May 30th, 2013 by John Kim
The Nike Air Raid is like an old classic song that will forever be remembered as one of the greats despite not getting much airtime on the radio waves. Among the pioneers and historians of the brand, the Air Raid is quite possibly one of the most significant sneakers in Nike Basketball history. This Tinker Hatfield design debuted in 1992 when the flourishing designer was tasked with creating an “outdoor shoe”, which resulted in some extensive analysis of the gritty games that went down on an hourly bases at outdoor black-top courts of New York City. The strengthened heel and flat sole were design aspects with the focus on the black pavement, while the crossing straps were added to mimic protection ankle tape. The shoes also feature some blunt instructions as well, with Nike imploring its athletes that the shoes were for “Outdoor Use Only”. The Air Raid II followed in 1993, utilizing a similar design and some eccentric graphic prints.
Behind the release of the shoe was indeed one of Nike’s more memorable ad campaigns ever. With Spike Lee behind the camera, we could already expect some sort of external message, and the “Live Together, Play Together” slogan was indeed at the center of this colorful concept which aimed to unify basketball players of different, uh…skills. Spike used these ads to display the “skeeels” of Nike athlete Tim Hardaway, while promote VHS rentals of Do The Right Thing and Jungle Fever (we have the videos below if you’re a bit confused). We’ve got a rare look at both the Nike Air Raid LE from 1992 and Air Raid II from 1993 here, so take a look at the gallery and keep an eye on the listing from shoezeum on eBay.