In 1996, skateboarding footwear was still figuring itself out. Skate-specific brands like Etnies, éS, and DC were beginning to hit their stride by ’96 with classic models like the Etnies Sal 23 and éS Accel. But mainstream brands like Nike and adidas were another story, who were trying to get in on the skateboarding market with little success. Skateboarding culture shunned the mainstream brands in favor of the more underground skater owned and operated shoe brands.
On this page we see a few of the early Nike skateboarding models, long before the days of the Nike SB branding, with the Schimp, Air Choad, and Air Snak. Unfortunately for Nike, the names of the shoes are the most memorable thing about them. They had little success convincing skaters to buy their big-time corporate skate shoes.
One brand that fit somewhere in the middle of this underground vs. corporate skate shoe equation was Airwalk. Throughout the 1980′s Airwalk had been one of the top skate shoe companies worn by many pros. Models like the high top Prototype set the standard for wild 80′s skate shoes. By 1996 Airwalk had fallen out of favor with most core skaters as the models became less skate and more casual oriented. Eastbay always had all the great Airwalks in the “Casual” department like the mid-90′s standard One. Available in a plethora of color combinations, the One could be found at every school in America on any number of “punk” or “skater” kids. Elsewhere, we have two more classic Airwalk models on this page with the 900 and Void, as well as skate/casual models by adidas, Puma, and Simple.