A Look Back: Q&A with ESPN’s Nick DePaula

A Look Back: Q&A with ESPN’s Nick DePaula

Whether it’s the latest athlete sneaker signing or breaking sneaker news from around the NBA, feature writer and creative director Nick DePaula has been the industry’s trusted source for sneaker stories and information for years. From his time at Sole Collector, Nice Kicks and Yahoo’s The Vertical, to his current gig with ESPN, I’ve always enjoyed reading Nick’s articles, and he’s one of the first sneakerheads I started following on Instagram.

Nick and I share a similar passion for sneakers, especially kicks that released in the ‘90s. We grew up in an era when print catalogs and TV commercials were the main ways to get a good look at the hottest new sneaker releases. Back when the internet was young and rudimentary, we looked to Eastbay for images, pricing and tech info for every single sneaker. I thought it would be fun to ask Nick a few questions about his childhood and the influence Eastbay had on him growing up:

DH: First of all, where did you grow up?

NDP: Sacramento is home! The Kings meant everything to me as a kid, and are definitely responsible for my love of hoops early on. Purple has been my favorite color ever since. I’ve been throwing ridiculous behind-the-back passes since middle school ’cause of Jason Williams. I’d even go as far as labeling ‘How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days’ a classic movie – it’s the one time the Sacramento Kings ever made the NBA Finals.

DH: What were your favorite sports to play as a kid?

NDP: We played literally everything as a kid – that’s what kids should do. Baseball. Football. Soccer. Tennis. Golf. Street hockey. Volleyball. Ping pong. Aggressive in-line skating even, if you’re old enough to remember that phase in the ‘90s. You name it, and we probably tried it.

Nothing compared to hoops though. You could find us at 10th & P in downtown Sac every Saturday from Noon to 4 getting runs in. My brother Eric and I had a Friday night ritual growing up too: 1-on-1 on the hoop out front. First to 100, by ones.

DH: How did you get introduced to Eastbay and their catalogs and when?

NDP: The first time I saw an Eastbay magazine (we didn’t call it a “catalog!”) was at Foot Locker at the Downtown Plaza around late 1996. I excitedly signed up for a free subscription and never looked back. All through elementary, middle and even high school, I’d read the latest Eastbay and that day’s Sacramento Bee sports page with my cereal, every morning before heading off to school.

I might not have had the craziest sneaker collection growing up, but over the years, I was able to learn about every company’s technologies, design approach, stable of players and their newest innovations, all from the Eastbay pages. I’d read up on sneakers from all sports, and try to memorize the tech descriptions and even the weights listed, whether that was a pair of Mizuno volleyball shoes, specialty runners, cheerleading kicks, or the latest signature sneakers.

Checking out the latest issue with LeBron on the cover still gives me that same feeling. It’s fun to turn each page and find out what new running designs are launching, what NBA shorts Nike has in store, what gear each brand has coming out, and see all the latest lineups for every sport.

DH: What did you order from the catalogs?

NDP: I had a $40 sneaker budget in elementary and middle school, and that got upped to $50 in high school, so I had to get real nice at finding deals. I always kept tabs on the “Final Score” issues that would cycle through the mailbox every so often. Whenever I came to a page with smaller shoe pictures and red circles all over, that’s when I’d get real hopeful that my size 13 or 14 was still listed as available somewhere on the “Great Buys on Large Sizes!” page.

Early on, I was typically ordering signature gear that my favorite players wore, like Allen Iverson’s Reebok collection, 3 Stripes tees that were Kobe-approved, or a variety of Nike Basketball tees that had guys like Kevin Garnett, Penny Hardaway or Scottie Pippen pictured alongside them. This was all back in the pre-internet days, where your mom would literally call Wisconsin and read off the product number to place an order.

Something I loved about Eastbay during the turn of the millennium was how many new brands started appearing in the mag too. I remember buying a few Goat Gear tees to hoop in during high school practices, after reading up on the legend of Earl “The Goat” Manigault. Even though I lived in Sacramento, it felt like I had access to all of the best basketball gear around through Eastbay.

