Vintage Ad: Nike Air Lien Skateboarding Shoe
words // Zack Schlemmer
Beginning with Dunk hysteria in the early 2000's, then popularity of the Zoom Janoski (worn by everyone from hardcore skate rat to frat boy), and now new tech models like the Project BA, Nike SB has by 2013 become a staple in the world of skateboarding. There was a time, however, that the brand was not so accepted in the skateboarding community.
Back before the days when the Nike SB Dunk's bright colors and creative inspirations along with some clever "skate shop first" mentality marketing (now seemingly long-gone from Nike SB's ethos) wooed the average skater, no self-respecting shredder would be caught dead in a pair of bloodsucking-corporate-jock-brand Nikes. Blame it on the X-Games, Tony Hawk video games, or whatever else, skateboarding is much less "punk" than it used to be, which allows corporate brands a chance to cash in on the once "dangerous" or "vandal" lifestyle of skateboarding.
But that's really a whole different story, so let's get back to what you came here for...an old shoe ad, right? Back in the late 90's before "Nike SB" was a thing, Nike attempted - and failed - to break into skateboarding footwear with a few models like the Schimp, Air Choad (interesting name), Air Snak, and the one you see in this ad, the Air Lien. Nike had a good idea with the "What if all athletes were treated like skateboarders?" campaign (this one featuring a chained-up football field), but most skaters saw right through it as an attempt from an inauthentic corporate brand trying to get on their good side. Posers.
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