words Alexa Wang
Off the dome, name 5 of the most iconic basketball shoes from the past 40 some-odd years? With no clear-cut answer to that question, we did some basketball sneaker research and came up with the five models you see below.
How’d we do. What model deserves to be there? What model doesn’t? What model that is not there that you would have included?
Simple, yet stylish.The Nike Dunk was first introduced in the collegiate level as part of a collection that also included uniforms, warm-ups and tees. College teams that wore the Nike Dunk had “personality.” Kentucky, Michigan, Arizona, St. Johns, need I go on? As much of an impact the Dunk had on the college scene, they somehow drifted away over time. Fast-forward to today, and the Nike Dunk is once again relevant in the sneaker game. When a sneaker manages to have a cult following during two separate decades, you know it classifies as an icon.
Air Jordan 1
If you consider yourself a part of the sneaker community/world, you already know how much of an impact the Air Jordan 1 has had in the history of basketball sneakers. Made for Michael Jordan early on during his career, the Nike Air Jordan 1 (that’s the official name) was labeled as a Nike sneaker but at the same time considered a spinoff Jordan (Brand) sneaker. When Jordan brought out the Black and Red (Bred/Banned) colorway of the Air Jordan 1, the NBA would fine MJ every time he would wear it during an NBA game since it did not follow the league’s “uniformity of uniform” rule, wherein players had to wear shoes that matched both their team’s uniform and their teammates’ sneakers. Seeing this situation as an opportunity to make some headlines, Nike decided to continue letting Michael Jordan wear the Bred 1s while they took care of paying the fine. Jordan was special on the court, and he managed to be special while wearing the Air Jordan 1. The rest is history.
Air Jordan 3
The debut of the Air Jordan 3 came with a lot of firsts. It was the first mid-cut Jordan. The first Jordan to utilize a visible air unit. The first Jordan designed by Tinker Hatfield. The first Jordan to use elephant print in its design. It was also the first Jordan with Jumpman branding on it. Not only that, but legend has it that Jordan wanted to leave Nike but the moment he saw the Tinker-designed Air Jordan 3 he fell in love with it and decided to stay with the brand. The rest is history.
Reebok Pump Omni Lite
The origin of the Reebok Pump Omni Lite can be traced back to a science lab. The goal was to make a basketball sneaker with an air bladder to help make it the most comfortable custom sneaker on the market. A hit on the court, the Reebok Pump Omni Lite gained momentum off the court when Dee Brown laced them up and wore them during the 1991 NBA Slam Dunk contest. Millions of fans all around the country saw Brown bend over and pump up his sneakers before he took flight and won the Dunk contest with his “No See Dee” dunk. The Pump’s unique features is what reserves it a spot on this list.
Nike Air Foamposite One
Although currently not as prevalent as it once was, there is no denying that at one point the Nike Air Foamposite One was the most popular basketball sneaker on the market. Rocking a unique design that changed the game for good, worn by Penny Hardaway as well as the Fab Five team, the Nike Air Foamposite One became a classic in no time. The futuristic model made its debut retailing for $200. Sneakerhads did not take kindly to that price point. But once Penny laced them up and cosigned for them, sneakerheads did not think twice about dropping two bills for them.