New renditions of the Nike SB Blazer Low pop up on sneaker stores each year, known to be quite the skateboarders’ go-to kicks. But did you know that these shoes were initially for basketball athletes? Let me take you down a quick memory lane on the SB Blazer’s leap from one sport to another and its current standing in the sneaker communities worldwide.
In the 1970s, Nike was still establishing its Swoosh in the basketball arena with its old-school leather upper, mesh nylon tongue, and thick, vulcanized rubber outsoles. Befittingly, it took its name after the regional NBA team representing the same state of origin, the Portland Trail Blazers. Nike was slowly moving its way up top until leading shooting guard, George “the Iceman” Gervin’s acceptance of a collaboration deal that helped Nike ride the fame to be one of the best basketball sneakers of its time.
However, in the wave of sneaker evolution, Blazer’s unchanging features slowly began falling out of rotation as Nike also began producing their famed AIR-cushioned sneakers, gaining favor over basketball athletes and sneaker fans alike. Yet the Blazers kept its place in the industry. The once outworn shoes became a sensation among skateboarders for its solid traction against their boards’ grip tape. The premium leather upper combined with textured outsoles brought in a hard-wearing pair against the wear-and-tear that their tricks made.
Nowadays, the Blazer line-up continues to establish its foot in the skateboarding community, fully committing with SB in its name - for skateboarding. The assemblage of the crisp leather upper, cushioned tongue, and playful takes on the colorway and designs make it a crowd-puller among its leagues. Even the non-skating folks turned their heads to the sneakers, producing a variety of style choices and collaborations with famous brands and artists.