A Look Back: The Best Basketball Sneakers From October 2006

A Look Back: The Best Basketball Sneakers From October 2006

It seems difficult to fathom, but some pretty well-known sneakers that dropped in 2006 are already 15 years old. This fall, shoes like the LeBron IV, Kobe 1, and Air Max 360 are just five years away from turning 20. Back in ‘06, future legends like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tracey McGrady, and Dwyane Wade were making names for themselves. Some of the shoes they were wearing became legendary as well. Here are some of the memorable basketball sneakers from that October 2006 Eastbay catalog.

Nike

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Nike LeBron
Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Nike Kobe

This was back when LeBron James was really taking off in popularity. Entering his fourth season with the Cleveland Cavs, LeBron also had a new sneaker: the Zoom LeBron IV. Featuring a full-length Zoom Air unit, this model has definitely been a fan favorite over the years. Most people also say this sneaker was built like a tank, weighing a whopping 27.8 ounces. You could also still cop the LeBron III in the low-cut model as well.

The Zoom Kobe 1 was also available that month in the all-black colorway. There were also four colorways still available in the Eastbay Outlet section for $99.99. This was Kobe Bryant’s first official model with Nike after he left adidas and entered one of the most amazing sneaker free agency periods of all time.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Nike Air
Look Back Eastbay Catlaog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Nike

Other popular models that season were the Air Max 360 and Air Max 180. As described in the name, the Air Max 360 featured a completely full-length, Air-Sole unit for the most Air cushioning ever. The Air Max 180 had a massive Air Max heel unit along with Zoom Air in the forefoot. Those who hooped in these always have fond memories of them.

Team Basketball sneakers were incredibly popular back then, with the Air Zoom Huarache Elite TB, Air Max Elite TB, and Shox Elite TB being the top choices for high school and college players. The Huarache Elite was designed for smaller, quicker guards, and the Air Max Elite and Shox Elite were built for bigger players. Each model came in just about every colorway imaginable for team matching.

As for retro models, there were a few familiar sneakers available as well, including the Air More Tempo, Air Max Penny IV, and Air Max 2 CB ‘94 Low. Nike was trying to bring back some popular models from 10 years earlier by adding in some new colorways. Unfortunately, the colorways were a bit too off and never really caught on with sneakerheads.

Jordan Brand

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Jordan Brand Carmelo Anthony

Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony was entering his fourth season in the NBA as well, and his signature Jordan Brand sneaker was grabbing everyone’s attention. The October 2006 Eastbay featured the Jordan Melo M3 along with a matching apparel collection. The Jordan XXI PE and Low models were also available that month.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Jordan Brand

Retro Jordans were continuing to grow in popularity, with the Air Jordan IV ‘Military Blue’ available for kids. There were also four new colorways of the Air Jordan V, including the ‘Green Bean’ colorway, which is rumored to return in 2022.

There was also a ton of Jordan apparel, including authentic on-court UNC, Georgetown and California warmups.

adidas

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 adidas

With Kobe Bryant leaving for Nike in 2003, the new star for adidas was Rockets star Tracy McGrady. His T-Mac sneaker line was packed with high-performance models, including the T-MAC 6, T-MAC Trainer, and T-MAC III. There was also the adidas Courtshark, which was inspired by the T-MAC 5. Retro-wise, the Crazy 8 retro was very popular. This model was originally worn by Kobe Bryant, but was marketed for Wizards star Gilbert Arenas in 2006.

Converse

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Converse Dwyane Wade

Coming off the Heat’s 2006 championship season, Dwyane Wade’s sneaker stock was soaring. In the summer of 2003, Wade left Jordan Brand and signed a deal with Converse, somewhat surprising the sneaker world. Wade’s 1.3 Mid and Signature LE were both available in the October 2006 catalog.

Reebok

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Reebok

2006 would be a challenging year for Sixers star Allen Iverson, as he was traded in December to the Denver Nuggets. Iverson was still Reebok’s #1 athlete though, and still had a loyal following. That fall, the Answer X released, featuring Pump Adjustable technology for a custom fit. Also worth mentioning is the fact that Iverson’s Question Mid was still incredibly popular 10 years later, and still was available in many different sleek colorways.

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.

How Basketball’s Biggest Stars Faired In Their Debut

How Basketball’s Biggest Stars Faired In Their Debut

The beginning of a new season brings another crop of rookies eager to prove they belong amongst the world’s best players. Brandon Ingram, Kris Dunn, Buddy Hield, and the rest of the 2016 rookie class will step onto the court and play against today’s biggest superstars.

