If you’ve ever run, jumped, zigged, zagged, cut, or just plain walked on Zoom Air, you know the feeling. If you’ve tried on a sneaker designed for KD, or Kyrie, or PG, or Giannis, or the Brodie, you’ve felt it. You’ve experienced the ultra-responsive, super-lightweight cushioning cradling your foot and then springing it forward with every step. It’s been over 25 years since Zoom Air first made its way onto the sneaker scene, and it’s pretty impressive that a once radical technology we now take for granted has been so prevalent in sneaker design for this long. Zoom Air was certainly a risk when Nike started utilizing it in 1995. After all, everyone wanted Air Max sneakers – and the more Air, the better. Why would I want a skinnier Air bag that you couldn’t even see? Why would I want my foot lower to the ground?
Like everything else Nike does, Zoom Air came as a response to the athlete’s needs. Sure, Nike Air Max cushioning was great, but it was also bulky and heavy. Smaller, quicker athletes needed something lighter and more responsive – something that would give them an edge over their competitors. Zoom Air solved that problem by introducing an ultra-thin Air bag with hundreds of tiny synthetic springy fibers inside that cushioned the foot and provided better responsiveness than Air Max. The thin yet bouncy Zoom Air allowed the athlete’s foot to be closer to the ground for quicker movement.
At first, Zoom Air was called ‘Tensile Air.’ I was first introduced to the new technology in 1995 with sneakers like the Air Go Flight LWP (for basketball players like Penny Hardaway and Mitch Richmond), the Air Challenge LWP (for Andre Agassi), and the Air Zoom LWP running sneaker. LWP stood for Lightweight Performance and featured Tensile Air cushioning inside rather than the bigger Nike Air bags. Another early basketball sneaker that featured Tensile Air was the incredibly popular Air Zoom Flight 95, which was worn by players like Jason Kidd and Tim Hardaway. Clearly, implementing the word “Zoom” in the shoe’s name was a hit, and Nike quickly changed the name of the cushioning from ‘Tensile’ to ‘Zoom.’
In 1996, Nike released models like the Air Zoom Alpha for running and the Air Zoom Flight 96 for basketball. With the ‘96 Summer Olympics in the USA, it was the perfect opportunity for Nike to showcase their newest technology with models like the Air Zoom Flight ‘96 (worn by Penny Hardaway).
In 1997, Zoom Air was incorporated into pretty much every sneaker category – from Ken Griffey, Jr.’s cleats, to Andre Agassi’s Air Zoom Ablaze, to Barry Sanders’ turf trainers, to Penny Hardaway’s Foamposite. Zoom Air was even featured in soccer shoes and hockey skates. Because you couldn’t actually see the Zoom Air through a window like you could with Nike Air Max, designers got creative and added hypnotizing circular patterns on the bottom of the sneaker soles to give you a visual idea of what Zoom Air looked and felt like.
The Air Jordan line actually took a few years to incorporate the low-to-the-ground cushioning into the soles of their shoes, but once MJ started rocking Zoom Air, he never went back. Starting with the Air Jordan 12, designer Tinker Hatfield swapped out full-length Air soles for Zoom Air. Jordan loved the cushioning so much, he convinced teammate Scottie Pippen to try them out. Scottie also loved the cushioning so much, he asked Nike to swap out the Air Max cushioning in his Air Pippen 1 for Zoom Air, which they did for him during their ‘97 playoff run.
In ‘99, Nike began incorporating visible Zoom Air into their sneakers. This way, we could see the ultra-thin fibers that were packed inside and provided the springy feel. By this time, Nike’s Alpha Project was well underway. Alpha Project was an opportunity for Nike to further test and experiment with new designs and technologies like visible Zoom Air in sneakers and DRI-F.I.T. in clothing. Some of the more popular sneakers featuring visible Zoom Air were the Air Vis Zoom Uptempo (worn by Allan Houston and Patrick Ewing), the Air Zoom Citizen running sneaker, and the Air Zoom Beyond (worn by Agassi).
For the next 20 years, Zoom Air would be incorporated into the Air Jordan line, as well as Kobe and LeBron sneakers. Basically, all the signature basketball sneakers today – from the PG’s to the KD’s to the Kyrie’s – feature Zoom Air. For running, Nike continues to tinker and improve upon Zoom Air from modest running sneakers like the Air Zoom Pegasus line to flashy and aggressive runners like the Air Zoom Alphafly Next%. Zoom Air is simply the best cushioning money can buy and has more than lived up to the hype it created over 25 years ago.
