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Flashback to ’95: The Nike Air Max Uptempo

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It’s time to Flashback to ’95 again for a look at another important model from one of the best sneaker years ever. Looking back now, it’s almost hard to believe how many now-legendary sneakers hit the market in that one 365 day period, and we’re here to review some of the very best with this nostalgic series. Coming in right at the end of ’95 was this heavyweight of basketball footwear, the Nike Air Max Uptempo. Continue reading for all the details on how and why it’s such a benchmark sneaker, and then flashback to see the shoe in action on court in a few vintage shots.

Debuted in Late 1995

The Air Max Uptempo just ekes by for a Flashback to ’95 feature, as it debuted in the winter of 1995 in its most famous white/black/teal colorway. By early 1996 the shoe was in full swing on the court, where it could be seen on the court from the preps to the pros and selling in sneaker shops everywhere.

Full Length Air

The Air Max 95 running shoe gets a lot of glory for being the first shoe with visible Air in the forefoot, but the Air Max Uptempo was the first Nike shoe with full-length visible Air from heel to toe. “The most Nike Air cushioning we’ve ever put into one sole”, and ad for the shoe stated. The Uptempo’s awesome look and maximum cushioning made the shoe a popular option for large amount of Nike-sponsored pros and college teams for the 1995-96 season.

Third Uptempo Model

Aimed to fit in the middle ground between light and speedy guard shoes and beefier big man shoes with a lot of cushioning, the Uptempo line began in late 1994 with the Air Uptempo and was followed by the Air Max2 Uptempo in 1995. The versatile line continued with the Air Max Uptempo, which set the tone for the Uptempo series for the rest of the ’90’s. It’s easy to see who the Air Max Uptempo III, Air Pippen 1, and Air Total Max Uptempo descended from.

That Outsole, Though

One of the best features of the Air Max Uptempo is simple yet awesome outsole featuring nothing but a series of ovals leading to the visible Air bubble in the heel. One of the coolest basketball shoe outsoles ever? Yes.

A Certified Classic

Since it’s debut in 1995, the Air Max Uptempo seems to show up back in production at least every couple of years. It was still in the pages of Eastbay as late as 1998 for its initial run, and was one of the first ’90’s basketball shoes Nike ever retroed when it returned in 2000. Two decades later, it’s back on the shelves again this year in the original white/black/teal and a few brand new colorways.


The Air Max Uptempo On Court

From Scottie Pippen to Earl Boykins, spot the original Air Max Uptempo on the court in these vintage shots. The few shots featured here are only a small sampling of the amount of college and NBA players that wore the Air Max Uptempo, but they should give you a good idea of the sheer variety of types of players that wore the versatile shoe. Can you name all the players pictured here?




Original Print Ads

End your flashback to ’95 with the Air Max Uptempo by enjoying a couple of the original ads for the storied basketball shoe.