In 1917, Chuck Taylor was the first to introduce the world to a shoe developed specifically for basketball; the Converse All-Star. They were all black, with a rubber sole and a canvas body that laced up over the top of the ankle. It’s hard to believe that for the next fifty years this basic design would be renowned as the world best basketball shoe. By the time the 70’s rolled around, Converse developed a slightly more modern version of their All-Star model, but overall the Converse had become outdated. Their shoes were bland in design and primitive in functionality. Then in The 1980’s, the basketball world was stunned with the emergence of Nike’s line of basketball shoes. It finally appeared that all day shoes had a new gold standard of how they were measured. With their stylish designs, use of technology, and with the stamp of approval from the NBA’s top players, Nike is considered to produce the world’s best basketball shoes.
Nike has always managed to turn heads with their ability to produce a stylish shoe, combining a classic look, with just enough modern flare to grab attention. In 1983, Nike released their Air Force 1 model. With its eye catching Nike swoosh symbol and original ankle strap, Nike instantly became a fashion icon in the in the basketball world. Since then Nike basketball shoes have captivated players with their new designs, now even offering a website where the buyer can customize shoes from the latest trending models down to the classics. Nike has remained the model of style and design in part, to their technological advancement.
Along with providing a stylish shoe, Nike technology has given players a comfortable and lightweight shoe that remains responsive on the court. From being the first to implement a shoe with an air sole, as well as a shoe with spring-like shocks, Nike has been a pioneer of the basketball shoe industry. Recently Nike created a shoe composed of several original footwear materials. In the shoe known as the Kobe VII, the upper and mid-section is made of vectran, which is used in Nike’s Flywire technology. Vectran is a very strong, light weight fiber that is thinner than human hair, and normally used in the production of bicycle tires. With the vectranmaterial being lightweight and durable, it provides the Kobe VII shoe with maximum explosiveness in every stride. The outsole of the shoe is made of XDR rubber, (X-tra durable rubber) providing a stable shoe with optimal traction on the court. If the previously mentioned attributes of the shoe were not enticing enough, The Kobe VII shoe also comes with two types of insoles to adapt to a particular athlete’s style of play. One is made of cushlon, and offers a soft form fitting sole, with a supportive ankle sleeve. The other is made of phylon, and offers a firm, more responsive sole without an ankle sleeve, allowing more mobility. Due to their inventive technology, and trendy style, Nike has appealed to the NBA’s best athletes.
From the era of Michael Jordan to today’s era of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James Nike basketball shoes are worn by the NBA’s best athletes. In 1985 Nike made a huge statement in the basketball world by developing a signature shoe for Michael Jordan. At the time the NBA required its players to wear a shoe that included the color white on either the upper or middle part of the shoe. Any shoe not abiding to this pattern was outlawed. So when Jordan stepped onto the court wearing shoes covered in red and black, he was fined five thousand dollars. The NBA deemed them too colorful. Jordan however ignored this rule and continued to play in them anyway. He showed the world how great Nike shoes were, choosing to pay the fine every time he stepped on the court. Eventually the NBA realized that they were receiving a lot more attention in the media due to Jordan’s rebellion against their dress code. This footwear controversy made people want to watch more games, thus making the NBA more money. The NBA then decided to change its policy on shoe color, allowing Jordan to wear is beloved Nike’s, free of cost. People would pay to find out if the Nike shoes Jordan was wearing offered an unfair advantage against his competition. This hyped up accusation created a stir around the league. Nike basketball shoes were thought to be a must have item, in order to compete at the highest level. Following Jordan’s signature line of Nike’s, players such as Penny Hardaway and Charles Barkley decided to lace up in Nike basketball shoes as well. Today it is no coincidence that Nike endorses NBA superstars including Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant. With The NBA’s increasing skill level, its players look to Nike to give them a shoe that offers a competitive edge.
With their ability to meet the athletic demands of the NBA’s most talented players, the world has been able to catch a glimpse of Nike’s greatness. They are considered the best in their business, and show no signs of being surpassed by competitors. From their unique sense of style to their ingenious technological concepts for functionality, Nike offers a quality of basketball shoe that comes second to none.