From the Vault: Jox Cross Country Sample Sneaker

Take a peek into our 14,000+ collection with our blog series, From the Vault! Every other week, we're sharing interesting stories about one of our artefacts.

What is the provenance of this pair? When did they enter the BSM collection?

This sample sneaker (c. 1978), the Jox Cross Country, was donated to the museum by footwear industry expert Phillip Nutt in 2013.

Are there any features that distinguish this artefact from others of the same period and geographical location?

The Thom McAn Jox was designed for the North American ‘athleisure’ market. Its' design sought to translate the sensibility of high-end athletic footwear into accessible fashion. An advertisement for the Cross Country from 1976 clearly proclaims this, “Best of all, the “cross country” model is still a winner when you are standing still. Jox. You don’t have to be one to wear them. And you don’t have to spend a bundle to buy them.”

The Jox models offered by Thom McAn were so popular that the brand opened stand-alone athletic retail chain in 1976 called JOX. According to Nutt, by the late 1977s Jox was the second largest shoe brand by sales in the US. The success of this concept spurred the Kinney Group to create Footlocker.

Can you elaborate more on this artefact?

The Cross Country had all the features of high-end athletic footwear including the use of lightweight nylon, suede details, and cushioned tongues and insoles. However, its' principal purpose was to meet the footwear needs of families at affordable prices. It was unisex, available in children’s and adult sizes, and sold for under twenty dollars USD.

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