For Nike SB, playing it safe has never been part of the business plan. The Nike SB Janoski and Koston are two of its staple shoes, but that hasn’t stopped it from experimenting with new colorways, materials, technology, hybrids, etc. For instance, the Nike SB Stefan Janoski Max Premium is a trainer-inspired version of the Janoski that features the legendary Max Air Unit for added comfort and energy rebound.
The shoes simply referred to as “Kostons,” have seen their fair share of redesigns, quick strikes, styles and experiments as well. Most recently, the Nike SB Koston 3 Hyperfeel shocked the world with its use of the Flyknit technology borrowed from the Nike Soccer division. Other styles of the Kostons that have made recent waves online are the Koston Hypervulc, which feature a vulcanized sole, the Koston Max, a trainer inspired version of the Koston, and the Eric Koston Souland, a collaboration Nike SB did with the Danish apparel brand, Soulland.
While the Janoskis can be found in any crowded high-school hallway across America, it’s the heritage Nike silhouettes Nike SB reintroduced to the world that helped the brand tap the sneakerhead market, and appeal to the dedicated, core skateboarding market. Drawing on the classic style of its heritage silhouettes, Nike SB (NikeSB) has successfully reintroduced the Dunk Premium, Dunk Low, Blazer, Bruin, and the All Court - all styles that were introduced as basketball or tennis shoes in the 70’s and 80’s.
The Blazer and Bruin were both basketball shoes, and the All Court, a tennis shoe. Today, the Nike SB Blazer Low GT, Nike SB Bruin Hyperfeel, and Nike SB Zoom All Court CK are all popular skateboard silhouettes thanks to updates to the soles, sockliners, materials, and tread. While these changes increased the durability and boardfeel, the original style of the silhouettes is intact. You can still see the Bruin in the Nike SB Zoom Bruin and the Blazer in the Nike SB Zoom Blazer Premium SE.
Another heritage home run for Nike has been the Nike SB Dunk High Premium and the Nike SB Dunk Low Pro Ishod Wair. Both were designed off the Dunk basketball silhouette released in ‘85. But Nike SB wouldn’t be nearly as popular if it weren’t for its unique approach to marketing, its team of riders, and its ability to acclimate and keep up with an industry that moves lightning fast.
Nike SB has successfully done the unthinkable: it’s not only made it in a hyper-competitive industry that favors local shops, small brands, and core brands, it's done it as a "big corporation." And not only is Nike competing in the industry, but through careful and calculated releases, designs, videos, and respect for the sport, Nike SB has become one of the leaders in the skateboard shoe industry.