As January rolls around once again, we’re reminded that this is hands down the best month for football. The stakes are higher, competition is tougher, and it’s finally time to crown another Super Bowl Champion. With all the excitement building for this year’s playoffs, let’s take a trip down memory lane and relive some of the greatest moments in NFL playoff history in quiz form. It’s time to test your knowledge about playoffs past and see if you’re truly an NFL superfan.
To be the best football player on the field, you must train like one. We collaborated with some of the top football trainers in the game to get their workout programs that will take your skills to the next level. Below are a few simple drills that you can do on the field or add to your at-home workout routine.
As we head into the final stretch of the NFL season, quarterbacks continue to dominate the MVP conversation. Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers are leading the charge – all making a convincing case that they deserve the league’s top honor. But most recently, Kyler Murray has generated a considerable amount of buzz as he turns heads with not only his exceptional arm talent, but his ability tuck it and run. Let’s take a look and each of these star-studded quarterback’s cases to take home the hardware this year.
Let’s be clear. This is Mahomes’ award to lose. He had yet another MVP moment in Kansas City’s 35-31 victory over Las Vegas this week, leading his team on a game-winning drive with under two minutes to play. The only real knock against Mahomes is that he’s been so consistently good for so long, that excellence is the expectation. After leading Kansas City to a Super Bowl victory, the reigning Super Bowl MVP is putting together another flawless season. Through week 11, Mahomes has thrown for 3,035 yards and 27 touchdowns against only two interceptions. He continues to make jaw-dropping throws with ease and has led his team to a 9-1 start. Mahomes is not only the best quarterback in the league, he’s the best player in the league right now. It’s going to take an insane final stretch from one of these other quarterbacks to dethrone him.
Through the first quarter of the season, it looked like Wilson was finally going to get the recognition he deserves as one of the best quarterbacks, if not the best, of the last half-decade. The #LetRussCook campaign jumpstarted his MVP buzz, as Seattle let him throw the ball at an exceptional clip and take more chances per game. However, he’s tossed seven interceptions over the last five games, in which Seattle posted a measly 2-3 record. Through week 11, Wilson still has impressive numbers. He’s thrown for 2,986 yards, 30 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions so far. He’s also added 367 yards on the ground. But unfortunately, Wilson is going to have to replicate the insane start he had to the season to have any chance of taking home his first MVP award this year.
Death. Taxes. Aaron Rodgers in MVP consideration. The high-profile quarterback is putting together one of the most efficient seasons of his career while about to turn 37 years old. After Green Bay drafted his heir apparent Jordan Love in the first round of this year’s draft, Rodgers is proving to the organization that he’s got quite a bit left in the tank. Rodgers has put up 2,889 passing yards and 29 touchdowns against only four interceptions through week 11. His completion percentage is up four percent from his career average and he’s constantly making great reads to find the open man game after game. Unfortunately for the savvy vet, his dud of a game against Tampa Bay is keeping him just behind Mahomes and Wilson in the MVP odds. He’s going to have to pull off some of that quintessential Rodgers magic to make up the ground he’s lost and win the 2020 MVP award.
Every MVP race needs a dark horse candidate, and Murray has filled those shoes nicely. The second-year, dual-threat quarterback is making a name for himself by shattering expectations and producing with both his arms and his legs this year. He’s put up 2,644 passing yards, 619 rushing yards, and 29 total touchdowns while only turning the ball over 12 times. Murray has been an electric playmaker so far this season and still has room to improve, but he needs to become a more efficient passer to have a realistic shot at winning MVP honors.
Sound off in the comments and let us know who you think deserves to be MVP this season.
Buying a new pair of football cleats is an investment. You need a dependable pair that can weather the wear and tear of a long, grueling season. But you also want to pick out a cleat that fits your style of play and looks good while you’re out there on the field. Finding all these qualifications in one pair of cleats can be tricky, so let us guide you through some of our top-selling football cleats and make your job a little bit easier.
White on white on white. This Adizero’s classic and clean colorway meshes perfectly with the aerodynamic and textured look adidas created for this cleat model. A stable and strong cleat plate combined with the lightweight, EVA midsole gives you the perfect feeling of fast underneath your feet. With the minimalist design and clear white look, this cleats pairs well with almost any team color scheme so you can play well and look even better doing it.
The Nike Football design lab has been consistently churning out good looking cleats for years now, but there’s something about the Vapor Untouchable that goes above and beyond the brand’s norm. This Game Royal colorway instantly captures your attention with the speckled, optical illusion-like pattern plastered across the front of the cleat. The cleat also boasts silver accents around the midfoot and on the Nike ‘Swoosh’ while the one-piece bootie construction gives off a modern and practical look. Built for dynamic players, this cleat ensures that you will stand out from the rest on game day.
