A Look Back: Fall Sports ’99

A Look Back: Fall Sports ’99

“We’ve got what’s hot for fall,” read the caption on the front cover of the August 1999 Eastbay catalog. Looking back, that was actually a massive understatement. It was always sad to realize that school was just around the corner, but it was also exciting because fall sports were here. For the pros, MLB playoff races were heating up, and the NFL season was kicking off. Plus, college football was starting as well. For us kids, we were perusing the pages for our Back to School pair of sneakers, apparel, and soccer or football cleats. There were way too many kicks to choose from, as the August ‘99 Eastbay catalog was packed with a ton of new styles for the fall. Plus, they had their website up and running with over 17,000 products online. Here’s a look back at some of the classic kicks from that season.

A Look Back Eastbay Catalog Fall '99 Trail Running

Trail Running

This particular Eastbay issue kicked right off with Trail Running, which was a little random for them. Typically we saw Basketball, Running or Football first. I was totally fine with the change, as all the big brands were cranking out some dope trail runners. adidas was leading the charge with the Response Trail and Incision. They both featured adiPRENE cushioning in the heel and forefoot. Nike was close behind with some great trail runners as well, including the all new Air Terra Goatek. The Goatek had a super-grippy outsole that worked like a goat’s hoof. If Goatek, aka G-Tek sounds familiar, it’s because rapper Drake’s new sneaker also uses this OG technology. And don’t forget about the New Balance 802 – back when I worked at Foot Locker in high school, I remember selling a ton of these.

A Look Back Eastbay Catalog Fall Sports '99 Running

Running

Nike was churning out crazy technological cushioning advances, including visible Zoom Air in the Air Zoom Citizen, a heel Tuned Air unit in the Air Max Plus, and a full-length Tuned Air unit in the Air Tuned Max. The Tuned Max and Air Max Plus have retroed, but we’re still waiting patiently for the return of the Citizen. The Air Zoom Citizen was developed by Rick Lower, who had some challenges designing it with the new visible Zoom Air cushioning. Over time, it has become a cult favorite, however. adidas was dropping plenty of popular runners as well, including the Response, Ozweego, Supernova, Equipment Ride, and Universal. All had super-clean looks with great adiPRENE cushioning inside.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Fall Sports '99 Basketball

Basketball

This was back when Jordan Brand was becoming its own entity apart from Nike. Jordan Brand had their own section in Eastbay, leading off the basketball part of the catalog. There was plenty of apparel, and some shoes that might look familiar including the Air Jordan XIV Low, the 3 Percent (MJ’s body fat percentage at the time), the Trunner, and the Quick 6 (for Eddie Jones). Interestingly, that UNC-themed AJ XIV was a sample pair – the pair that released to the public had perforations on the upper instead of the smooth leather. The Nike Basketball pages were full of unique silhouettes, including the debut of the Air Flightposite (dropped 8/18/1999), the Vroomlicious, the Air Tuned Uptempo, and the Air Pippen III. Allen Iverson’s Reebok Questions were still going strong 3 years after they originally dropped, with low-cut versions taking off for the warmer months.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Fall Sports '99 Tennis

Tennis

Some great tennis models were available, including Andre Agassi’s Air Zoom Beyond (designed by Wilson Smith) and Air Court Motion (designed by Peter Hudson). The Air Zoom Sterling for women also featured visible Zoom Air like the Beyond. The GTS Lo, which stands for “Great Tennis Shoe” as the story goes, was a very popular casual model. I personally owned both the Air Zoom Beyond to play in for matches, and the Air Duration II to practice in.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Fall Sports '99 Soccer

Soccer

Nike was putting out some incredibly high-quality soccer boots, including the Mercurial R9, which was designed for Brazilian football superstar Ronaldo. There was also a women’s version called the Air Zoom M9, which was made for American women’s star Mia Hamm. Along with the Mercurial and M9, there was also the Air Rio Zoom, which featured a full-length Zoom Air sockliner. adidas was obviously no slouch in the football department, and dropped the Equipment Predator Accelerator for a whopping $164.99. adidas also made the Equipment Maneeta – the first Predator shoe designed for women.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Fall Sports '99 Training

