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September 26, 2017

The First Nike Skate Shoe Designed For Women

“I used to look up how to modify my shoes online so I could make them fit better,” says Lacey Baker, Nike SB pro skateboarder. “I would put frozen plastic bags inside my shoes or spray them with water to stretch them out and make them feel like they were better molded to my feet.”

Lacey Baker, Nike SB pro skateboarder

Baker’s insight is echoed in similar anecdotes — about modifying men’s skate shoes to improve fit — from female Nike SB athletes including Leticia Bufoni, Sarah Meurle, and Josie Millard, as well as multiple female skate crews surveyed by Nike. Some of these adjustments are admittedly ritualistic, potentially helping to boost an athlete’s confidence, and involve tape, microwaving, and other similar actions. Yet they point to a very real need: a skateboarding shoe built for a woman’s foot that doesn't compromise performance or require modification. This led to the development of the first Nike skate shoe designed for women: the Women’s Nike SB Bruin High.

“The most important thing for me in footwear is a balance of durability, boardfeel, snugness and support,” adds Baker. “If it's a perfect balance, then I feel the most connected to my skateboard.”

That desired snugness is solved by a new, women’s-specific last, which debuts in the Women’s Nike SB Bruin High. With a new, sculpted fit, a shallower forefoot and a more tapered heel than the typical Men’s skate last, the shoe hugs the foot and prevents unwanted, distracting movement. This creates a close fit with enough room width-wise for necessary comfort.

“The most important thing for me in footwear is a balance of durability, boardfeel, snugness and support. If it's a perfect balance, then I feel the most connected to my skateboard.”

- Lacey Baker, Nike SB pro skateboarder

Equally important to the new last is a shift from a traditional square pattern on the foot bed to a tri-star pattern, as part of the shoe’s typical build for vulcanization. As Nike SB's first step in advancing this geometry, which will eventually appear in other shoes, this pattern improves the structure of the shoe, decreases weight and increases flexibility. These tri-star geometries have properties that help the shoe move with the foot more fluidly.

“When you put on the Bruin, it automatically feels perfect,” Baker concludes. “The shape inside the shoe fits perfectly around my foot. The back of the shoe has a slight tilt that grips my heel, while the shoe is wider towards the front, which provides that balance of support and freedom.”

The Women’s Nike SB Bruin High is available October 5 on the Nike app, nike.com and at select retailers.