Nobody exactly knows how the whole thing went down. So just for the fun of it, let’s assume that Penny Hardaway was led into a small room. He looked around. A silhouette here, another prototype there. Yet, he could not find what he was looking for. Penny did not spot the shoe, he wanted to become his new signature pair. Fortunately, though, Nike designer Eric Avar had forgotten to zip up his bag. Well, fortunately for Penny.
Because, as soon as he had spotted the sneaker resting in Avar’s bag, Penny knew. He knew what he wanted. He wanted this prototype, this futuristic looking silhouette to be his new signature model. And unfortunately for Scottie Pippen, Nike gave Penny what he wanted. Unfortunately for Pippen, because originally the sneaker had been designed to be worn by Chicago’s number 33.
Not possible? Come on!
Again, no one knows how the whole thing exactly went down, only one thing is sure: Penny had taken over. All of a sudden, he was chosen to be the first player to wear the Nike Foamposite in an NBA game. A sneaker that featured a technology no one had ever seen before. A sneaker which’s design is said to have been inspired by a bug. A sneaker which’s design process was so special that many thought it was not possible in the first place.
Not possible? Kevin Garnett would have have shrugged. So did Nike. They attempted the unlikely – and succeeded. With a little help, though. Nike needed someone to support them with the materials and found a partner in crime most of us probably never would have thought of. Daewoo, usually known for cars or television, provided Nike with the formula, needed to produce the seamless upper that started as liquid.
The Long Road From Liquid to Legend
Yes, as liquid. A liquid, that had to be heated up until it reached a temperature between 54 and 79 degrees Celsius before it could be filled into the molds that finally gave it the unique shape we all know and love. Oh, did I mention one molds alone cost 750.000 Dollars? No, well now I did – thereby giving an explanation why the Foamposite retailed at 180 Dollars when it debuted in 1997. At the same time an explanation why the sneaker did not create the buzz we would expect from today’s perspective.
I mean, futuristic material here, Penny there, back in the days a Foamposite was more expensive than Jordan’s newest signature model. Moreover, people had trouble, getting used to a material that was far removed from the well known leather uppers people loved in the 90’s. Hence, there was no need to hurry. You could just sit back, relax and wait until the Foamposites hit sale country.
Maybe people weren’t ready, maybe they didn’t dig the design. In the end, it doesn’t matter, because Nike did not give in. They kept the Foamposite alive. Well, rather, Nike helped the sneaker reach new heights. With all those different colorways, new releases, re-releases, they built a fan base that today helps new editions of the Foamposite sell out in the blink of an eye. People have gotten crazy about the Foamposites. So crazy, that a guy even offered his car (with a full tank of gas, of course) in exchange for a Foamposite Galaxy.
And it all started with Penny wearing the original Foamposite One – in a colorway the NBA did not approve of due to lack of black to match the Orlando Magic’s uniform, by the way – on the hardwood. Well, the first player, to ever wear the Foamposite during a competitive game of basketball was… Mike Bibby. Yepp, on March 23rd 1997 Mike Bibby, then an Arizona Wildcat, introduced Nike’s new premium sneaker to the world.
So Penny at least was the first one to wear the Foamposite during an All-Star Game, right? Not quite. Of course, Tim Duncan, the loud mouth, the fashion icon, the one player, who set style above all, debuted the Pearl Foamposite in the 1998 All-Star Game in New York City. And if Timmy approves, everyone should approve.
The main man was Penny, though. He paved the way, using the Foamposite One in several games to remember. And he didn’t waste any time. After having debuted the shoe just two games before the 1997 playoffs started, Hardaway used game 4 of Orlando’s first-round match-up against the Miami Heat to put up 41 points. Again, he showed the world what he was capable of. He moreover showed the world what sneaker technology was capable of. And the world followed.
It’s been a while since the last Nike Air Foamposite Pro “Dr. Doom” was released in 2006. Now ten years after making its debut, it is finally time for the legendary basketball sneaker again. “Dr. Doom” drops this Wednesday (14.12.), 9:00 CET at KICKZ.com! Get your pair of history with this link: