RE-Fresh: Nike Penetrator (1984)

By - October 13th, 2011

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Produced by: Dan Hwang
Written by: Jesse Carr

We started this RE-Fresh segment with the Nike Blazer, the first Nike Basketball sneaker. Made in 1973, the Blazer offered a simple silhouette and a bold swoosh through the midfoot, a design feature has become one of the most recognized logos on the planet. There were many successors to the Blazer’s simple design as a result of the buzz that shoe generated and the simple colorblocking it offered to teams, and because there was no need to switch gears and re-imagine their successful approach, Nike kept cranking out similarly-styled models for over a decade. One such model is the Nike Penetrator, which hit stores in 1984.

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Models with names derived from hoops parlance, like the Franchise, the Gamebreaker, the 3-pointer, and the Dynasty took their places on shelves next to the more popular Nike Legend, whose silhouette is strikingly similar to that of the Penetrator. The high top version has a taller profile than the Air Force 1, which came out a bit earlier in 1983. The collar is padded in a style similar to the Blazer, and the midfoot is sleek and plain, with only a subtle tonal box stitched in monochromatic thread. But what made this model stick out from the other white models with bisecting swooshes was its sleek toebox, an increasing area of focus for sneaker companies, including Nike’s main rival, adidas.

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