Sport Training

The Cross Training section was packed with trainers that don’t get enough love, including the Total Air Griffey Max, the Air Max 120, and the Air 90. This was also when the Air Sunder Max was making big waves. Nike trainers in general were getting very bright and colorful, and utilized all sorts of cushioning, from Zoom Air, to Tuned Air, to Air Max.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Fall Sports '99 Football

Football

Think Eastbay shoppers loved football? This issue had 9 pages dedicated just to the cleats alone. That’s not even counting additional pages featuring plenty more football equipment and jerseys. Stars like Keyshawn Johnson, Peyton Manning, Chris Slade, Howard Griffeth, Antonio Freeman, Doug Flutie, Barry Sanders, John Randle all made cameo appearances on those pages. Cleats like the Air Zoom Apocalypse, Pro Shark Stove, and Reebok Pro Shroud gave players of all ages and levels great options to choose from.

Want to see more of Drew’s classic Eastbay catalog collection? Make sure you check out all of his Look Back stories.

Drew Hammell A Look Back

Drew is the creator of @nikestories on Instagram. Growing up in the ’90s, Drew loved playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and even dabbled in cross country running. He ended up focusing on tennis in high school and helped lead his team to multiple state titles. His favorite athletes growing up include Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Andre Agassi, and Ken Griffey, Jr. He was smart enough to save all his old Eastbay catalogs from the ’90s and loves sharing them with the sneaker community. Follow him at @nikestories or read more of his work here.

A Look Back: Nike Sneakers At The 2000 Summer Games

A Look Back: Nike Sneakers At The 2000 Summer Games

After an extra year-long wait, the Summer Games are finally here. We didn’t have to wait a full year for the games to begin back in 2000, but we did have to wait until September. The Summer Games were held in Sydney, Australia in the Southern Hemisphere, which meant it was too cold to hold them in July and August, since it was technically still winter down under. For reference, the coldest month of the year in Sydney is July, when it averages around 60 degrees outside. Who would want to swim in a pool when it’s that cold?

Though it made sense to delay the games until it got warmer, it was kind of a bummer for kids in the US, since September was the beginning of the school year. Plus, the time difference meant we couldn’t watch anything live. There were still some memorable sneaker moments worth reminiscing about though, and it was certainly an entertaining competition, so here’s a look back at some of the kicks featured during the 2000 Summer Games, along with a few USA-themed sneakers that dropped that month, as well.

Eastbay Catalog Summer 2000 Olympics Nike Air Flightposite II

Nike Air Flightposite II

Nike was really onto something with the ultra-futuristic Foamposite that dropped in 1997. They followed that up with the introduction of the Flightposite in 1999. The successful run of foam-based sneakers continued with the introduction of the Flightposite II in 2000. Featuring a hyper-thin (2mm), fully integrated Foamposite construction upper with dynamic fit Lycra full-length inner sleeve, the Flightposite II also boasted an external forefoot “shroud” construction along with forefoot and heel Zoom Air units. Worn by Kevin Garnett, the Flightposite II would be the last sneaker he wore while with Nike before signing with AND1.

Eastbay Catalog Summer 2000 Olympics Nike Air Zoom GP II

Air Zoom GP II

It’s kind of crazy that this model doesn’t get more love. Personally, the Air Zoom GP II is a sneaker I’d love to see retro. At the time, the Air Zoom GP II was Gary Payton’s latest state-of-the-art sneaker. Gary Payton was on a roll with one successful sneaker after another. I remember testing out the Air Zoom GP II when it dropped and finding it a bit more rigid than the Air Zoom GP, but it was still an incredible sneaker. Featuring a lightweight synthetic leather “shimmer” upper, and a fully internalized Phylon midsole with forefoot and heel Zoom Air units, the Air Zoom GP II was Gary Payton’s go-to sneaker during the 2000 games.

