Browsing the "Classics Revisited: Nike Tennis" Tag

Classics Revisited: Nike Air Oscillate (1996)

October 26th, 2012 by | 2 comments

nike pete sampras Classics Revisited: Nike Air Oscillate (1996)

NIKE TENNIS WEEK

Is the Nike Air Oscillate the ultimate ‘PE’ shoe? How’s this for “exclusive”: Pete Sampras wore a size 10.25. Not a 10, not a 10.5, but a 10.25. It’s understandable that Nike would go as far creating the perfect for Sampras, but the size is just the tip of this iceberg; Tinker Hatfield designed the Oscillate for Sampras without Sampras ever wearing the shoe. Instead, he got the feedback he needed from tennis athletes who wear-tested the shoe, and Sampras, who wasn’t open to switching what he had worn for years, was “tricked” into wearing the sneakers when Tinker proposed a pick-up game of basketball. Little did Sampras know that these “basketball” shoes were actually tennis shoes made just for him, and he liked them so much that he made the switch at the 1996 Australian Open, winning it all in the process. He went on to wear the Oscillate for seven more years, and tennis buffs often recall the AO as one of the best tennis shoes ever.

In addition to the 1996 original release, Nike made a special ‘Jordan’ edition of the shoe as a 1-of-1 gift to Pete for his 26th birthday; he wore the Jordan Oscillate PE at the ’97 US Open and throughout the entire season that year. Another notable special edition is the limited Air Oscillate Lux which served as a tribute to 14 Grand Slam titles. The Nike Air Oscillate II debuted in 1999, but Pete wore ‘em only at the start of the ’99 season and quickly switched back the original Air Oscillate (did we mention, Pete doesn’t like change). In 2001, a slightly re-tooled version of the Air Oscillate Version III was mad, which Sampras wore to that year’s US Open. Such a plain looking shoe with such a rich and convoluted history – that’s Classics Revisited for ya!

Nike Air Oscillate

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Classics Revisited: Nike Zoom Courtposite (2002)

October 25th, 2012 by | 13 comments

courtposite Classics Revisited: Nike Zoom Courtposite (2002)

NIKE TENNIS WEEK

The right technology – the wrong sport. Nike’s revolutionary Posite technology dipped its toes in the sport of tennis by releasing the Nike Zoom Courtposite in 2002 under the Agassi label. The low-cut model featured a one-piece Posite upper with a distinctively engineered outsole, emphasizing stress points on the outriggers and heel for decoupling, and the pronounced caps on the toe and heel kept the athlete’s foot in place. However, like all Posite-based footwear models, it took a few wears for the Posite to settle in, and combined with the general subpar level of breathability, the Zoom Courtposite wasn’t a very popular model among tennis players (Agassi himself chose not to wear them). It was an interesting foray into the world of tennis, but Posite proved to be unfitting for the style of tennis and the Courtposite eventually became a bargain-hunter find. Certainly one of the lesser known endeavors by the Nike Alpha Project, so refresh your memory of the Zoom Courtposite below in tonight’s Classics Revisited segment.

Nike Zoom Courtposite
2002

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Classics Revisited: Nike Air Challenge Huarache (1992)

October 24th, 2012 by | 11 comments

nike air challenge huarache 1992 Classics Revisited: Nike Air Challenge Huarache (1992)

NIKE TENNIS WEEK

We started Classics Revisited: Nike Tennis week with a look at two signature models made for Nike’s most iconic brand reps of the 80′s and 90′s. Today, our focus is a bit more on Nike technology and innovation as we examine a pivotal landmark in the Nike Tennis/Training lineage – namely the creation of the Nike Air Challenge Huarache. Huarache itself was a delicate endeavor as it introduced several concepts into a singular design, like the partial removal of the upper and the use of an inner bootie; the Running and Basketball models were successful simply because of fit and comfort, and so Nike brought over the signature Huarache style to Agassi’s line of Nike Tennis by creating the Air Challenge Huarache.

