Since joining Instagram this past summer, heralded Nike designer Aaron Cooper has brought the sneaker industry behind the scenes on a number of his past and unreleased constructions with the Beaverton brand. This past Sunday in late November, the mind behind some of Nike Inc’s most lucrative on-court designs showcased yet another project that never saw an eventual release date.
Keeping in mind those with an unyielding passion for the game and limited funds, Cooper posed the idea of creating a fundamental hoop shoe for only $55. However, the wide range of materials required for a basketball shoe presented a number of challenges. Leaning upon the lessons he learned early in his career while working directly in the factories, Cooper learned to capitalize on a less-is-more approach spearheaded by efficiency.
Adapting the cored-out cup-sole construction that accompanied the Nike Sweet Lew for less rubber, the circa 1995 model utilized a die-cut foam for added cushioning and less overall material underfoot. As for the upper, a duo of suede and canvas was employed for lowered cost and taxes on imported products, complemented by cost-effective collegiate striped laces and matching webbed eyelets. Drawing further inspiration from a butterfly, deco-stitching outfitted the forefoot’s layered mudguard while swooshes stamped equal parts of the upper and sole unit.
While the shoe’s original $55 price point would have met the corporate margins, unfortunately, the shoe was scrapped because it would have inevitably lowered the overall profit margins of the basketball department, according to Cooper’s IG post. Enjoy a closer look at the silhouette below via sketches from Cooper himself.