December 28th, 2012 by Sneaker News
In just a few short years, the public perception of the original Nike Air Foamposite One model has undergone quite the rapid metamorphosis. From the time of its original release in 1997 up until about two or three years ago, the Foamposite was, for the most part, nothing more than another great shoe in a long line of innovative and fondly remembered Nike Basketball models. While the shoe definitely enjoyed a strong cult following within the sneaker community and especially in certain regions of the country, it wasn’t until some new colorways like the Eggplant and Copper versions emerged that consumer interest was reinvigorated like never before and Foamposites became a juggernaut must-have sneaker commodity for the masses. The fever only spread from there, and now Foamposites unthinkably challenge Air Jordan Retros for consumer dollars at retail, taking the shoe to unseen levels of popularity far beyond its original late 90’s heyday.
Both in terms of OG retros and more recently concocted colorways, the Foamposite aesthetic approach has almost always been steadfastly uniform in its blueprint: solid colored foam upper, black eyelet strips and tongue, corresponding accents, clear outsole. While there have been some occasional variations over the years, most have successfully clung to this formula, but as more and more predictable colorways were churned out, it became inevitable that the forward-thinking Nike design minds would eventually figure out a fitting way for the shoe to evolve. When the Foamposite’s surging dominance made it a no-brainer for a role in the 2012 All-Star collection, the perfect opportunity arose to take the shoe where no Foamposite had gone before.
With the NBA All-Star Weekend taking place in Orlando this year, Nike chose a NASA-inspired space exploration motif for their annual sneaker collection, this time around supplementing the usual signature and team All-Star colorways with an ambitious multi-shoe Nike Sportswear capsule as well. Joining a trio of Dunk Highs and two Air Flight Ones was the most jaw-dropping Air Foamposite One the sneaker world had ever seen. For the first time ever, the shoe featured a full graphic printed upper and glow in the dark outsole, which doesn’t sound all that gamechanging, but one look at the
galactic outerspace landscape that covered the length of the shoe made it quite clear that these would become the most sought after Foamposite release the game had ever seen.
Those early assumptions didn’t even scratch the surface of the madness that would ensue as the February release date approached. Many devoted individuals began to camp outside of stores over a week ahead of time while others held out hope that they’d be able to defy the odds and snag a pair online. Those bubbles were burst a few days before the release when Nike announced that the shoes would not be sold on NikeStore, leaving anyone who wanted a pair forced to go out and brave the mob scenes if they wanted even a sniff of the “Galaxy” Foamposites. Things got real when over 3,000 people showed up at the midnight release at an Orlando mall, forcing the need for intervention by police riot squads and eventually resulting in an impromptu postponement of all sales. While some shops were still able to maintain order through wristband and raffle systems, many retailers, including the entire chain of House of Hoops locations in particular, were forced to cancel the release altogether in fear of the same kind of mayhem arriving at their front doors.
While plenty of people were lucky enough to get their hands on a pair of the limited kicks, plenty more came up empty and the release hysteria would spark the implementation of a number of procedural changes in the way sneakers are now released. For Nike and many other retailers, there are no more midnight releases and Twitter RSVP systems have replaced the weekly lineups, and as a result, it’s harder than ever to actually obtain a pair of shoes you want. It’s hard to believe that something so good could come along and indirectly have such a negative effect on the sneaker game, but the Galaxy Foams may have done just that. On the one hand, things are more orderly and civilized now, but sadly, some of the fun, adventure and thrill of the hunt seems to have been drained out in the process. Is it Nike’s fault that they make shoes so cool that people are ready to riot for them? That seems like an unfair finger to point, but it’s undeniable that the Galaxy Foamposites and the chaos that came with them will have an impact on the way high-profile releases are distributed and sold for years to come.
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