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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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