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20 Years Of Nike Basketball Design: Air Hyperflight (2001)

August 3, 2012 BY / 9

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Sneaker News has followed Nike Basketball back through the first half of its examination of the past twenty years, and after Tinker Hatfield’s name rang out through the first week, this second go-round has been dominated by another legendary designer.  But even with all the success of the Air Penny 1, Air Foamposite One, Flightposite and Shox BB4, Eric Avar looked to Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman for inspiration on the 2001 flagship release.  The Nike Air Hyperflight was a response to the question with which Bowerman met Avar in product meetings over the years: “Can you make it lighter?”  Click through to see the sketches that show the transition from the rocket-infused BB4 into a new era of synthetics and bold colorways and stick with Sneaker News for the second half of this series next week.

“So if Bill Bowerman was designing a basketball shoe, what would he do?”- Eric Avar

The Nike Air Hyperflight might look defiantly futuristic, but it’s actually rooted in Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman’s tireless quest for less. The Hyperflight’s lead designer, Eric Avar, recalls the start of the project. “Bill Bowerman had just passed away, it was a powerful time. Bill was a spiritual icon: a teacher, coach — and what he means to Nike is indescribable.”

On the indoor basketball court on Nike’s campus, Avar happened to stumble into a rehearsal screening of a video celebrating Bill’s life. “It was the day before the memorial and I wasn’t meant to be there watching it,” recalled Avar. “I was one of the only people in there and was totally lost in the moment.”

It was then that the question of how Bill would design a basketball shoe struck Avar. He’d met with Bowerman a few times over the years. “Anything I showed him he’d ask, ‘Can you make it lighter?’ He definitely instilled that obsession into Nike design culture and reinforced it in me.”

The answer to “What would he do?” became obvious. Avar stripped everything down and created a track spike silhouette for the court. The Nike Air Hyperflight’s traditional approach to creating the unconventional was a fitting tribute to a legend.

The Nike Air Hyperflight’s colors would also redefine the presentation of the basketball shoe forever, paving the way for an impending colorway assault.

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Filed under: Basketball Nike Retro



...remember JASON WILLIAMS (white chocolate) used to rock the egg-plant joints when he was a SACRAMENTO KING.


Why do the drawings look cooler than the actual shoe? It looks more aggressive and it looks more fluid compared to the real thing. But then again it IS a drawing but still. LOL


These need to be retro'd. Only complaint about this shoe was how fast it creased. As soon as to took a step these had a permanent crease in them lol

Jonathan Broder
Jonathan Broder

this was a cool shoe...can not believe this kick was not retro'd! 


info on that back pack on pg 2?


Didnt these get recalled? I remember having these and wearing them a couple times and them falling apart and cracking after a couple games. Great looking shoe though and mos def deserving a retro with updated more durable material like fly wire and balistic mesh/ carbonfiber (ala 6 rings/ hyperfuse instead of crappy patent leather. would really like that!


Nike has so many kicks they could retro and kill with. I believe I'll still be purchasing sneakers well thru my 50's.


word! Sneaker head for life...

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