Eastbay Catalog Summer 2000 Olympics Nike Shox BB4

Nike Shox BB4

In my opinion, the Nike Shox BB4 defined the 2000 Olympic Games, thanks mostly to Vince Carter and the “Dunk of Death.” I remember watching the highlights in shock as the Raptors star literally jumped OVER 7’2” French Center Frederic Weis. It was the moment that people still talk about today, and on Carter’s feet were those futuristic new sneakers, the BB4. Described in Eastbay as built “for the player who demands a high level of responsive cushioning and lateral stability,” the Shox BB4 featured a molded, lightweight synthetic upper with a futuristic, durable shell surrounding a form-fitting, performance-proven, internal bootie. The Nike Shox cushioning system in heel featured urethane columns for impact protection and energy return and an engineered thermoplastic plate to support the columns and provide a stable “footprint”. Plus, they even had Zoom Air in the forefoot. A few other players also rocked the Shox, but for most people the most memorable one to do it was VC. Carter debuted them at the Olympics, but they didn’t officially release until November.

Eastbay Catalog Summer 2000 Olympics Nike Air Max Tailwind 5 and Nike Air Presto

Air Max Tailwind 5

Although the Air Max Tailwind 5 may not be the most famous Tailwind, it was certainly a well-crafted runner packed with awesome features. For the runner seeking great cushioning, durability and support, the Tailwind 5 was designed with lightweight mesh and a synthetic upper. The Tailwind 5 also had a full-length polyurethane midsole with a heel Tuned Air unit and visible forefoot Air-Sole unit. They were good enough for Team USA basketball star Tim Hardaway to wear. Though the Tailwind 5 has not gotten much retro love over the years, Nike did bring them back this year in the OG white/navy colorway.

Air Presto

Everyone loved the Presto back in 2000. Nike marketed the quirky silhouette as “Simply irresistible comfort for runners – like a t-shirt for the feet.” The Presto was unique because it came in small, medium, and large – not numbered sizes. It had a dynamic stretch mesh upper for a sock-like, ultra-comfortable fit, along with an engineered support cage which provided midfoot security. The full-length Phylon midsole included an encapsulated heel Air-Sole unit and expanding arch. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Presto, Nike released a USA retro version last year.

Eastbay Catalog Summer 2000 Olympics Nike Air Max Plus

Air Max Plus

Back in 2000, the Air Max Plus was enjoying one heck of a run. Everyone loved the smooth, wavy lines along the upper and the bouncy, supportive Tuned Air cushioning system. It seemed like everyone had a pair of Air Max Plus sneakers back then. With a synthetic one-piece upper with TPVR ribs for glove-like fit. There was also a visible forefoot Air Sole unit and Tuned Air pillars in the heel to produce maximum cushioning. Nike dropped a USA-themed colorway just in time for the Summer Games in a striking obsidian/red/gold silhouette.

Eastbay Catalog Summer 2000 Olympics Nike Air Max International

Air International Max

For the runner who wants cushioning, durability and value, Nike offered the Air International Max. Originating from the successful Nike Triax line, the Air International Max featured a synthetic leather upper with breathable mesh. It had a full-length, low-density polyurethane midsole with low-pressure heel Air-Sole unit and a visible forefoot Air-Sole unit. It came in an obsidian/red/white colorway with a USA logo on the tongue for all the patriotic runners out there.

Drew Hammell A Look Back

Drew is the creator of @nikestories on Instagram. Growing up in the ’90s, Drew loved playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and even dabbled in cross country running. He ended up focusing on tennis in high school and helped lead his team to multiple state titles. His favorite athletes growing up include Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Andre Agassi, and Ken Griffey, Jr. He was smart enough to save all his old Eastbay catalogs from the ’90s and loves sharing them with the sneaker community. Follow him at @nikestories

A Look Back: June 1996

A Look Back: June 1996

If you were a kid growing up in the ‘90s, the Eastbay June ‘96 catalog captured the magic of those long summer days perfectly.  

