words // Zac Dubasik
images // Nick DePaula
Bo Jackson may have left a lasting legacy on both the football and baseball fields, but his mark on pop culture can’t be overlooked. Even today, the “Bo Knows” Nike campaign rivals the most beloved in the company’s history. One of the shoes prominently featured in those ads was the Air Trainer SC IIs.
For me personally, the Air Trainer SC II was the introduction to my passion for sneakers. Had things gone according to my plan though, it may be a whole different story. A pair of Fire Red Air Jordan IVs on sale at JC Penneys was the original pair I planned to get that fateful day in early 1990. After months of begging (and, of course, the aforementioned price drop), my mom finally agreed to let me get them – as long as my dad also gave his OK.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t at the mall with us that day. After what seemed like a five-hour drive home, I burst into the house to pop the all-important question to my dad, only to hear him respond with a “yes.” (I can’t imagine I’ve felt that level of happiness too many times since that day.) Next came the long ride (approx. 3 miles) back to the mall to pick up the IVs.
Then disaster struck. They were gone. While it seemed like hours, in reality only about 30 minutes had passed, but the one pair that was left, which just so happened to by my size, had been bought. My mom must have somehow known what a crushing moment that was for me, and was quick to suggest looking for another pair. That “replacement” pair ended up being the Air Trainer SC II. I was already a huge Bo Jackson fan, and was quick to see the situation as not something I had to settle for, but something that was actually better all along.
To this day, I still remember getting them home, and, being my first pair of kicks with visible Air, assuming I’d then be able to increase my vertical enough to touch the living room ceiling. (For the sake of this story, let’s just say I could.) I wore and loved those shoes until they completely fell apart. Even then, I still tried to salvage what I could by cutting off the rubber tongue logo as a memento.
When the opportunity presented itself to help create a Nike Training shoe, there was no way I couldn’t look to the kicks that started it all for me as an inspiration. The Aquamarine and Citron colors of the Sole Collector Air Max Trainer 1 come straight from the accents along the most well-known colorway of the original Air Trainer SC II – the White/Cement Grey/Aquamarine/Citron pair that Bo wore in the original print ads and commercials.
Obviously, we like to do things a bit more loudly, so we flipped the accents into the base colors of the shoe. While not removable like the original, the strap was also added as a nod to the SC II, and even the neoprene collar pays tribute to the original’s materials. As a final touch, you’ll see an image of the Air Trainer SC II itself on the underside of the right tongue tag.