
2014 retro OG color blocking via Solecollector

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