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NIKE Aces Competition

August 8, 2005 03:24 PM

If there's one brand that has revolutionized the tennis shoe industry, it's Nike. By including advanced cushioning systems, light-weight upper materials and innovative stability systems, Nike has redefined the acceptable performance of tennis shoes.

One of the biggest advantages for Nike tennis is that it can borrow shoe technologies developed by Nike for a variety of different sports and fine-tune them for use in a tennis shoe. For instance, the development of more and more sophisticated cushioning systems in Nike tennis shoes can be traced to developments in Nike running shoes.

There's no doubt that runners need plenty of cushioning from their shoes, and it was in Nike running shoes that we first saw Nike Air, Air Max and Air Zoom cushioning technologies. In 2001, Nike revolutionized the running shoe by introducing the Nike SHOX cushioning system. While traditional cushioning systems focused solely on absorbing energy at impact, SHOX technology also focused on returning energy for the athlete's next step.

Sixteen years in development, the Nike SHOX system was inspired by an indoor running track with a very springy response. Unlike the SHOX system seen in the Nike SHOX Ace tennis shoe tested here, early SHOX development focused on a variety of springs, such as open and close leaf spring applications. SHOX development continued from 1984 through the early 1990s, but prototypes lacked the stability, durability and light weight required for a practical application. In 1997 Nike developed a SHOX shoe with four injection molded SHOX columns and the earlier leaf spring designs were abandoned. Four years later, the first Nike SHOX running shoe was released.

True to Nike's development of its Air cushioning technologies, it was not long before the SHOX system started to make its way into other sports. In 2004, Nike released several SHOX basketball shoes, including the SHOX Explosive and the SHOX Elevate. Nike introduced the SHOX Glamour women's tennis shoe a year later. Developed for WTA professional Serena Williams, the SHOX Glamour was the first tennis shoe to feature SHOX technology.

With female players already enjoying the benefits of SHOX technology on the tennis courts, the guys were left eagerly anticipating the release of the SHOX Ace men's tennis shoe. When the SHOX Ace became available in late April of 2005, we hit the courts for an extended playtest.

To read more of the NIKE Shox Review click here.




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