When you think of shoes made for BMX biking you probably think of Vans, Vision Street Wear, Airwalk, or maybe even Converse All Stars. But it was actually Thom McAn who in the late 70s introduced the first ever specialty BMX shoe.
The company’s JOX brand had already been around for a few years and was mostly known for making low-cost and somewhat low-quality athletic shoes when they partnered with Renny Roker, a BMX promoter and owner of the JAG BMX team to help design the JOX JAG. The shoes were completely constructed with the rider in mind, featuring sturdy soles and a special mag wheel style tread to help keep grip of the pedals.
Riders loved the shoes, if not for their quality then for fact the Thom McAn company showed genuine interest in the BMX sport. In addition to Team JAG, the company would soon become a sponsor and official shoe of Team Schwinn. Thom McAn would also be an official sponsor of the BMX World Championships.
The JOX JAG would be one of Thom McAn’s top selling shoes every year it was produced, though in the mid-80s the JOX brand changed gears and began trying to market to actual jocks by making knock-off’s of hot selling basketball shoes with their own JOX “pumps” and Jordan look-alikes. Needless to say this would be a failed venture and soon the JOX brand would fade.
It’s a shame really. It really seemed like JOX were on to something with their JOX JAG. If you look at the models pictured above they look strikingly similar to the Vans, and Airwalk shoes that would be wildly popular a few short years later.
An interesting side note the JOX JAG would be the first and only product ever produced by Thom McAn that would be named after an outside person or company.
“There’s not a lot you can say about a good tennis shoe. I guess that’s what I like about Jox, I don’t have to think about ’em.”
Anthony Sewell – Captain of Team JAG and wearer of JOX JAGs
Surely anyone who has seen the 1985 movie Desperately Seeking Susan remembers the jacket. After all it did pretty much hold the “key” to the entire movie. But don’t forget it was Susan herself that decided the boots were indeed worth trading the jacket for.
By the time the movie was released the Madonna craze had already begun and thankfully for us pieces could be found in the local shopping malls. Frederick’s of Hollywood was seeing an increase in the sales of the Merry Widow, the longline bra that Madonna frequently wore. Baker/Leeds, a leading shoe store popular with high school and college aged shoppers, was also able to jump in on the trend by introducing “The Boot”. Cause what else would you call it? Each store was given a limited stock of boots, and when those were gone stores were able to take individual orders. The boots were produced in Missouri so it really wouldn’t take too long before your order was ready. But for some teens that was not satisfactory. Just like Susan they wanted their boots now.
Surprisingly to this day it seems the poor boot is the least sought after. It might cost you several hundreds of dollars to get your hands on The Boot originally sold at Bakers/Leeds, but it will cost you thousands to get one of the promo jackets briefly sold through MTV. Julien’s Auctions has auctioned off a movie worn jacket for over $250,000, and even one of the earrings was able to fetch $12,500. Yet when one half of the original movie worn boots went under the hammer, the right one, the left was donated to Hard Rock Cafe, it sold for just over $5,000. The (original) Boot deserves a little more than that if you ask me.