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.

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.

The Jordan Zion 1 Has Arrived

The Jordan Zion 1 Has Arrived

Zion Williamson has been a presence in basketball fans’ lives since his high school highlights were being reposted and shared by ESPN, Overtime, and Bleacher Report, among others. The jaw-dropping dunks and sheer athleticism on display were unlike anything anyone had seen since LeBron.

Zion would go on to spend one year at Duke, where he exceeded expectations. The most memorable moment of his college career might have been when, in a game against UNC, his shoe exploded after he tried to plant and cut. That high-profile incident, plus his status as the most hyped prospect in a decade, made his decision about what sneaker company he would sign with one of the most highly anticipated choices in a decade. 

While every major brand made a huge push to land Zion’s signature, he eventually committed to Jordan. Now, in his second season with New Orleans, Zion has the team challenging for a playoff spot. Meanwhile, Jordan announced the launch of his first signature shoe, the Jordan Zion 1.

Zion is built like almost no other player in the league. The brute strength and raw power he plays with make him nearly unguardable in one-on-one situations. Designing a shoe that will hold up to and accentuate his style of play was going to be a challenge, but the team at Jordan seems to have risen to it.

Cushioning and support were always going to be the two most important aspects of the shoe. Zion is a big man, and he needs a shoe that will prevent as much wear and tear on his knees and feet as possible. A full-length Air Strobel unit stitched directly into the upper helps give the impression that of walking on a cloud. Pair that with a Zoom Air unit sitting under the forefoot, and that’s how the design team came up with the perfect amount of cushioning for any player no matter how big or small.

The support in the shoe is also broken down into two components. The first is the higher sidewalls to protect players moving side to side. The shoe is a 5/8 cut, splitting the difference between low and high. The other component is a two-loop band that locks players in every time they lace up.

Other key components of the shoe include a multidirectional traction pattern to provide elite grip for all the planting and cutting players do throughout the game. There is also a padded tongue to relieve some of the pressure the laces put on the top of your foot.

The Jordan Zion 1 will be available starting 4/23. Make sure to head to Eastbay to snag a pair as well as all other Zion apparel from Jordan.

RELEASE REPORT:  RETRO 4 ‘ALTERNATE MOTORSPORT’

RELEASE REPORT: RETRO 4 ‘ALTERNATE MOTORSPORT’

Each week, we’ll showcase the most popular upcoming shoe drops. We’ll give you the lowdown on the prices and sizes, break down the history of the shoe, and give you the scoop on the newest tech features. Check back every week for the hottest shoe drops. If it’s hyped, it’s here. You can check out the full list of releases on Eastbay’s Release Calendar. Here’s what you have to look forward to this week:

JORDAN RETRO 4 ‘ALTERNATE MOTORSPORT’ – JUNE 17 AT 10 AM ET

Jordan Retro 4 'Alternate Motorsport'

Jordan Brand is once again paying tribute to Michael Jordan’s love of motorsports with the Retro 4 ‘Alternate Motorsport,’ which features a mostly black upper with white and blue accents. Earlier this year, Jordan dropped the ‘Motorsport’ colorway, which features a mostly white upper. The motorsport collection is inspired by MJ’s motorcycle racing team and his lifelong passion for the sport. Men’s $189.99, Grade School Boys’ $139.99.

NIKE FLYKNIT RACER – JUNE 16 AT 10 AM ET

Nike Flyknit Racer

The Nike Flyknit Racer drops this weekend in a fresh pearl pink, grey, and melon colorway that’s perfect for summer. Nike Flyknit construction delivers ideal structure and support to create a lightweight running shoe that looks as good as it feels. Take your runs to the next level and cross the finish line at record pace this summer. Men’s $149.99.

NIKE PG 1 ‘ELEMENTS’ – JUNE 16 AT 10 AM ET

Nike PG 1

The Nike PG 1 ‘Elements’ features an olive upper with a mix of mesh and shaggy suede material. A speckled midsole and orange accents on the tongue and upper eyelets complete the look. The PG 1 quickly became a fan favorite signature basketball shoe this season, and this colorway is perfect for on-court performance and off-court style. Men’s $109.99.

NIKE KYRIE 3 – JUNE 15 AT 10 AM ET

Nike Kyrie 3

The newest Kyrie 3 colorway features a black upper with an iced outsole and multicolor traction pods for a sleek look that’s built to Irving’s exact specifications. Lace up in a pair of Kyrie 3’s and start putting your defenders on ice this summer. Men’s $119.99.

RELEASE REPORT:  RETRO 13 ‘CHUTNEY’ DROPS SATURDAY

RELEASE REPORT: RETRO 13 ‘CHUTNEY’ DROPS SATURDAY

Each week, we’ll break down the most popular upcoming shoe drops. We’ll give you the lowdown on the prices and sizes, break down the history of the shoe, and give you the scoop on the newest tech features. Check back every week for the hottest shoe drops. If it’s hyped, it’s here. You can check out the full list of releases on Eastbay’s Release Calendar. Here’s what you have to look forward to this week:

JORDAN RETRO 13 LOW ‘CHUTNEY’ – JUNE 10 AT 10 AM ET

Jordan 13 Low Chutney

The iconic Jordan Retro 13 Low ‘Chutney’ will drop for the first time since they originally debuted in 1998. Considered a grail by many collectors, this classic looks just as good as it did back in the day with the traditional black and chutney color scheme. The Retro 13 Low ‘Chutney’ is one of the most anticipated releases of the summer, as Jumpman fans have waited nearly 20 years for a chance to get their hands on this fresh kick. Men’s $174.99, Grade School Boys’ $119.99.

GIRLS’ JORDAN RETRO 4 ‘LINEN’ – JUNE 10 AT 10 AM ET

Jordan Retro 4

The Jordan Retro 4 ‘Linen’ has a lot of men wishing they could fit into a smaller shoe size. This women’s exclusive comes in a white and light sand colorway with light blue accents finishing the look. It’s the perfect kick for the summer season, so pick up your pair and make all the guys jealous they couldn’t find one in their size. Women’s $139.99.

NIKE LEBRON 14 ‘AGIMAT’ – JUNE 10 AT 10 AM ET

A special version of the Nike LeBron 14 drops this week with the ‘Agimat’ colorway, which pays homage to the Philippines. ‘Agimat’ is the Filipino word for charm. The Philippines is a basketball-crazy nation that LeBron has a connection with since visiting. The shoe comes in a blue-and-gold colorway with references to LeBron’s career accomplishments on the tongue’s pull tab. Men’s $174.99.

NIKE FOAMPOSITE PRO – JUNE 9 AT 10 AM ET

The Nike Foamposite Pro drops in full family sizing this weekend with a ‘Tech Fleece’ colorway. The Foamposite is outfitted with tech fleece wool material on the upper and an icy outsole. It’s the first time the Foamposite will feature this special material construction, so if you’re a fan of the Foams this is a must-cop. Men’s $229.99, Grade School Boys’ $179.99.

NIKE PG 1 – JUNE 9 AT 10 AM ET

Nike PG 1The PG 1 drops in the ‘Pure Platinum’ colorway that has been popular with Nike and Jordan releases in recent weeks. It’s another fresh look for summer, with a platinum grey upper and a gum rubber outsole. The textured fish scale design is a reference to George’s love of fishing. If you’re still searching for a ‘Pure Platinum’ look in the right silhouette, then this might be your shoe of the summer. Men’s $109.99.