Everybody starts somewhere. The biggest names in basketball were rookies once upon a time, too. Check out how LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and the rest of basketball’s stars faired in their first career games. Who impressed, and who struggled?

LeBron James

LeBron James Eastbay Catalog Cover

Perhaps nobody faced greater expectations in their first game that LeBron James. He was just a few months out of high school, where he was dubbed ‘The Chosen One.’ James delivered in his first career game, scoring 25 points and adding nine assists and four steals, but it was a losing effort against Sacramento. James’ stat line is even more remarkable considering the media circus that was on hand for his highly anticipated debut.

Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry Eastbay Catalog Cover

Stephen Curry was solid in his opening game, scoring 14 points and dishing out seven assists, but his team ultimately suffered a one-point loss. Interestingly, the sharpshooter only took one 3-pointer in the game, and missed it. In fact, it wasn’t until his 10th game that he took more than three 3-pointers in a game. He finished the season with 17.5 points per game, while making an average of 2.1 3-pointers per game. Last season, he made over five per game while averaging a career-high 30.1 points per game.

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant Eastbay Catalog Cover

After dominating the college ranks for a year at Texas, the 19-year-old Durant seamlessly transitioned to the league with an 18 point outing in his first game. He pulled in five rebounds, as well, but his team struggled and went on to lose by 17 points. In fact, wins were tough to come by for a while, as Durant’s team lost the first eight games of the season despite Durant reaching double-figures in each contest.

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving Eastbay Catalog Cover

Despite being sidelined for most of his only collegiate season, Kyrie Irving was still taken with the No. 1 pick in the draft. Irving would go on to have a successful rookie season, but he struggled in his first game. He scored just six points on 2-of-12 shooting from the field, while adding seven assists. He went on to average 18.5 points and 5.4 assists per game for the season, proving that the first game isn’t always an indication of how a season will go.

Paul George

Paul George Eastbay Catalog Cover

Paul George also struggled in his debut, scoring only four points while missing four of his five shot attempts. George was largely a role player for most of the season, before being inserted into the starting lineup late in the year and into the playoffs. He finished the season with nearly eight points per game.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant Eastbay Catalog Cover

It’s hard to imagine now, but Kobe Bryant’s spectacular career got off to a rough start. The 18-year-old only played six minutes in his debut and missed the only shot he took. He finished the game with zero points, one rebound, one block, and a turnover. He averaged just 7.6 points per game in his rookie season, a far cry from the Kobe we would see just a few years later.

Dwyane Wade

Dwayne Wade Eastbay Catalog Cover

The Flash burst onto the scene in his first career game with an impressive stat line that included 18 points, four rebounds, and four assists. He was also a workhorse, racking up 41 minutes of playing time in his debut. Like his future teammate LeBron James, Wade also failed to come away with the win in his introduction to the league.

Dwight Howard

Howard Eastbay Catalog Cover

As an 18-year-old, Dwight Howard gave everyone a preview of what was to come by posting a double-double in his first game. He scored 12 points and pulled down 10 rebounds while also recording four blocks in a winning effort. Interestingly, the big man also grabbed three steals and two assists to round out a solid debut.

Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose Eastbay Catalog Cover

A 20-year-old Derrick Rose showed his versatile skill set and ability to run an offense in his career debut, scoring 11 points and dropping nine assists to just miss out on a double-double. He struggled with his shooting percentage, but his command of the offense helped Chicago score a double-digit victory in the season opener.

 

Jordan Fly Wade 2 EV – Biscayne

Jordan Fly Wade 2 EV – Biscayne

words // Luis Sanchez

Following one of the most popular trends of the past two seasons, the Jordan Brand recently cooked up this Miami inspired colorway of the Jordan Fly Wade 2 EV.

DWade’s latest signature Jordan Shoes represent Miami with a Biscayne Blvd inspired color combination of black, red and purple. Club Purple and black take care of the synthetic upper on these, while spark handles the laces and Flywire to bring the Miami inspiration to life. White completes the look, taking care of the DWade and Jumpman branding seen throughout.

This latest colorway of the Jordan Fly Wade 2 EV is now available from Eastbay.