Remember when…We played from sunrise to sunset. Occasionally, someone would ask the score. No one knew. No one cared. Just friends who love the game,” read the caption on the front cover. 

This really was my childhood and how I spent my summer in 1996. I had just wrapped up the 8th grade, and literally played sports all day into the evening everyday without a care in the world. I had two, maybe three pairs of shorts. I had one pair of sneakers. I had no cell phone. It didn’t matter.  

Aside from no one owning a cell phone, the World Wide Web was also in its infancy. At least half the country didn’t even have a modem yet. Michael Jordan and the Bulls were on their way back to the NBA Finals vs the Seattle Supersonics, and we were all buzzing about the summer Olympics kicking off in Atlanta in a few weeks.  

It’s safe to say that June 1996 was the start of one of the most epic summers of all time. Here’s a look back at some of the footwear we were rocking back then.

Basketball

A Look Back Eastbay Catalog June 1996 Basketball
A Look Back Eastbay Catalog June 1996 Basketball 2

With the Bulls and Sonics facing off in the NBA Finals, everyone was talking about Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman. On these pages you can see some of the gear they rocked, including Pippen’s Air More Uptempo and Rodman’s Air Shake Ndestrukt. Dennis Rodman was so influential, he even had another shoe called the Air Worm Ndestrukt. Plus, the Air Rattle Ndestrukt and Air Roll Ndestrukt dropped as well. Charles Barkley’s Air CB 34 dropped in a new black/purple colorway, and Jason Kidd’s Air Zoom Flight was available in a white/royal/emerald color. Many consider this the peak of ‘90s basketball because there were so many revolutionary models to choose from.

Shop eastbay.com for today’s top Nike Basketball Shoes.

Running

Look Back Eastbay Catalog June 1996 Running Shoes

The Air Max 96 and Triax were big that summer. If the Triax looks familiar, it’s because Nike just brought them back last year in the classic white/royal and the USA edition colorways. I remember a lot of moms and dads were rocking the Air Structure Triax and Air Windrunner back in the day too. Plus, Nike was debuting some really dope Team USA apparel for the Olympics in Atlanta. Featuring hats, tees and shorts, the USA Track & Field gear from that summer Olympics is highly coveted today by vintage collectors.

Shop the lnewest Nike Running Shoes & Apparel at eastbay.com.

Trainers

Look Back Eastbay Catalog June 1996 Training Shoes

So many trainers to choose from! Nike cross trainers were clutch because you could play multiple sports in them. The Air Slant, Air Vapor and Air Barrage were designed for football, and the Air Diamond Fury 2 and Air Griffey Max were for baseball. Plus, Nike dropped the all-new Air Muscle Max – the most cushioning ever in a cross trainer. All these models could be used for other sports like outdoor basketball as well.

Shop eastbay.com. for today’s top Nike Training Gear.

Tennis

Look Back Eastbay Catalog June 1996 Tennis

Andre Agassi’s Air Alarm was a big hit, as he won the gold medal for team USA in the Olympics rocking them. The Sonics’ Gary Payton also rocked the Alarm for a few games in the NBA. Plus everyone loved the durability of the Air Resistance II+, which was worn by Jim Courier as well as dads at every country club around the globe. Even Reebok and Adidas had some cool silhouettes like the Vindicator and Integral Lo.

Hiking

Look Back Eastbay Catalog June 1996 Hiking Shoes
Drew Hammell A Look Back

Drew is the creator of @nikestories on Instagram. Growing up in the ’90s, Drew loved playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and even dabbled in cross country running. He ended up focusing on tennis in high school and helped lead his team to multiple state titles. His favorite athletes growing up include Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Andre Agassi, and Ken Griffey, Jr. He was smart enough to save all his old Eastbay catalogs from the ’90s and loves sharing them with the sneaker community. Follow him at @nikestories

A Look Back: The Air Jordan XI Low

A Look Back: The Air Jordan XI Low

Few can deny the impact the Air Jordan XI has had on the sneaker community over the past 25 years. From the very first moments we saw Michael Jordan rocking the XI’s, we were mesmerized by them. Tinker Hatfield’s genius design made them look super-sharp on and off the court. The Air Jordan XI was one of the most popular sneakers MJ ever wore, to the point that Jordan Brand started retro’ing them just five years later beginning in the late fall of 2000. We just couldn’t get enough of that patent leather goodness. 