In 2002, I damn near had the entire Jordan two3 beach collection – yes, even the towel! I rocked the two3 Cavvy dress shoe in black to my senior prom. Durasheen dazzle and NCAA replica team shorts were a practice staple for me. Eastbay finds pretty much made up my closet all throughout my school days, even into college at the University of Oregon, once ordering online changed the game up.

DH: What is a grail shoe that was featured in Eastbay that you were never able to pick up?

NDP: Tons – tons of pairs. The first shoe that immediately captivated my attention in the pages was the neon blue Foamposite One. It looked unlike anything else out there. Back then, my boy Austin Hicks and I would take pens and just circle everything we wanted in the mag. Every once in awhile, his mom would surprise him with pairs he was after, but it took me another decade to finally track down the Foams.

The late 90s had so many amazing runners that I was never able to grab at the time. The Tailwind IIs and Zoom Citizens were incredible. Adidas had a great run with the EQT Salvation, Galaxy and Ozweego lines too. Reebok’s DMX runners were instant classics. Every so often, Eastbay would also have exclusive team bank colors for basketball models like the Air Jordan XV, Team Max Zoom or even the Flightposite II, that you just couldn’t find anywhere else.

DH: Who are some of your favorite people you’ve interviewed over the years?

NDP: So many people immediately come to mind! Penny Hardaway was one of my very first cover interviews way back in 2008, and I’ve been able to follow the design process of all of his sneakers since. We worked on a huge ‘Penny Pack’ collaboration for an amazing Sole Collector event in Las Vegas in 2011 that I’ll never forget. He’s literally the best, both with his time and access, and also his passion for the sneaker industry and input. I just was out in Memphis a few weeks ago to see him again, and it’s been amazing now to see how he’s evolved into Coach Hardaway and the impact he’s having on his hometown.

There’s an endless amount of designers that’ve also been great to talk to. Tinker Hatfield and Eric Avar are each the best designers in footwear history, and so great at storytelling around innovations, athlete insights and performance solutions. Gentry Humphrey at Jordan Brand has legendary stories for days and is a hilarious guy. Both Marc Dolce and Denis Dekovic at Adidas are great dudes as well and I love catching up with them to see all that they’re working on at the Brooklyn Creator Farm.

DH: What are you up to these days?

NDP: I’ve been super fortunate to be writing about sneakers and basketball over the past thirteen years. I helped to run Sole Collector Magazine back in the print days and got to work on almost 20 collaboration sneakers in the span of 7 years that I was there. The awesome co-founders Steve Mullholand and Alex Wang gave me a shot to write for the Mag when I was still in college and really helped shape how I view content and storytelling ever since. 

After that, I joined Matt Halfhill, Ian Stonebrook and an amazing team of people passionate about footwear and the culture around it over at Nice Kicks. I spent a couple of months working on a comprehensive Allen Iverson feature about his rise with Reebok in advaance of his 40th birthday that I’ve been pretty proud of since. (Make a couple sandwiches and give it a read…)

Now, I’m writing about the footwear industry at ESPN. It’s been amazing to see how sneakers have grown to be highlighted on a platform of that size and legacy. It’s a best-in-class team across the board. With the vision of OG Bobbito Garcia, we even recently launched a new footwear show on ESPN+ called SneakerCenter that just dropped its latest episode this week.

All along, one of my career highlights was definitely working on a few interviews and special sidebar sections for Eastbay’s 25th Anniversary issue. I really do credit all of those Eastbay magazines that I grew up reading for powering that base of sneaker knowledge that I was so excited to learn more about and add to. Once SLAM dropped the first issue of KICKS in 1998, I kind of realized that writing about sneakers could become a real thing, and have been at it ever since.

