1973 was quite a year to remember in Unites States history. Why, you ask? Well (for starts), our military ended their involvement in the Vietnan War after signing the Paris Peace Treaty. That’s kinda cool, we guess. Secretariat became the first horse since 1943 to win the Triple Crown. And well, The Supreme Court voted on Roe vs. Wade, making abortion a US Constitutional right. That’s downright badass if you ask us. Sadly, that was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2022. Crazy, right?
In 1973, the Miami Dolphins finished the season with a 14-0 record. They later won the Super Bowl vs. Washington Redskins (Super Bowl VIII), becoming the 1st (and only) NFL team to complete an undefeated season. You know what else happened in 1973, friends? Nike released a new shoe, The Nike Blazers. 50 years later, they remain one of Nike's most popular releases and they've transitioned into one of the top "Lifestyle" sneakers in the world. The question is what caused the evolution.
Let's talk about, homies.
The Nike Blazers aka The Trailblazers.
The Nike Blazers were first introduced as a basketball shoe Fun fact; they're named after the Portland Trailblazers as its the regional team for Nike headquarters (based in Beaverton, Oregon). You see, Hall of Fame NBA Inductee, George Gervin, was playing for the The San Antonio Spurs at the time. He was a downright superstar, “hoops legend”, as a point guard throughout the 1970’s. His cool demeanor and laid back approach earned him the nickname “Ice Man.”
Gervin was so good, he created his own signature move perfectly titled “The Finger Roll.” It’s still imitated by current superstar NBA players in attempt to perfect it with the same style and grace he did almost 50 years ago. The “Ice Man” was smooth and The Nike Blazers were a perfect fit. The slim high top with the leather exterior, the mesh tongue and the fat “swoosh” made them an instant classic. Gervin adopted/endorsed them as his signature sneaker and the rest is history.. or maybe his story.
The Blazers: From The Courts to the Boards.
Throughout the late 1970's into the early 80's, the NBA'S (National Basketball Association) recognition continued to grow. The Nike Blazer hype started to fade as key players such as Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul- Jabarr and Magic Johnson were taking the game by storm. These top tier NBA athletes were receiving shoe endorsements making Adidas and Converse All-Stars very popular throughout the league.
Along with that, the Nike brand continued the evolution of their "Nike Air" technology. In 1985, the Nike Air Jordan dropped. Michael "Air" Jordan was the most famous basketball player (if not person) on the planet and his shoes changed basketball along with hip hop and street culture... FOREVER. A few NBA players continued to wear Nike Blazers in the early to mid 90's, but their time in the league ended shortly after. For about six years, the Nike Blazers were a sneaker of the past. In 2002, they were discovered by a new demographic and they went from the backboards to the skateboards.
The Nike Blazer: the Perfect Skateboard Shoe.
The Nike Blazers traction along with its high top ankle support and material of the front toe box, made it a somewhat perfect sneaker in the minds of "skaters." It seemed that a Nike collaboration with the skate community was inevitable. In 2002, the Nike SB Dunk Low dropped. The SB (which stands for skateboarding) featured a padded tongue, padded collar and new insoles called "Zoom Air." Unfortunately, when they first launched they had low success and mediocre sales. In recent years, the Nike SB has made quite the comeback and is considered one of the most popular lifestyle sneaker worldwide.
(Pictured Above - Born X Raised Nike SB Dunk Low) #SpantoLives
In 2004, the Nike SB brand signed Paul Rodriguez, a 4x gold medalist of the X-Games, to their 1st sponsorship deal. As figurehead of the brand, Rodriguez assisted in the launch of the SB collection in April of 2004. The sneakers differed from their original collection in some ways. They had the padded tongue and Zoom Air technology but added higher quality materials and triple stitching; a staple in the sneaker community.
In 2005, Lance Mountain (a spokesperson and skateboarder for the Nike SB brand) released the Nike Blazer SB. The shoe was very similar to its OG predecessor. The major difference was it came with the technology of the SB Dunk, making it the epitome of a perfect skateboarding shoe. Mountain became the face of the Blazer SB brand the same way George Gervin did in the 1970's. With his help, the Nike Blazer was restored to its popularity and prominence.
The Nike Blazer: It's a Lifestyle.
Over the past 15+ years, the Nike Blazer has rebranded and resurrected itself as one of the most popular sneakers within the Nike collection. Why, you ask? Well, everyone's rockin 'em, homies. They're esthetically pleasing & simple, extremely comfortable and their versatility (both low top and mid) allows them to work with a wide range of different styles.
The younger generations love 'em. Influencers & celebrities ensure they have a couple/few pairs in their closets and promote them often. "Cool/trendy parents" (both moms and dads) have some. The Nike Blazers have truly become a shoe for damn near everybody. 50 years after their original release, they're everywhere, friends. Absolutely everywhere, and they're here to stay.
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