Although Jordan Brand did release a low-cut version of the XI back in ‘96 in both a white and black colorway, these silhouettes had a different design compared to the mid-cuts. The OG lows were meant more for off-court styling, with breathable mesh weaved into the upper. It almost seemed strange at the time that Jordan Brand and Nike didn’t drop a low-cut version with the patent leather mud guard. That all changed in the Spring of 2001.

 

Drew Hammell Look Back Jordan Retro XI Low

In April and May of 2001, Jordan Brand released low-cut patent leather and super-stylish snakeskin versions of the Air Jordan XI. These shoes were meant to be rocked right away for the warm summer months. They were flashy and looked great with shorts. This low-cut version featured the same full-length encapsulated Air-Sole unit and composite shank-plate, just like the mids. There were also matching Jordan Brand shorts, caps, tees, and beanies – because back in the early ‘00s, your whole fit had to be color-coordinated from head to toe. 

In April 2001, the white/silver colorway dropped for ladies, the white/columbia and white/red dropped for men, and the white/pink dropped for girls. Then in May ‘01, the white/pink snakeskin dropped for women, and the white/navy snakeskin dropped for men. There was also a white/citrus and white/zen grey version.  

Though Michael Jordan was famous for rocking the AJ XI mids, he also wore the lows with patent leather as well. During the NBA Finals versus the Sonics in ‘96, he briefly wore the low-cut “Bred” colorway. He also rocked a low-cut patent leather “Concord” colorway during the trophy ceremony after the Bulls defeated the Sonics that year. It would have made sense for Jordan Brand to bring these classic colorways back in low-cut versions right off the bat, but we had to wait years for them to finally release to the public. 

While the holidays have always been about the AJ XI mid releases each year, the summer belongs to the lows. This spring, Jordan Brand is bringing back the white/citrus colorway, along with a low-cut version of the classic “Legend Blue”. The love for the XI’s is not going away anytime soon, so once again these models will be instant sell outs.

The Jordan Retro XI Low drops 5/7 on eastbay.com

Drew Hammell A Look Back

Drew is the creator of @nikestories on Instagram. Growing up in the ’90s, Drew loved playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and even dabbled in cross country running. He ended up focusing on tennis in high school and helped lead his team to multiple state titles. His favorite athletes growing up include Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Andre Agassi, and Ken Griffey, Jr. He was smart enough to save all his old Eastbay catalogs from the ’90s and loves sharing them with the sneaker community. Follow him at @nikestories

A Look Back: The Story Behind Andre Agassi’s Iconic ‘A’ Logo

A Look Back: The Story Behind Andre Agassi’s Iconic ‘A’ Logo

What’s your favorite Nike logo of all time? The Swoosh and Jumpman logos are obviously number one and two, but after that there are plenty more up for debate.  

For me, the Andre Agassi ‘A’ logo ranks in the top five greatest Nike logos of all time. Agassi was my favorite tennis player growing up in the ‘90s, and I wore several of his sneakers, shorts, and tees while playing varsity tennis in high school. I stared at that logo for years and always felt it was a work of art.

I’ve been following legendary Nike designer Tom Andrich for a while on Instagram, and recently learned he was the one who designed the ‘A’ logo. I figured I had to see if he’d be willing to share the story behind the logo and how it came about.  

Featured on models like the Air Zoom Challenge 1 and 2, the Air Zoom Ablaze, the Air Zoom Pounce, Air Assailant, and tons of Dri-F.I.T. shirts, shorts and hats, the Agassi line in the mid to late ‘90s was edgy, fashion-forward, and functional for those who wanted to stand out on the tennis court. Here’s what Andrich had to say about how the logo was created:

Drew Hammell Andrew Agassi Hat Logo

DH: Can you tell us when you first started at Nike and what your first role was?