A Look Back: Back to school in the late ‘90s

A Look Back: Back to school in the late ‘90s

Back in the late ‘90s, back to school was everything. What a time it was. 20 years ago, I was a teenager who spent plenty of summer nights in August flipping through those Eastbay catalogs, thinking about all the shoes I wanted to show off in class. I was not old enough to work yet, so staring at all the sneaker options was both heaven and torture at the same time. I knew how good we had it. I knew how fire every shoe in those catalogs was — I  just couldn’t afford anything. Fortunately, as time has passed, the good people at Nike have brought back plenty of the sneakers I could only stare at as a kid.

I didn’t think much about it back then, but over the past few years, I’ve realized how many interesting variations Nike made on classic models that were made just for the youth. Here’s a look back at some of the best back to school” sneakers from the late ‘90s — made  just for the young athletes.

1996

Fresh off their incredible 72-10 championship season, the sneakers Chicago wore (and anything that resembled them) were the hot items going back to school that fall. Michael Jordan’s AJ XI had a low-cut version that was available for kids in both black and white. MJ sported the black/red model in the playoffs very briefly, but he never wore the white version in an NBA game.

Additionally, the sneaker Scottie Pippen sported throughout the ‘96 Finals, the Air More Uptempo, also featured a takedown version with a heel Air Sole unit. Gary Payton famously rocked the white Much Uptempo during the ‘96 Summer Olympic Games. Speaking of the Olympics, the Air Zoom Flight was worn by Orlando star Penny Hardaway that summer, and all the kids wanted to be like Penny back then.

1997

You may recognize the Air Jumpman Pro since they are back on shelves in 2019. The Jumpman Pro was a popular takedown version of the Air Jordan XII and was featured in some similar colorways to Jordan’s 12th model. There was also an Air Pippen model for Scottie, and the Total Max Uptempo was worn by stars like Reggie Miller. Both the Pippen and Uptempo featured the biggest visible Air Sole units Nike had ever made.

The Superturf, which was the children’s version of Barry Sanders’ Super Zoom model, was an extremely underrated sneaker in terms of design and style. It featured the new Zoom Air technology for a low-to-the-ground feel for sharper cuts and quicker acceleration on the field. And don’t forget about that Air Hawk Flight, which was made for the Sonics’ Gary “The Glove” Payton.

1998

1998 featured some of the most slept-on sneakers, including the Air Max 98 TL and the Air Pippen II. Neither of these sneakers got much love, which is too bad because they were great designs and ultra comfortable. In this particular picture, there are two Air Max running models shown: the Air Max 98 and Air Max 98 TL. The kids’ models featured different soles than the adults’ (letter “A” is the Air Max 98 with an Air Max 95 sole. Letter “B” is the 98 TL but with an Air Max 97 sole). It would be really cool to see both come back with these soles attached.

The Pippen sneaker was Scottie’s second signature model, and he won his last championship with the Bulls while rocking them. Over the years, they’ve been retroed but without much fanfare. The Air Sunder was a very popular training sneaker back in ‘98 but has fallen under the radar over the years. Anyone who owned a pair loved them and would love to see them return. They came in a ton of different colors and definitely had that wild, crazy late ‘90s vibe going for them.

1999

1999 was an insane year for back to school with two full pages to choose from. Some of the most notable sneakers included the Air Jordan XIV in five classic colors, along with the Air Jordan XIII Lo in the black/chutney colorway that has yet to retro. Also of note was the Nike Youth Air Max, otherwise known as the Air Tuned Max for adults. This model featured an Air Max 97 sole instead of the Tuned Air Max sole, and if Nike brought this exact model back, it would be a huge hit.

For Jordan Team fans, the Jumpman Quick 6 was available for the young guards, as well as the Jordan 3 Percent for the kids who liked to cross train. The 3 Percent was named after Michael Jordan’s body fat percentage, which was incredibly low. One last Jordan model was the Jumpman VINdicate made for power forwards like the Bucks’ Vin Baker.

Overall, Nike was making big statements in footwear fashion and technology, which is why so many kids chose to rock Nikes for back to school. And for those of us who couldn’t have everything back then, we’re slowly trying to cross off everything we wanted on our checklists as Nike and Jordan continue to retro more and more of these classics. It’s like we’re reliving our childhood all over again.