Available: Jordan Fly Wade 2 EV – Biscayne

Performance Review: Jordan Fly Wade

Performance Review: Jordan Fly Wade

Jordan Fly Wade | Supportive, stable, and pretty light too.

words // Zac Dubasik
images // Nick DePaula

When Jordan Brand Creative Director Mark Smith began work on the Fly Wade, it wasn’t even the Fly Wade. “The shoe started out actually as the AJ 2011,” he explains. And while the Air Jordan 2011 project would eventually move in the direction of modular cushioning, the Fly Wade retained that design’s original direction. “We really had one goal with that, which was to create the lightest Air Jordan.” Weighing in at 13.7 ounces, the Jordan Fly Wade is in fact the lightest option out there in performance hoops from Jordan Brand.

That said, the first thing to examine in evaluating the Fly Wade is its weight, which has been billed as “impossibly light.” In recent times, the lightest weight, and most advanced materials, haven’t been what Jordan Brand has been about. In terms of their performance kicks, they’ve been much more likely to use thick leathers, and plush liners, giving their kicks a more handcrafted than high-tech feel. And in comparison with some of the more luxurious of those examples, the Fly Wade is in fact a major step in weight reduction. By current benchmarks though, the weight of the Fly Wade is not mindblowing by any means, and very “possible.” The fact is, there are shoes out there now approaching a full four ounces lighter than the Fly Wade. But that’s not to say that the Fly Wade isn’t a good shoe. It definitely holds its own, and even surpasses some of those lighter shoes in other areas.

The primary method the team at Jordan Brand employed to reduce weight was through careful attention to the upper materials and construction. “It really started with a very simple inner bootie that was as light and breathable as possible, then we started adding skins for support,” explained Smith. “Knowing that we couldn’t use the skins all the way up [the collar], because of the ability to hold his foot in, we put some synthetics and key support elements in the upper portion.” Throughout the midfoot, the upper creates a true one-to-one fit when tightly laced. The combination of shape, materials, and the underlying bootie feel outstandingly secure.

Adding to that security is one of my favorite Jordan Brand support elements: their often-used molded collar notch. “We call it the dog bone,” explained Dwyane Wade, at the media launch of the shoe this past March. “It’s the same element from the [Air Jordan] 2010 that I felt locked my ankle in.” A rock solid heel counter rounds out the shoe’s lockdown. “One of the other things we did,” says Smith, “was took the internal heel cup, and we exposed it on the final version.”

By way of this exceptional heel lockdown, the ankle is fully stabilized – so much so, in fact, that the collar height is largely unnecessary. It’s also one of my two biggest complaints about the shoe. I found the collar’s cut and shape, despite being asymmetrical, to be too restrictive, and at times even uncomfortable. The collar padding above the aforementioned “dog bone” is very thin. Thicker socks helped with the comfort issue, but definitely not with range of motion.

My other major, and stronger, complaint with the Fly Wade also deals with the upper. While the midfoot fit was superb for my foot, I found the toe box had too much volume. The bottom two eyelets, when laced tightly, pull close together, which in turn creates an unnatural flex point in the forefoot. The awkward angles, coupled with the rigid “skin” synthetic used on the upper, pinched on both the medial and lateral sides of my forefoot, causing constant discomfort. Thicker socks provided some relief, but not enough to remedy the problem. Breathability is pretty standard fare for a more supportive shoe, which means not spectacular, but completely acceptable.

As for the shoe’s cushioning setup, Smith describes it as “the best of both. … We’ve got the heel Air, and then the forefoot Zoom – a little bit of Quick and Explosive.” As you might expect, this targets the heel with impact protection, while offering more responsiveness up front. It wasn’t the most responsive forefoot cushioning I’ve ever felt, whether it was because of the bag thickness, or the layers over the bag, but cushioning was still very good. The shoe was also very stable, thanks to its wide base and large TPU shank. The base felt so stable initially, that I thought it came at too much of a sacrifice to transition and court feel. After three or four wearings however, the midsole became more flexible, which helped dial back some of those initial shortcomings.

The direction of the Fly Wade may have split from the concept of the Air Jordan 2011’s final direction, but it does share one similar trait. Smith explained that “some of the technical pieces that we took … were developed at the same time as the 2011 game shoe.” In particular, that refers to the performance graphics used on the shoe’s outsole. An inverted and twisted elephant print makes up the traction pattern, and provided reliable footing. I actually found it to be a slight improvement here over the 2011’s.

The marketing of the Jordan Fly Wade focused heavily on its weight, but if you are looking for a shoe based on weight alone, there are better options. The Hyperdunk 2010, Hyperfuse and Kobe VI are all nearly two to three ounces lighter. The adiZero Crazy Light from adidas Basketball is nearly four ounces lower. However, if you are a player in search of a fast shoe, with no compromise in the cushioning, stability and ankle support departments, the Fly Wade is worth some serious consideration – especially if your tastes trend away from the low-cut craze. The shoe is much better suited for bigger, stronger slashers and swingmen than point guards looking to go as minimal as possible.