The overall design, in retrospect, might be one of the greatest ‘hybrid’ designs ever. Tennis shoes alone are like a mix of Running, Basketball, and Training all into one, so the sneaker had to look the part of all three; it adds the comfort and fit of a running shoe, the mid-cut stance of a Trainer, and a sleek and sporty presence of a basketball shoe (it truly resembles the Air Jordan VII). Throw in the wild graphics on the heel and the speckled granite detailing at the midfoot groove and you’ve got a sneaker that, quite honestly, was a mid-foot strap short of being one of the greatest Trainers of all time.

Nike Air Challenge Huarache
1992

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Classics Revisited: Nike Mac Attack (1984)

October 23rd, 2012 by | 1 comment

nike mac attack original grey black Classics Revisited: Nike Mac Attack (1984)

NIKE TENNIS WEEK

The Nike Mac Attack of 1984 is less about the actual sneaker and more about the man who wore the shoe;  by some definition, it is the ultimate signature shoe. The Mac Attack was a slap in the face of the conventional all-white designs that made up the bulk of tennis footwear, opting for a grim Light Silver/Black colorway and the checkerboard tongue label in a unique mid-cut design and complicated forefoot design. It was released in just one colorway, so like you would perceive McEnroe the player, you were either going to love or hate the shoe. As we all remember, Jon McEnroe’s top level of play was overshadowed  by his temper tantrums, whiny attitude, and unfiltered vocabulary, but it was his jerk-like attitude that sorta paved the way for Nike’s direction of picking out its signature athletes – the Andre Agassis, Charles Barkleys, and the Dennis Rodmans of the pro-sports world.

McEnroe was a refreshing jolt of energy in a star-studded yet relatively well-behaved sport; the earliest ad posters for McEnroe depicted him as a “Rebel With A Cause”, donning dark trench coats or brown leather jackets with collars popped firmly. Since ’84, ‘The Mac’ was never re-issued in its original form, with the recent Nike Sportswear Manor being the closest of kin (it didn’t have a Swoosh and went with a simpler midsole/outsole). More of this incredible Classics Revisited piece below, so take a look and stay tuned for more as we’ll serve up some more Nike Tennis aces later this week.

Nike Mac Attack
Light Silver/Black
1984

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Classics Revisited: Nike Air Tech Challenge III (1990)

October 22nd, 2012 by | 2 comments

nike air tech challenge iii 1990 Classics Revisited: Nike Air Tech Challenge III (1990)

NIKE TENNIS WEEK

Tennis shoes have been the same boring white leather-based designs – it’s not wonder that sneakers in general are referred to as “tennis shoes”. To up-end the conventions of bland tennis shoes, Nike flipped on a switch with tennis fashion and created the most out-of-the-box line of tennis sport footwear in history, rebelling against convention of decades-long design. Of course, the right athlete was needed to fit the fresh bill, and Andre Agassi with his cut-off shorts, long and curly locks, and colorful headbands was the perfect man to introduce the Air Tech Challenge series and the wild colors and logos.

In 1990, Nike unveiled this outstanding White/Black-Hot Lime-Neon Teal colorway of Air Tech Challenge for Andre Agassi, spawning the Challenge Court line of matching athletic apparel that signified Agassi’s specific style as more than just shoes and basic apparel, but a complete package of distinct fashion sense. In fact, Agassi himself took his own style seriously and chose to sit out Wimbledon in 1990 as the tournament enforced a strict all-white dress code. The Air Tech Challenge III was among several models that gave away to a slew of other unique Tennis designs built around Nike’s innovations, like the Huarache and neoprene bootie construction. Kick off Classics Revisited: Nike Tennis week with arguably the most significant Nike Tennis signature shoe of all-time!

Nike Air Tech Challenge III
White/Black-Hot Lime-Neon Teal
1990

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