Nike brought back some of the 80’s nostalgia this year when they released a couple of colorways from the Bo Jackson shoes series. Bo Jackson is considered one of the greatest athletes in history, being the first to play baseball and football in the North American Major Leagues in the same year, being named an All Star in both of them. During 1986 to 1994 he played in the NFL for Los Angeles Riders and in MLB for the California Angels, Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals.

In the late 1980s, Nike was pushing the boundaries of athletic footwear design, aiming to create products that catered to the evolving needs of athletes across various disciplines. Bo Jackson’s reputation as a cross-sport phenomenon aligned seamlessly with Nike’s ambitions to redefine athletic footwear. This alignment led to a partnership that would not only shape the trajectory of sports marketing but also revolutionize the concept of athletic endorsements. The Bo Jackson shoes series came only second to Michael Jordan’s deal with Nike that started around the same time.

While Bo Jackson does not have an official endorsement shoe from Nike he’s been heavily linked with the Nike Air Trainer SC which he promoted at the time during the iconic “Bo Knows’ ‘ campaign. It was a campaign that showcased his sporting abilities and versatility which aligned perfectly with the goal Nike was trying to reach with their new trainers. This campaign, combined with the innovative Nike Air Trainer SC shoes, became a beacon of cross-training excellence and a reflection of Bo Jackson’s larger-than-life persona.

The History of Bo Jackson Shoes

Nike Air Trainer 1 Clorophyl

Nike Air Trainer 1

Year Released: 1987

Available On:

The Nike Air Trainer 1 designed by Tinker Hatfield was released in 1987, being the first cross-training shoe ever released. Created for multi-sport training, the Air Trainer 1’s innovative midfoot strap ensured a secure fit, while the visible Air cushioning technology delivered unparalleled comfort. Its impact reverberated far beyond the gym, as its bold style captured the essence of ’80s athletic fashion. Bo Jackson wore this shoe during his career John McEnroe is the one who was heavily linked to this model. This shoe also introduced for the first time the Volt color on a Nike product with the Chlorophyll versions.

Nike Air Trainer 3 Bo Jackson Medicine ball

Nike Air Trainer SC

Year Released: 1988

Available On:

The Nike Air Trainer SC II was introduced a year later, at the time when the Air Jordans were dominating the market and just before the Nike Air Max 90 was released. For this model Nike added some new features like neoprene and an updated bootie to make it even more comfortable. The Air Trainer SC 2 featured enhanced cushioning and support, making it a go-to choice for athletes seeking versatility. Its distinctive midfoot strap provided a locked-in feel, while the iconic Air unit delivered responsive comfort.

Nike Air Trainer 2 White Infrared

Nike Air Trainer SC II

Year Released: 1989

Available On:

The Nike Air Trainer SC II was introduced a year later, at the time when the Air Jordans were dominating the market and just before the Nike Air Max 90 was released. For this model Nike added some new features like neoprene and an updated bootie to make it even more comfortable. The Air Trainer SC 2 featured enhanced cushioning and support, making it a go-to choice for athletes seeking versatility. Its distinctive midfoot strap provided a locked-in feel, while the iconic Air unit delivered responsive comfort.

Nike Air Trainer SC aUBURN

Nike Air Trainer SC III

Year Released: 1990

Available On:

In 1990 the Nike Air Trainer SC III was released and the Auburn colorway became the most popular among Bo Jackson shoes series. With this edition Nike paid tribute to Bo’s college team the Auburn Tigers. When this shoe was first retroed it was named “Nike Air Trainer SC” and remains this way to this day. For this model Nike dropped the obvious strap and replaced it with “sail cloth” straps that connected with the lacing system. This served as inspiration for the brand to come up with the Nike Flywire technology later on.

Nike Air Bo Turf

Nike Air Bo Turf

Year Released: 1990

Available On:

In 1990, Nike introduced the Nike Air Bo Turf, a low top trainer that became the inspiration for the Air Cross Trainer series. This versatile training shoe, endorsed by Bo Jackson, embodied the spirit of cross-discipline athleticism. Its durable construction and aggressive traction made it the perfect choice for turf sports, while the visible Air unit ensured optimal cushioning during intense workouts. The sleek design, featuring Bo Jackson’s iconic logo, captured the essence of his dynamic style.

Nike Air Trainer Max 91 gray yellow

Nike Air Max Trainer 91

Year Released: 1991

Available On:

While was never officially linked to it, the final model considered one of Bo Jackson shoes series is considered to be the Nike Air Max Trainer 91. It was released in the same year as the Reebok Pump Omni Zone II .For this model Nike brought back the straps concept from the earlier SC models and added an enhanced heel counter for more stability. At the time of its release it was considered the top of the line in terms of trainers for athletes. This sneaker laid the foundation for the Nike Huarache to be released the following year, an even more versatile training model.

Decades after their release the Bo Jackson shoes series continues to be some of the most sought after on the market. This is despite the fact that their comfort level is outdated when compared to modern trainers. In the last three decades Nike retroed these models numerous times. Aside from these models the brand used the “Medicine Ball” colorway to come up with some memorable editions of the Nike Dunk High in 2007, Nike Air Trainer Max 360 in 2014 and the Nike Trainer Huarache in 2015 just to name a few. Given the popularity of the colorways and the models released in that era we can only expect more released every year.