 

A Look Back: The Hottest Jordan Summer Releases

A Look Back: The Hottest Jordan Summer Releases

Summer is here, and it’s lit: pick-up basketball games, barbecues, late nights with friends, and tons of sneaker heat wherever you look. Eastbay has always been the source for the hottest summertime releases, especially when it comes to Jordan Brand. Back in the day, it was no different – Eastbay had you covered no matter what season you were in. Summer was not the time of year that Jordan and Nike were known to drop brand new releases; however, they were known to drop new colorways and a few new shoes that are worth taking a look at. With that, here’s a few gems from some of the best Eastbay catalogs from the late ’90s and early ’00s.

Air Jordan XII black/red (aka the "Flu Game")

1997

It’s hard to believe, but heading into the summer of ’97, there were still sizes available for the Air Jordan XII black/red (aka the “Flu Game”) and white/red/black (aka the “Cherry”). Jordan wore both colorways during that ’96-’97 season and won his fifth championship rocking the black/reds. This was also the time that Jordan Brand was breaking away from Nike to become its own brand and introduced new spin-off models like the Nike Air Jumpman Pro Mid. The Jumpman Pro Mid had a similar design to the Air Jordan XII and also came in similar colors. It was an opportunity for Jordan Brand to capitalize on a market that was hungry for as many Jordan sneakers as possible, and there were plenty more to come.

Jumpman Pro Quick and Jumpman Pro Strong

1998

The Jordan Brand was on fire heading into the summer of ‘98 after MJ won his sixth and final championship with the Bulls. The Eastbay pages reflected this, as there wasn’t much to choose from that summer since anything Jordan wore sold out quickly. There were some more notable spin-off models, including the Jumpman Pro Quick (made for Lakers star Eddie Jones), the Pro Strong (for the Sonics’ Vin Baker), and the Team Jordan (for several college and pro athletes). All these models were inspired by the Air Jordan XII and XIII and featured similar cushioning technologies.

Jumpman VINdicate

1999

1999 was the year Jordan Brand really started expanding with all types of new silhouettes. With Michael Jordan retired, everyone figured he was done for good. With that in mind, Jordan Brand continued to honor MJ’s legacy with spin-off models like the Jumpman VINdicate (for Vin Baker), the Jumpman Quick 6 (for Eddie Jones), the Jordan Lite, and the Jordan Team II. There was also a women’s Jordan inspired by the AJ XIII. The Air Jordan XIV continued to release in new and exciting colorways, including black/white/indigo and white/black/green models. There was also a low-cut version in royal/black/white. Jordan Brand expanded beyond basketball models by introducing the 3 Percent (inspired by Jordan’s body fat percentage), and the Jordan Trunner (for boxer Roy Jones Jr.).

Air Jordan XV

2000

The main highlight of the controversial Air Jordan XV was that the tongue stuck out, just like Jordan’s. This curious design was also featured on spin-off models like the Jumpman Select and Jumpman Swift 6. The Air Jordan XV was available in plenty of sizes and colors that summer, mainly because not many people were buying them. The design proved to be a bit too extreme, even though performance-wise, the XV was an excellent model. There was even a Jordan Moc inspired by the XV. Additionally that summer, the Air Jordan V returned in a clean white/silver/black colorway, which was perfect for summertime fits.

Air Jordan XVI

2001

The Air Jordan XVI was a revolutionary sneaker in many ways: it featured low pressure visible Zoom Air and a removable gaiter that could be flipped inside out for all kinds of customizable looks. That summer of 2001, the whisper/cherrywood/graphite colorway released and was relatively unpopular. Over the years, however, sneakerheads have been begging for a retro of this specific colorway. Jordan Brand has yet to acknowledge the rising demand, but hopefully this one will get a proper retro in the coming years.

Air Jordan XVIII

2003

Besides the Air Jordan XVIII mid and low, some pretty important retros released during the summer of ’03. The Air Jordan VIII came out in the OG white/black/red colorway, plus a new black/chrome version (worn by Kobe Bryant during his sneaker free-agency season). The Air Jordan XI low in the OG white/cobalt/grey and black/red/charcoal colors both returned and sold out quickly. Jordan Brand added some more spin-offs, including the Jumpman Team FBI, which was notably worn briefly by Michael Jordan during his time with the Wizards.