 

TA: I graduated from Oregon State University in the summer of ’83, moved to Portland in January of ’84, and was hired by Nike in February. I was hired to be an in-house graphic designer for apparel. I was 23 years old. The apparel design team was very small, so in that first year everybody had several roles; a lot of screen print production work, presentation work, catalog work, and some graphic design apparel projects. It was pretty entry level graphic design work with a handful of meaningful projects here and there.

 

DH: The Agassi ‘A’ logo is one of my all-time favorites – what do you remember about coming up with that design?

 

TA: Thank you. It is also one of my favorites. The logo, and how it came about, is something that I remember vividly. But the actual product around that time, not so much. After working on tennis from ’85-95, I was transitioning to another assignment within Nike and moved to Hong Kong in July ’95. In fact, I never had a hand in the implementation of the logo on the actual apparel from that point on.  

Andre had won the Oz (Australian) Open in January of that year. He had also remade his physical appearance by cutting the iconic hair. Because of this makeover, there was heightened interest in this project internally at Nike. The two highest creative leads within Nike had a difference of opinion around the logo style and what aesthetic would best represent Andre. One director thought that Andre was still a rock-n-roll rebel at heart, while the other thought he was a rejuvenated man and that the logo should look sleek and ultramodern. At the beginning of the project, I was into the abstract paintings of Franz Kline. I just thought the idea behind that art, being fluid and dynamic, matched with the persona of Andre, himself. So I was leaning towards this bold, more abstract concept. I worked on both directions. We presented to Andre (and Brooke Shields), during the Lipton Championships, late at night in Key Biscayne in March ’95. He picked the rebel direction. I came back and worked on a new version. I drew the new ‘A’ on a paper towel to get that bleeding effect. It was intended to be somewhat abstract but, at the same time, be recognizable as a letter form.

Drew Hammell Andrew Agassi Logo Tennis Apparel

DH: How often were you able to meet with Andre? What did he think of the logo and his footwear/apparel?

 

TA: For the logo project, I only met with him the one time when we presented to him in Key Biscayne. He gave great feedback, I went back to Beaverton, designed the revised version, and then I moved on. I believe the tennis apparel product designer, Devon Burt, presented the final version to him. There were no revisions requested, so I feel he must have been satisfied. When Andre came to campus last year to shoot the 30th Anniversary Promo for Challenge Court, I noticed he was wearing a custom pair of sneakers with the ‘A’ logo and that made me feel pretty good.

Drew Hammell Andre Agassi Logo Nike Air Assailant

DH: Wilson Smith designed Andre’s sneakers during the mid to late ’90s – what was it like partnering with him?

 

TA: Wilson, of course, was an amazing designer for Nike. He is such a positive and energetic force of a person. Footwear and apparel designers had a mutual respect for each other’s work. There was some ideation at the beginning of the season but the real collaboration was mostly around color. Any graphic placement on footwear was usually done by Wilson himself. The only footwear that I worked on heavily that had a real visual impact, was the Air Tech Challenge IV.

Drew Hammell Andre Agassi Logo Air Zoom Challenge

DH: What was your all-time favorite project to work on while you were at Nike?

 

TA: I had an almost 37 year career at Nike. I was in apparel the whole time, so there were probably hundreds of projects but not many had the staying power of the early tennis work. My favorite has to be the Challenge Court line from ’90. I just really like the story of the ball logo coming from the ink cap. I like that the whole line looks like a tribute to art from the 80’s/90’s, while still holding up as something modern and unique. It looks like ’Nike’ to me.

 

DH: What are you up to these days?

 

TA: I’m freshly retired from Nike, so that’s a new feeling for me. I still have a passion for sports and intend to keep following my favorites. I paint for a creative outlet. It’s a hobby for now but I’m into it and I did quite a few canvases last year. I’m also a fairly new grandfather and that is very exciting.