A cleat as flashy as it is fast. This golden Adizero Burner gives off big trophy vibes and is specially designed to allow for superior traction without overly weighing you down with cleat pressure. The reflective heel offers premier support and is sure to turn heads as you streak down the field. This cleat also utilizes a snug lace closure system to provide an excellent fit and has an ironskin toe cap that’s abrasion-resistant for long-lasting use.
The Jordan brand needs no introduction. The sneaker giant has dominated the basketball and casual shoe world for decades, but only recently transitioned over to the gridiron, creating classic Jordan Retro looks in cleat form. This Game Royal/Steel Grey colorway of the famous Retro 10 instantly gathered praise from casual culture observers to avid readers of hypebeast.com. This cleat not only looks fresh, it’s also super practical on the field. The mid-high fit sleeve contained in durable, synthetic leather makes it one of the most comfortable cleats in the game.
For fans of the all black everything look, you have to check out this Under Armour Spotlight Select cleat. Haptic Printing overlays combined with mid-cut construction mesh give this model the prototypical Under Armour design, accompanied by the advanced tech that the brand always provides. This cleat also features strategically placed bladed and conical studs for improved braking along with quick, multidirectional movements so you’ll never get caught slipping on grass or turf.
“Champions are made in the offseason.” A quote that’s as timeless as it is true. The best athletes, teams, and coaches know that to stay at the top of their game, they need to continuously put in the work. One of the coaches who’s always preached this mantra is Coach Steven Lo. Coach Lo is the Offensive Coordinator, Quarterback Coach, and Director of Strength and Conditioning for the 2019 National Championship football team at St. John Bosco High School. To help you prepare for your next season, Coach Lo has shared a weekly plan for your entire offseason that can help you enhance your skills and excel at your specific position.
Outlined below are two workouts that can help you increase your speed or up your power and strength. It’s recommended that if you’re a wide receiver, running back, defensive back, linebacker, or tight end, you focus on the speed workout, and, if you’re a lineman on either side of the ball, the power workout is geared towards you. Depending on your position, you may need to adjust the amount of weight or reps, but Coach Lo’s guidelines well help you establish a good starting point.
Speed Workout (WR|RB|DB|LB|TE)
Outlined below is Coach Lo’s seven-week speed program – designed to boost your straight-line and lateral speed, and improve your quickness on cuts and change of direction. As mentioned before, these workouts provide the basic guidelines, and depending on your offseason goals of adding mass and strength along with speed, you can adjust the amount of weight or reps. For example, linebackers, tight ends, and power backs should focus on gradually adding more weight during lifts than other positions in order to maintain a strong base. During the first week, it’s also recommended that you run through the workout with little or no weight in order to gauge how your body responds.
Sprint into the middle of the box and transition to finish at each cone
Sprint – Finish straight ahead
Sprint – 45 degree break to left front corner cone
Sprint – 90 degree break to left middle cone
Sprint – 45 degree break to the left back cone
Sprint – 180 degree to the start cone
Repeat all reps to the right side
Sets and Reps
1st round start first 5 yards into the box with a sprint
2nd round start first 5 yards into the box with a back pedal
Wednesday (Lower Body Lift + Skill Day)
Band Walks (3 x 10 forward, backward, left, right)
Work to build strength
Power Clean (4 x 5) Weights at a level to focus on fast bar speed
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (4 x 5 each)
Box Step-Ups (4 x 5 each)
Work to build power and explosive speed
Lateral Bounds (4 x 5 each leg)
Lunge Jumps (4 x 5 each leg)
Power Clean (4 x 3)
Kettlebell Swings (4 x 10)
Lying Leg Lifts (3 x 15 each)
Skill Day – Route Running or DB Work
Thursday (Skill Day)
QB|WR Timing, drills, 1 on 1, 7 on 7
Friday (Upper Body Lift)
Incline Bench (4 x 5)
Bent Over Row (4 x 5)
Curls (3 x 10)
Tricep Extension (3 x 10)
Shoulder Raises (3 x 10)
Saturday – 7 on 7 Tourney or practice
Sunday – Active Recovery | Rest Day
Dynamic Warm Up (5-10 min)
Yoga (15 min)
Lying Hamstring Stretch
Power Workout (OL|DT|DE)
If you’re looking to build up your power and strength in the trenches, Coach Lo has also outlined a workout focused on increasing your muscle mass and explosiveness off the line. Below you’ll find another seven-week program designed for linemen on both sides of the ball.