Click through for more old Eastbay catalog pages featuring Jordans . . .

A Look Back: Q&A With Legendary Nike Sneaker Designer Peter Fogg

A Look Back: Q&A With Legendary Nike Sneaker Designer Peter Fogg

Whenever I get the chance to interview someone who has designed a sneaker I actually own, I get pretty excited. A few weeks ago, I posted an old Nike ad featuring a boot Peter Fogg designed: the Terra Sertig. I knew Peter was active on Instagram but didn’t figure he was watching my account that closely. When he commented about going through many sketches for that shoe, I decided to take a chance and message him to see if he’d do an interview. He agreed, and my mind started spinning over all the different sneakers I could ask him about.

Q&A with Peter Fogg Story Image 2

One of the reasons Fogg’s designs are so influential to me personally is because I had a pair of the Air Humaras he designed while working at a local Foot Locker in 1999. I loved the special design of the Air bubble, and the Goatek traction underneath. In general, I had such an appreciation for sneakers growing up, that I saved almost every Eastbay catalog from ’96 through ’03. Obviously, the sneakers Fogg designed were in many of the catalogs, so I asked Fogg about some of his favorites and the stories behind them. With that, here is my interview with the legendary Peter Fogg:

Drew: Where did you grow up?

Peter: I grew up in the town of El Cerrito, California. Also called the Bay Area or East Bay.  I went to Kennedy High School in Richmond and later ended up at San Josè State.

Q&A with Peter Fogg Story Image 1

Drew: Were you a runner/hiker?

Peter: Back in the ’60s and ’70s I don’t really remember using those terms unless you ran track or cross country in high school. At my school, cross country was just a way to get in shape for football, basketball, or baseball. I think the choices at the shoe store were Converse Chuck Taylors and an early adidas shoe. My cross country days ended very quickly after a foot injury. I was on the wrestling team in high school, and on the weekends or after school, it was about playing basketball or football with friends and my brothers. Our other favorite activity growing up was riding dirt bikes with friends.

Q & A with Peter Fogg Story Image 8

Drew: What brought you to Nike?

Peter: I always find it remarkable to think I made it to Nike and worked there for 18 years. Before Nike, I had already been working for 14 years as a designer at 5 different companies. I was 39 years old and thinking what was next for me. While still recovering from fighting Hodgkins disease (six months of chemo and a month of radiation), I talked to an old classmate from San Josè State who worked at Nike and I discovered he was the design director there. I said I was looking for a change; aircraft interior design was not where I wanted to spend the rest of my design career. I brought sketches of shoes and roller blades I had worked on to the interview. I guess they saw some potential and hired me.     

Q & A with Peter Fogg Story Image 5

Drew: When was your first design actually produced for retail?

Peter: My first shoe was the Air Humara, designed in 1995, and I guess it made it to retail in late 1996 or early 1997. Designers usually remember when a shoe was designed but retail and production dates not so much.

Q & A with Peter Fogg Story Image 3

Drew: Can you share the story behind the Humara line? What does “Humara” mean? Why do you think that line was so successful?

Peter: The story is interesting because in 1995, the running category decided they wanted to take control of the trail running product and let a designer with no footwear experience do the designs. Before 1995, trail running product was a little hit or miss. The running team really wanted to focus on making great running shoes that could be used on trails, so a high priority was placed on making a performance running shoe first. The name Humara comes from the Tarahumara people living in Mexico. The Tarahumara use the word Raràmuri to describe themselves, which means “runners on foot” or “those who run fast” according to Wikipedia. They are very good long-distance runners. I think the Humara line was successful because the designs were fun but also performance-driven. The colorways were bold but also wearable, so they became a shoe to wear all day, not just for running. 

Q & A with Peter Fogg Story Image 5

Drew: What is the backstory behind the Sertig and the Nike phone ad featuring Anita Weyermann?

