Nike History // A Look Back at Nike Shox Technology

Once a revolutionary running shoe, the Nike Shox is now a sought-after style with a look and feel like no other. Its space-age upper is crafted to work with Nike’s patented Shox cushioning to provide a high-tech running experience, which delivers responsive cushioning, and in turn lessens the risk of injury. To truly understand the evolution of this shoe, it’s best to go back to the beginning.

It started in 1984, when designers at Nike had the idea to integrate a spring-like component into the midsole design of their performance running shoes. They drew inspiration for this idea from Harvard University’s revolutionary ‘tuned’ indoor track, which offered a benefit to runners that had not been experienced before. This type of track is crafted with a super-hard yet springy surface that increases speed while decreasing discomfort associated with repetitive heel strike.

The design team believed runners, no matter their level of experience or athletic ability, could benefit from having this springy rebound technology in their shoes. Stage one in the creation of what would come to be known as “Shox technology” featured prototypes that utilized steel springs. These springs were integrated into the frame with the goal of maximizing speed while lowering discomfort. Although the team knew they were onto something great, the function of the shoe still needed improvement to reach their performance expectations.

Travel into the 1990s, and this forward-thinking construction traded in its steel springs for a new injected-molded platform held in place by supportive foam pillars. After that, it took designers seven more years to land on the final silhouette. The end result was a midsole that utilized cushioning polyurethane foam columns and paired them with ultra-supportive TPU heel counters for support. This was expected to evenly distribute underfoot energy absorption during the initial heel strike and then return the energy to the runner as the runner transfers their weight forward. In 2000, after 16 years in the making, Nike finally presented this technology to a new millennium of runners and the result forever changed the world of running. This generation of runners could now benefit from both the performance aspects of Shox technology as well as the visual appeal of its futuristic upper design.

Although Nike Shox shoes were initially designed to aid in a runner’s performance, they’ve now taken on a new life as a recognizable streetwear style. The Shox’s unique appearance, mixed with its ability to take on color, has made it a solid addition to Nike’s ever-evolving running shoe line.

One style that stands out from the rest in the Shox line is the NZ style. It’s the only version that utilizes a one-piece upper with a supportive lacing system that hugs the middle of the foot to offer a supportive, flexible fit, and locked-down feel.  Making it a prime addition to any running-inspired sneaker collection.