February 28, 2014 BY Aaron Kr. / 16
When most people think of action sports as they pertain to the sneakerhead world, it will most likely be skateboarding that first comes to mind, and rightfully so. The mid 2000s SB Dunk craze helped to popularize skateboarding shoes with skaters and non-skaters alike, and in turn, helped other elements of the culture to spill out into the mainstream and become a big money business. Roughly a decade later, skate style has worked its way into the very core of streetwear and hip-hop fashion in a seamless way where the pre-conceived lines that dictate who can wear what have become completely blurred.
During the same stretch that Nike SB and the skate aesthetic were infiltrating pop culture on a mass scale, so were action sports in general. Thanks to the X-Games and other budding venues, skateboarders, snowboarders and BMX riders were quickly going from names and faces usually limited to magazines and team videos to highly visible personalities that were not only regularly featured competing on primetime television, but also getting their own reality shows and non-sports-related product endorsement deals. With that, a new breed of counterculture stars were born and the world has been a more colorful place ever since.
To accommodate the large non-skateboarding segment of the quickly growing action sports market, Nike introduced the 6.0 category in 2005. It wasn’t long before rising star BMX rider, Nigel Sylvester, essentially became the face of Nike 6.0 and helped bring some excitement and street cred to the fledgling imprint. While he
never received a signature model during his tenure there, he helped shape the identity of the 6.0 line and repped it with style right up until the end of its run. A few years back, Nike re-organized their action sports categories, and while the 6.0 designation met its demise, the Swoosh was smart enough to hang onto Nigel as a member of the family.
Today, the walls between the different Nike Action segments aren’t nearly as impermeable and it’s pretty plain to see that many of the footwear needs are quite similar. Nigel Sylvester has been riding in SB Dunks for the past few years and it’s not a stretch to understand why the shoe would be a good fit for the BMX crowd as well. Now, these two worlds officially come together as BMX meets Nike Skateboarding courtesy of the Nigel Sylvester SB Dunk High.
Dubbed the S.O.M.P. edition, Nigel’s Dunk stylishly bridges the gap between skateboards and bikes and reminds us all that these two staples of action sports are not so different from each other. Slowly but surely, projects like this one are helping to put BMX in the limelight and there should be plenty of room for more like-minded organic-feeling crossovers moving forward thanks to the growing notoriety and engaging personalities of riders like Nigel Sylvester. The S.O.M.P. Dunk High will hit Nike SB accounts next Saturday, March 8th, but before it does, we caught up with Nigel to get the inside story on his first SB shoe and how it all came together, so read on for the full interview and an exclusive detailed look at the shoe.