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Nike Skate Shoes Strike Back

One year after Nike's big move into skate shoes -- how are they doing?


Nike Dunk Pro SB skate shoe

the Dunk model

Updated January 20, 2004
The skateboard industry is a paradox. The skater attitude has long been one of independence and anti large corporations. Small skate shops were the only place to get cool, unique gear and chain stores were shunned. But, over the last decade, the skate industry has grown to $2.5 billion! Skate shoe sales make up more than half the industry, at $1.6 billion in sales. Brands like DC, Etnies and Osiris are seen everywhere, and start to look a little … well, a little like a large corporation.

But though the skate industry has exploded over the last 10 years and skateboarding has become cool, and skate labels are good money, the skater ideals still stand. Most skaters are still looking to be counter culture and unique, so they want to visit the small shops and buy something that they can only get there.

And that’s Nike’s secret. They did it smart this time. You don’t find Nike skate shoes in mall chain shops. You don’t find them at huge sporting goods stores. Nike only sells their skate shoe line at small skate shops, with the hopes that this will encourage independently minded skaters to buy them. And, so far it’s working. Shops that carry them report that the demand for the shoes is high. Kyle Reynolds from Cals Pharmacy in Portland, Oregon says the shoes are selling "rediculously well" and that they are being bought by "true skaters" as much as anyone. Mr. Reynolds did say however that Nike might have some way to go yet with the style of thier shoes.

And style is important, but it's also important to get a high quality shoe, and that's just what Nike promises. One way that Nike is attempting to make a better skate shoe is their attention to the way skating can hurt the knees. A lot of young skaters might not think this is too important, but most likely they will think so later. Skating is a harsh sport for the knees, and anything that will keep you skating when you’re 30 and keep you walking when you’re 50 is a good thing.

But all this aside, the question still remains, are these shoes accepted by skaters now? We would be stupid to assume that everyone who buys Nike skate shoes are hard core skaters. Skate style has become popular, too. It’s also been only a year since the Dunk made its re-appearance, so a lot still remains to be seen. It all depends on the same old things – price, quality, and the total unpredictability of people.

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