It’s far from perfect, but I’m a fan of the direction of DWade’s first post-Converse signature shoe. It fills a void at the signature shoe level in terms of the player it’s best suited for. While the issues I had were fairly major in terms of comfort, thanks to the pinching toe box, there was also a lot I liked about the shoe after the initial break-in period. The Fly Wade’s support, cushioning and traction were all great. Considering that the shoe is tweaks (although very important tweaks), rather than major changes, away from being exceptional, I’m looking forward to the line’s potential.

Jordan Fly Wade details:

designer: Mark Smith

season: Spring 2011

best for: Players looking for a shoe that’s as fast and light as possible, without making any sacrifices to cushioning and support; players who don’t mind a more restrictive collar

colorway tested: Black/ Varsity Red/ Dark Grey

key tech: Heel Air; forefoot Zoom; TPU midfoot shank; lightweight synthetic bonded upper; asymmetrical collar

pros: midfoot fit; stability; cushioning; ankle support

cons: firm collar, excess toe volume creates pinching at flex points

improvements: add padding to top of collar for increased comfort, or better yet, lower collar height; better control flex point through materials and pattern geometry in toe

buying advice: While the Fly Wade is billed as being “Impossibly Light,” there are choices from multiple brands that are far lighter. It is, however, the lightest current option from Jordan Brand, and offers exceptional heel and midfoot stability. If you are looking for a fast shoe, with a greater emphasis on cushioning and ankle support than weight, and you are a Jordan Brand fan, the Fly Wade is worth considering. It’s far from perfect, but a good starting point for DWade’s line to build on.

Available Now: Jordan Fly Wade

Sneaker Watch: Wade Carries the Heat in Game 3

Sneaker Watch: Wade Carries the Heat in Game 3

Another shot of Wade in the Jordan Fly Wade, defended by DeShawn Stevenson in the adidas adiPURE.Dwyane Wade led Miami in the Jordan Fly Wade, defended by DeShawn Stevenson in the adidas adiPURE.

words // Nick Engvall

Much like Oklahoma City teammates of Kevin Durant have supported their team leader by wearing his signature shoes, a number of Miami Heat players took to the court wearing the latest Dwyane Wade shoes for Game 3. It seemed to help the superstar guard because he finished the night with 29 points and 11 rebounds as Miami squeezed out an 88-86 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

For Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki led the way with 34 points and 11 rebounds, going perfect from the free throw line hitting all 9 of his attempts. However, big plays by Miami role players Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh, Bosh with a big shot and Haslem with tough defense, shut down Dirk, who scored the last 12 points for the Mavs.

Check out the latest Sneaker Watch coverage below courtesy of ESPN.

Sneaker Watch: A look at what the pros wear.Mavs owner Mark Cuban takes some pre-game shots wearing the adidas Pro Model.Mavs owner Mark Cuban takes some pre-game shots wearing the adidas Pro Model.

Dwyane Wade in the Jordan Fly Wade.Dwyane Wade in the Jordan Fly Wade.

Jason Terry attempts a shot in the Reebok Zig Slash.Jason Terry attempts a shot in the Reebok Zig Slash.

Jason Kidd takes a jumper in his Peak signature model.Jason Kidd takes a jumper in his Peak signature model. Mike Bibby defends in the Jordan Fly Wade.

Udonis Haslem in the Converse Sicks.Udonis Haslem in the Converse Sicks.

Chris Bosh in the Nike Air Max Hyperdunk 2010.Chris Bosh in the Nike Air Max Hyperdunk 2010.

Mario Chalmers in the adidas adiZero Crazy Light.Mario Chalmers in the adidas adiZero Crazy Light.

Tyson Chandler in the Nike Hyperdunk 2010.Tyson Chandler in the Nike Hyperdunk 2010.

Juwan Howard got some rare playing time in the Jordan Fly Wade.Juwan Howard got some rare playing time in the Jordan Fly Wade.

Dirk Nowitzki in the Nike Hyperdunk 2010.Dirk Nowitzki in the Nike Hyperdunk 2010.

LeBron in the Nike LeBron 8. Dwyane Wade in the Fly Wade.LeBron in the Nike LeBron 8 and Dwyane Wade in the Fly Wade.

A closer look at LeBron's shoes.A closer look at LeBron’s shoes.

Mike Miller in the Nike Zoom KD III.Mike Miller in the Nike Zoom KD III.