Nike's research team has spent more than 16 years dreaming, researching, developing and testing the concept of attaching springs to the bottom of an athlete's foot.

In Sydney this September, the dream became a reality when USA basketball player Vince Carter "shoxed" the world with his astronomical dunks wearing his new Nike Shox BB4s. Starting today, the benefits of "boing" arrive to the shores of North America with the much-anticipated introduction of the new Nike Shox line of footwear.

By using a suspension system at the heel to make the shoe spring back, Nike Shox provides unparalleled responsiveness and impact protection that is designed to harness and return an athlete's energy, providing the impetus to push a workout farther.

Although Nike Shox has been in development since 1984, it is only in recent years that valuable resources and advanced materials have become available to private enterprise. Material such as mouldable carbon fibre and foam made its way into the marketplace, which allowed Nike to perfect the Nike Shox model to a level where it could be manufactured and brought to market.

The Innovation
The principal behind Nike Shox is to add spring to the steps of athletes, leading to improved performance without compromising protection or stability. The technological breakthrough of Nike Shox is found in the spring-like columns in the heel of the shoe. The columns are produced to the highest specifications by moulding a unique, highly resilient formulation similar to materials used to reduce shock in Formula One-race cars.

Nike Shox technology has been engineered to meet the unique demands of the top three sports categories - basketball, running, and cross training.

The basketball columns are honed to the needs of players and are shaped to deform inward to maintain a stable and controlled foot orientation. The columns in the running and cross training shoes collapse efficiently to control impact - quickly at first to slow the foot, then expanding to their original height to help propel the foot through footstrike. They are equally spaced around the center of the heel to give a trampoline-style response at the point of peak rearfoot pressure. The columns for all styles are specially engineered across the size range to produce a unique feel for all sizes and body weight.

The outsole, forefoot, midsole, plate and transition wedge are engineered to work in tandem with the columns, providing the shoe's unique responsiveness, support and durability.

"Nike Shox is the most tested piece of footwear technology ever to come out of the Nike Sports Research Lab," commented Mario Lafortune, Ph.D, director of the Nike Sports Research Lab. "The results of both our field and lab testing indicate that the Nike Shox system is very unique, providing exceptional cushioning and a feeling of springiness."

Testing
Before coming to market, Nike Shox underwent a series of scientific tests all done with the strictest adherence to Nike's three main objectives - performance, protection and comfort.

These tests included biomechanical testing to better understand the performance, protection and comfort of the athlete wearing the shoe; mechanical testing to understand and quantify the physical properties of the shoe; and field testing where Nike Shox prototypes were distributed to experienced athletes to use in their area of athletic expertise.

The Nike Shox Line
The Nike Shox BB4 basketball shoe acts both as springs and shock absorbers for the feet. There is extra material built into the lateral sides, a reinforced heel and columns that collapse on the inside of the foot, allowing for acute planting and cross-overs.

The Nike Shox R4 running shoe is designed for runners seeking symmetrical and natural distribution of pressure throughout the foot while creating the smoothest and most powerful transition from heel to toe.

The Nike Shox XT4 cross-trainer is ideal for athletes looking for a balance between comfort, stability and support.

The Nike Shox BB4 will be in retail outlets across the US and Canada in mid-November, and in Asia starting on November 22, 2000. The Nike Shox R4 will be in retail outlets across the United States, Canada and Asia starting on December 6, 2000. The Nike Shox XT4 will be in retail outlets across the United States, Canada and Asia starting on December 20, 2000. All three models of Nike Shox will launch throughout Europe and Latin America in February 2001.