20 Years Of Nike Basketball Design: Air Flight Huarache (1992)
Following up on yesterday’s debut, we see the next entrant in Nike Basketball’s ’20 Years’ retrospective pick up right where the Air Force 180 Low left off. That model commonly linked to Charles Barkley could be seen as the first step in Nike embracing the ’90s attitude, and here we see more evidence of Tinker Hatfield’s impeccable timing. Hatfield and assistant Eric Avar saw basketball shorts getting longer, and following the 1980s arms race that had court kicks higher and heavier than ever before, it was simply time for a change. The Nike Air Flight Huarache came onto the scene in 1992 with a neck-breaking ankle cutout to highlight its exoskeletal construction, and their connection to notable ballers of the time including the infamous ‘Fab 5’ Michigan Wolverines makes these an all-time classic. Click through for some words from Tinker himself and a rundown of the OG colorways, and stick with Sneaker News for the next milestone in two decades of Nike Basketball brilliance.
“If the shoe fits in with other things that are going on culturally, you get a perfect storm.” – Tinker Hatfield
The Nike Air Flight Huarache’s aesthetic swagger was in what it stripped away. A swoosh? No need for one — it’s not like this shoe could have been made by any other brand. That Dynamic Fit, exoskeleton, leather and neoprene combined to make this one of the purest expressions of performance to date.
While a maverick team — led by intuitionist Tinker Hatfield, and assisted by Eric Avar — worked behind the scenes to translate the Huarache running technology to the courts, it took a crew of collegiate game-changers to give the Nike Air Flight Huarache an extra ascent in terms of publicity.
If the sport’s style leaders were dressing from the feet up, the Huarache was an instruction to those shorts to relax a little, because this shoe had it under control.
As the seam length of the shorts lengthened, the Huarache countered with a reductionist school of thought — “Where can we just trim this baby back a little bit?” Tinker asked, because that minimal upper needed to be complemented by an equally stripped-down sole. That leads to the eternal question: which came first – this rebel shoe like no other, eclipsing a previous decade of bulk, or basketball’s completely new attitude and aesthetic?
This shoe would have caused a storm either way, urging those from as far away as the nose bleeds to ask, “What was that?”