The History of the Nike SB Blazer
A favoured skate shoe thanks to its vulcanised rubber sole, multi-directional traction capabilities and its abrasion-resistant leather and suede uppers, the Nike SB Blazer is a profile well-equipped to handle the wear-and-tear of any skate style. With many notable reworks since prominent pro-skater Lance Mountain’s 2005 development, the Nike Blazer owes much of its understated legacy to its rich basketball heritage.
Shop all Nike SB at Flatspot.
Shop the Nike SB Blazer at Flatspot.
An innovative breakthrough-design that put Nike on centre stage with the likes of adidas and OG court-champion’s Converse, the ‘73 Nike Blazer relied on nothing more than its crisp white underlay and iconic Swoosh logo to set it aside from anything else the sporting industry had previously seen. With a pure-leather upper, mesh nylon tongue and a court-specific vulcanised textured rubber sole, the Blazer stood the test of time, both then and now, with its cutting edge technology and legendary design. With Nike’s game-changing Air technology programme making its debut five years later on the revolutionary racing styled Tailwinds, and the monumental signing of basketball hero Michael Jordan taking place 12 years later, the Nike Blazer was a style that scored itself double-digits way before its time. Aptly named after the Portland Trail Blazers, the iconic profile from Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight is one that has seen many collaborative signings since its 1973 origin.
A player then-signed to the San Antonio Spurs, George Gervin was swiftly signed to endorse the silhouette thanks to his notoriety, collected courtside attitude, and his exemplary track record as a shooting guard. Describing the breakthrough profile as a design that was ‘out of the box’ even back in the ‘70s, Gervin carried the iconic Swoosh branded profile from its court based origins right through to its uptake in both street and hip-hop culture. With the cameras pointed at Gervin during every fast paced game, Nike proactively introduced their first ever player exclusive, the unreleased ‘Iceman’ Blazers, to boost both brand awareness and as a method of hyping up its pre-existing market ready for future exclusive collaborations. Transitioning from the courts to the centre-stage of other subcultural scenes by the early 1990’s, the 50 year old Nike Blazer is a profile with so many stories to tell.
Thanks to the profile’s grippy rubber outsole and its premium uppers, the Nike Blazer crossed over into the skate scene during the mid 90’s and has since become a favourite of many skaters. A design that was originally designed for hardwood floors is one that now outlives its archived legacy by gracing the rough finish of contemporary grip-tape decks. Before Lance Mountain’s 2005 Air Zoom restructure for Nike SB, abstract graffiti artist Futura 2000 collaborated with Nike in 2003 to release a limited-edition capsule collection of just 1000 pairs of brushed suede Blazer’s that are, even to this day, extremely rare and just as collectable. Just one year after the silhouette’s skateboarding remake by Lance Mountain, a commemorative collaboration with Supreme helped land the profile with commendable stature in both street and high-end styling. Re-imagined with quilted side panels, golden aglets and puffy snake-skin Swooshes, the obscenely-luxe aesthetic evoked by the Nike SB x Supreme Blazers cleared the way for other statement styles to follow suit, including those from the likes of Comme des Garcons, Fragment and Virgil Abloh’s Off-White 2019 release of the Blazer Mid ‘Grim Reapers’.
Fast forward to 2014, and Nike SB announced the release of a collaborative model with 2011 Thrasher Magazine ‘Skater of The Year’ Grant Taylor. Entering into the Nike SB mix to debut his very first signature model, the cargo khaki Nike SB Blazer Low GT, Grant Taylor joined the ranks alongside Stefan Janoski to host his very own signature sneaker. Known for his uniquely raw skateboarding style and his boundless energy, Taylor deservingly transformed the now-familiar skate shoe by switching out the leather panels strictly for suede whilst faithfully maintaining Nike SB’s pre-built Zoom Air unit that was now being honoured across most, if not all skateboarding profiles. A pro-model with a playful persona, the 2014 release of the Nike SB Blazer Low GTs offered the skate community a futuristic spin on an old-school classic that effectively shaped both society and sporting culture as we know it.
Since Grant Taylor’s ‘White, Club Gold & Midnight Navy’ Blazer Low GT release from 2020, the Nike SB Blazer GT line-up has continued to grow, with more recent gum soled colourways including monochromatic shades of both ‘White & Black’ and ‘Black & White’. Designed with oversized embroidery, enlarged Swooshes and details inspired by patchwork tailoring, the Nike SB Blazer Mid Premium offers a deconstructed twist on the court classic, with both ‘Night Maroon’ and ‘Black & Anthracite’ colourways available. Designed with 3D accents and wrinkled fabric finishings, the Nike SB Blazer Mid Premium Plus adds an additional layer of texture and creativity to the iconic mid-cut skate shoe.
Continuing the brand’s on-going #supportyourlocalskateshop Nike SB Orange Label collection, new Nike SB Blazer colourways including the Wolf Grey and Pro Green releases from early 2023, whilst the ‘Summit White’ Nike SB Blazer Mid arrives as part of an undyed series, alongside a similarly styled Nike SB Pogo and Nike SB Ishod Premium detailed with customisable neutral uppers and exposed care label tags. Recent collaborations include the Nike SB x Doyenne Skateboards Blazer Low crafted from recycled pineapple waste, whilst 2020 Skater of the Year Mason Silva’s first signature colourway features chain-link references and custom hand-drawn artwork displayed across each insole. With a legacy that stretches far beyond the skate scene to bury itself deep within sporting history, the Nike Blazer profile has permeated its way across cultures and communities to become an iconic sneaker loved by all - skaters, street dwellers and sporting legends alike.
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