Peter: The insight and marketing brief came from Europe; they wanted four shoes designed: a mid and low-cut serious trail runner plus a fell running and orienteering shoe. I was to go to Switzerland and Germany for research and inspiration, but I did not have a passport and we could not get one in time. A fellow designer took my place and ended up designing the fell and orienteering shoes. This was good for me because it let me focus on just the Sertig and Albis. I was happy with the design directions, but when the first samples came from the factory, my European marking person was not sure. He was thinking I should redesign it, but my marketing person at Nike talked to him, and they decided to go forward with the existing design. This is the same marketing person that helped save the Humara design. The person on the Sertig phone call must have been a serious mountain runner. I did not meet her. Some of the trail running over there is a cross between hiking and running, and the Sertig mid-cut offered some additional protection from rocks and sticks.  

Q & A with Peter Fogg Story Image 7

Drew: Can you rank your top 10 favorite designs?

Peter: It’s not easy to rank designs, but here are some of my favorites. There are a lot of firsts in this list:

1.  Air Humara – My first complete shoe design. Development was not a fan of the design, but marketing believed and supported it.

2.  Zoom Tallac – My first boot design after leaving running and joining ACG. This boot helped redefine what a lightweight boot could be.

3.  Air Terra Humara – First Vis-Air trail shoe. This shoe became a big sales success because it crossed over into style and fashion. Vogue magazine wrote an article about it in 1997.

4. Air Minot – First running shoe with Gore-Tex. Some inspiration came from warning signs, military logos, and slow-moving vehicles.

5.  Zoom Air Terra Sertig – First mid-cut trail running shoe. It was designed for the European market, and the inspiration came from low-profile Formula 1 race cars.

6.  Nike Air Terra Albis 2 – First shoe modeled in 3D for the factory. From a performance and design point of view, this shoe turned out very good.

7.  Water Cat – This shoe makes the list because it is very unique. It was almost dropped because it was so strange – a fully considered design reducing waste and adhesives.

8.  Nike Zoom Ashiko – First Flywire boot designed to be lightweight and protective with a classic look from early ACG boots. The bright orange colorway was awesome.

9.  Nike Hyperdunk 13 – From my basketball days. I enjoyed working on the Hyperdunk and trying to make it the best performance basketball shoe I could. 

10.  Nike Air Bakin’ Boot – This boot was designed while I was working in NSW (Nike Sports Wear). Using the old Bakin basketball shoe inspiration and combining it with Foamposite and Vis-Air to make a boot was fun. I like the way it turned out.

Q & A with Peter Fogg Story Image 9

Drew: What was your favorite technology to utilize in footwear? Zoom Air? Goatek? Anything else?

Peter: Zoom Air was always a favorite and proven technology to use in my footwear designs.  For trail shoes, it just made sense because of the cushioning and low-profile designs. I think Goatek was very cool also, but it didn’t really catch on with the trail runners. Maybe Nike should bring it back. Foamposite and Flywire were also fun technologies to work with.  

Q&A with Peter Fogg Story Image 6

Drew: What are you up to these days?

Peter: I’m keeping busy. I help my wife design and produce a line of animal quilt patterns she sells online and at trade shows. We travel together more and are going on a boat cruise vacation in the Mediterranean this summer. In my spare time, I do some freelance work and digital painting. I always have a project to do around the house and yard because, when the sun is out, I’m usually out riding my motorcycle. Our three lovely kids still live in the Northwest and visiting them and seeing the grandkids is a special treat!

A Look Back: The Hottest Summer Kicks of 2001

A Look Back: The Hottest Summer Kicks of 2001

Summertime is almost here, which means shorts, sun, a little sand, and, of course, the hottest kicks. Back in 2001, I remember flipping through the May Eastbay catalog planning out which Nikes I wanted to cop. Eastbay didn’t make it easy, as there were way too many styles to choose from. I decided to pick out a few of my favorites from back in the day, along with a little commentary about each one. Without further ado, here’s a look back at the hottest styles from summer of 2001.