Drew Hammell Andre Agassi Logo Air Zoom Ablaze
Drew Hammell A Look Back

Drew is the creator of @nikestories on Instagram. Growing up in the ’90s, Drew loved playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and even dabbled in cross country running. He ended up focusing on tennis in high school and helped lead his team to multiple state titles. His favorite athletes growing up include Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Andre Agassi, and Ken Griffey, Jr. He was smart enough to save all his old Eastbay catalogs from the ’90s and loves sharing them with the sneaker community. Follow him at @nikestories

A Look Back: 10 Nike Air Max Running Shoes You Probably Forgot About

A Look Back: 10 Nike Air Max Running Shoes You Probably Forgot About

Happy Air Max Month! A time when we look forward to fresh new releases from Nike and reminisce about the great Air Max running sneakers from years past. Personally, I love flipping through my old Eastbay catalogs to look for models most of us have forgotten about. The ‘90s and early 2000s were chock full of breathtaking new designs and colorways. There were so many great sneakers dropping, a lot were overlooked as the years passed by. I asked some friends what they thought of some of these models, and it’s clear I’m not the only one who would love to see some of these gems come back. Here’s a list of 10 you probably haven’t seen in a while. None have ever retroed, but hopefully we can change that over the next few years.

Drew Hammell A Look Back Nike Air Max 2002

10. Air Max 2002

As time goes by, I find the Air Max 2002 more and more intriguing. Though the upper was nothing all that special, that Tubular Air sole was very different.  The Air Max 2002 was definitely polarizing, however.

“I’d love to see Tubular Air return somehow even if it’s just as a one-off. To me, it symbolizes a time where experimentation was at an all-time boom and Nike was pumping out some incredible looking models. The quality was there and most importantly, the care was there too.” – @airmaxarchives

“These were horrible then and horrible now lol The tubular Air was funky/cool, but those uppers always killed it for me. That entire early 2000s Air Max era was kind of rudderless in my opinion. I think many ignored that era, it’s funny but there are very scarce DS examples of sneakers from that era.” – Complex Associate Creative Director @kevonmylevel

Drew Hammell A Look Back Nike Air Max Slip On

9. Air Max Plus Slip On (2002)

I don’t know why Nike hasn’t brought the Air Max Plus Slip On back yet, but it seems like a no-brainer to me.

“Slip-on TNs would go crazy. Those Stussy/Kukini/Spiridon hybrids ended up being one of my most worn pairs last year. It’s so good to have a slip-on with real cushioning/tech in the rotation.” – collector @jackzurier

I couldn’t agree more, especially since the Air Max Plus continues to be a sneakerhead favorite.

Drew Hammell A Look Back Nike Air Max 2001

8. Air Max 2001

After switching to a Tuned Max sole for the Air Max 2000, Nike reverted back to the traditional dual-pressure, full-length Air-Sole unit for the AM 2001. The Air Max 2001 is definitely not one of the more memorable Air Max models. I completely ignored this shoe when it released, as I wasn’t really feeling the design. Seeing OG pairs 20 years later makes me wish Nike would have brought them back for their anniversary, though. The white/orange/silver pair would definitely stand out today. Maybe we’ll see them in 2026 for the 25th anniversary.

Drew Hammell A Look Back Nike Air Max 2000

7. Air Max 2000

Talk about pressure. It’s 1999. Nike’s been crushing it with Air Max running designs for over a decade. Everyone is waiting with anticipation to see what they’ll come up with for the 2000th year of the Common Era and they drop….this? The Air Max 2000 was another underwhelming design with zero new breakthroughs. The only interesting feature was the fact they swapped out the Air Max sole for a Tuned Max one. As with all these models, I kind of like it now and would be intrigued to see how it would do in today’s market.

