Nike Low-Top Sneakers
Although Nike is now an omnipresent brand that’s made its mark on every major sport, it started in the 1960s making shoes strictly for runners. Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman was once a track coach at the University of Oregon, obsessed with modifying his runner shoes so that they’d help his team. Years later, Bowerman created what would become the Nike Cortez, which would set the tone for the low-top sneakers Nike would make in the coming decades.
Well before Nike was Nike, In the early-’70s, Nike released what was originally known as the Oregon Waffle, which has now come back in the form of a collaboration with Sacai as the Nike LDV Waffle. In the late-’70s, Nike released the Air Tailwind 79 which was successful enough to spawn sequels. The Supreme x Nike Air Max Tailwind 4 recently gave the product line new life.
The 1980s saw the release of one of Nike’s best selling shoes of all time, the Air Force 1 Low. Originally intended as a basketball shoe, the Air Force 1 has since become a casual classic that has been done in countless colorways and collaborations, including one with Travis Scott and Off-White. The ’80s also saw the introduction of visible Nike Air technology, allowing wearers to see the cushioning system that was the pinnacle of comfort at the time. The first shoe with a visible Nike Air bag was the Tinker Hatfield-designed Nike Air Max 1, released in 1987.
In recent years, Nike’s low top sneakers have become where the brand introduces new technology. Flyknit technology—the act of creating a “sock-like” knit upper—revolutionized sneaker construction since it landed on the market in 2012. The Nike React Element 87 was the first time React technology was made available to the masses. Along with the more affordable Nike React Element 55, the cushioning system has proven to be a success.
As Nike gears up for it’s seventh decade in business, we’re excited for what’s next.