Basketball

Air Jordan XI Snake Low

Look familiar? That’s because both these colorways are back after their initial release on May 23, 2001. With the all the success of the Air Jordan XI back in ’95-’96, Nike and Jordan Brand continued to experiment with new colors and materials. The snakeskin print replaced the classic patent leather, and Jordan heads everywhere loved them.

Presto Cage

The Presto sock/sneaker movement brought about many offshoots, including the Presto Cage for basketball. This affordable sneaker had a sock-like upper just like the Presto runner, along with a plastic cage for more stability. It was completely laceless, which made it easy to slip on and off for those summertime pickup games.

Air Jet Flight

Worn by stars like Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki, people who owned the Jet Flight swear it was one of the best performance basketball sneakers ever. Featuring a heel Air Sole unit and forefoot Zoom Air, the Jet Flight was light, sturdy, and responsive on the court. Please retro ASAP, Nike.

Air Zoom GP III

It seemed like Gary Payton’s models got crazier every year back then. The GP III was jam-packed with technology top to bottom, and even featured a completely removable skin that players could switch out to change the color. The GP III is not one of Payton’s most popular models, but it sure was one of the most forward-thinking.

Trainers

Air Trainerposite Max

A cousin to the original Foamposite – the Trainerposite featured a Foamposite shell upper with spandex mesh. It also had a heel Air Max unit and forefoot Zoom Air. Check out that O-ring zipper as well – that was a feature on a lot of DRI-FIT tops and jackets. The Trainerposite was way ahead of its time in terms of technology.

Air Trainer Escape

Another byproduct of the Presto revolution, the Air Trainer Escape was a training model inspired by the sock-like runner. Like the Presto Cage basketball shoe, the Trainer Escape also had a cage for added support.

Air Visi Havoc

This trainer absolutely must be mentioned because of how wild it was. The Visi Havoc not only featured a translucent outsole, it also showcased a TPU strap and toggle fit system. A weird and wild design that nobody is asking to come back (yet).

Casual

Air Soc Moc Leather

Looking back, I have to credit models like the Soc Moc for the success of brands like Birkenstock, who made high quality slides and sandals. The Soc Moc was a sporty take on the Birkenstock trend, featuring leather and even an Air Sole unit in the heel.

ACG Deschutz

The Deschutz had success in the ’90s, and Nike continued to capitalize on it with other similar slide models. Everyone had a pair of slide sandals back then, and it’s a trend that still continues today.

Runamok Pic, Slip, 4N1 & String

What is a Runamok? OK, maybe this wasn’t one of the hottest shoes in ’01, but we need to talk about these. From the looks of them, they were meant to be casual sport sandals/mocs/running shoes – shoes that were versatile enough to be worn at the beach or in the mountains. Unfortunately, Nike went a bit overboard with these. Check out model B – you could slip a photo into the front sleeve.

Dunk Hi LE

This obsidian/white Dunk High was tucked away in the bottom corner of the page but make no mistake – this was a beauty. Dunks have always ridden the wave of successful Nike sneakers. In fact, they are in the midst of a comeback. This one was a great choice for summer back in 2001.

Running

Air Max Plus III

Rumor has it that the Air Max Plus III will be returning sometime soon. This model featured Tuned Air cushioning in the heel, and visible Air-Sole cushioning in the forefoot. A solid model that is definitely due for a retro.

Air Max Tailwind

The Tailwind always had a loyal following – for those who didn’t want the full cushioning of the Air Max runners, but more cushioning than lower-tiered silhouettes. This model definitely had a flashy design with some nice color options. It’s worth noting that this Tailwind also swapped out the typical visible Air Max heel cushioning for Tuned Air.

Air Presto

Last, but certainly not least, the Air Presto continued its dominance a year after it first released with plenty of cool, new colorways. The perfect summer running sneaker came in sizes XS-XL, as it was inspired by the fit of a t-shirt. Prestos and their offshoots are still popular to this day, and it’s great to look back and see how revolutionary this sneaker really was in terms of fit and style.