Drew Hammell A Look Back Nike Air Max 98 TL

6. Air Max 98 TL

Whenever I post these on Instagram, they are by far the most beloved. This was my first pair of running shoes back in high school, and I was obsessed with them. So much so, I wore them to gym class and ended up severely spraining my ankle while playing basketball in them. Never play basketball in Air Max sneakers.

“The Air Max 98 TL has always been one of my absolute favorites. The colorways were bright, the Air unit was massive, and the mini swoosh always caught my eye. They always stood out to me at that time as the most comfortable pair of Air Max I had/that was out. Even the insoles were different and gave additional cushioning. I think these were overlooked at that time, making them a nice change from a lot of the more mainstream pairs. Need to push that pair, and we can’t settle for AM97 soles lol.”@lemon_diesel

Drew Hammell Look Back Nike Air Max TL 99

5. Air Max 98 TL (1999)

This sneaker is near and dear to my heart, as well, because I also owned this one. Nike pumped out three different Air Max models in 1998, and to make it super confusing, they all had the same name: the Nike Air Max. This particular model released at the end of ‘98 and during the first half of ‘99, but it is still known as the Air Max 98 TL (or Total Length). I wore this sneaker to school and during my shifts at Foot Locker back during my senior year of high school. I beat them into the ground, and I’m kicking myself for throwing them out years ago.

Drew Hammell A Look Back Air Max Tuned Precision

4. Air Tuned Precision (1999)

The Air Tuned Precision was the ladies’ version of the Air Tuned Max, which dropped in 1999. While we are definitely excited to see the return of the Air Tuned Max this year, it would be cool to see the Precision return as well. 

“The Air Tuned Max is my favorite Air Max running model from the Alpha Project Era. Everyone is excited for the celery colorway, but I’m hoping for a retro of the firefly/storm grey colorway. Not to mention the shoe had one of the most controversial/memorable print ads of all time. The shoe is just criminally underrated, which speaks to the Alpha Project era in general.”@nikealphaproject

Drew Hammell look Back Nike Air Max Light

3. Air Max Light III (1997)

A sneaker that was highlighted in both the men’s and women’s colorways on the iconic Nike phone ads, the Air Max Light ‘97 has a cult following and would certainly do well if retroed properly. I always thought it was cool that the Air Max Light featured Zoom Air in the forefoot and an Air Max sole in the heel. It also has a similar upper to another favorite of mine – the Air Zoom Pounce, which was worn by tennis star Andre Agassi. In my opinion, this is the coolest Air Max Light that ever dropped.

Drew Hammell Look Back Nike Air Max Tailwind II

2. Air Max Tailwind II (1997)

A nice, clean runner with plenty of cushioning and a solid follow-up to the ‘96 Tailwind. Unfortunately for this model, it dropped the same year as the super-iconic Air Max 97, so it easily got overlooked. In the current dad-shoe era, I feel like the Tailwind II would thrive – especially in that crispy white/citron/black colorway. There was also a great matching track suit that paired perfectly with this model.

Drew Hammell A Look Back Nike Air Max Tailwind

1. Air Max Tailwind (1996)

I really have no explanation as to why this Tailwind hasn’t come back yet. Nick, aka @ogorbust had a pair and loved them.

“They were technically my first ‘Air Max’ I got for track. Previous years were always the Pegasus or Icarus. I was really excited to see larger open Air units and would push on them quite a bit lol. (I got them when) they were a year-old model and colorway in blue/yellow hitting the sales rack, but I loved them nonetheless.”

Also of note is that there is an iconic photo of The Notorious B.I.G. rocking them. So if Nick and Biggie were wearing them, you know they were dope.

Drew Hammell A Look Back

Drew is the creator of @nikestories on Instagram. Growing up in the ’90s, Drew loved playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and even dabbled in cross country running. He ended up focusing on tennis in high school and helped lead his team to multiple state titles. His favorite athletes growing up include Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Andre Agassi, and Ken Griffey, Jr. He was smart enough to save all his old Eastbay catalogs from the ’90s and loves sharing them with the sneaker community. Follow him at @nikestories