Jordan was fined $5,000 for wearing the shoes, but instead of taking them off the court, Nike decided it was great exposure for the brand and chose to pay all of MJ’s fines so he could continue to wear the shoes. Over the years, Nike has transformed into a brand that caters to all. Heading out for a party, there’s Nike casual shoes. Planning a game of football, you have Nike sports shoes. You name your need and you shall have it addressed by the vast collection of Nike shoes online. Nike also took action toward getting its original Michael Jordan-loving clientele back by reviving new versions of retros that resonated with them. Cohen said that the Nike Air logo was originally on the back of early Jordan shoes because the Jumpman logo pictured here wasn’t made right away.
Steamrolling into the ‘90s, Nike found innovative ways to advertise why they were the best at show – a tactic that remains essential to their continuous success – while expanding their product line tenfold. The addition of luminaries across a myriad of sports helped as well. Fast-forward to the present, and the brand still rests comfortably atop of the totem pole. If there’s rules to this game, Nike – as stellar a provider of performance shoes and apparel as it manufactures lifestyle items – wrote the manual.
After losing Kanye West and losing its ranking as a top sneaker seller to Adidas, the Jordan Brand decided to do something Cohen said it actively stayed away from previously: non-athlete collaborations. Nike’s latest cushioning system debuted on the Joyride Run in 2019. The shoe uses four pods filled with TPE beads that compress to absorb shocks. The pouches are wrapped in SR02, a super-soft foam (normally too soft to use in shoes) that helps smooth the gaps between the pouches. Although unique, Nike’s not the first to develop a beads-in-pouches system—Puma created a similar platform in 2017—and we found the Joyride delivers unremarkable performance for a steep price. It’s not included here.
When we perform this calculation for every pair of races in our data and measure the effect of switching to any kind of popular shoe, we see that runners who switch to these Nike shoes improved significantly more than runners who switched to any other kind of shoe. No other shoe comes close to having the same effect. This difference is not explained by faster runners choosing to wear the shoes, by runners choosing to wear them in easier races or by runners switching to the shoes after running more training miles. In a race between two marathoners of the same ability, a runner wearing these shoes would have a significant advantage over a competitor not wearing them.
The Air Zoom Structure makes a good pick for runners who need some extra guidance in their stride. This shoe provides it with Nike’s Dynamic Support system, a layer of firmer foam along the inside portion of the midsole that counters overpronation, and an overlay on the upper that stiffens the heel of the shoe. In addition, Flywire cables and a partial foot wrap give you a dialed-in fit, and blown rubber cushioning and a Zoom Air unit in the forefoot absorb shocks without sacrificing energy return.