RIP: Genealogy of Speed

In 2004, Nike launched Genealogy of Speed, a cool Flash microsite that charted the history of Nike shoes from 1966 to 2004. I mourn its passing.

A few years ago I stumbled across a very cool Flash site that Nike had done in 2004 called the Genealogy of Speed. It was an interactive family tree of Nike shoes dating back to the original Bowerman prototypes. Up the left side it had a year-by-year menu with small boxes that when clicked would load pictures, movies and other information about a particular shoe in the main body of the page, as well as draw lines to the ancestors and offspring of that particular shoe model. I liked it for the beautiful design, but I loved it for the history it contained and how it reminded me of the great Nike shoes I’d worn and wished I’d had as a kid in the early 1980s. They were things of beauty: the Eagle, the Mariah, the American Eagle that Salazar wore in his world record run of 2:08:13 in NYC. Genealogy of Speed was a testament to what I still consider Nike’s Golden Age.

Sadly, it appears the Genealogy’s time is up. I recently clicked the link I had for the Genealogy of Speed site and got a big, ugly and impersonal 404 error message from nike.com. Try it for yourself… if you must:

http://www.nike.com/speed/genealogy/detect.html

In my attempts to find the site somewhere, I did find a this cool Genealogy of Speed mural, designed by Nike Brand Design and Big-Giant of Portland, deep in the bowels of the AIGA website:

Perhaps like retro Waffle Trainers, the Genealogy of Speed site will be reborn some day, but until then I have my memories… and a couple of crappy screen caps I found online.

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