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 Creation of Nike Dri-F.I.T.

A Look Back: The Creation of Nike Dri-F.I.T.

If you’re an athlete, chances are you’ve worn Nike Dri-F.I.T. apparel at some point in your life. And if you haven’t, you’re missing out. From base layer tees, to running shorts, to socks, to track jackets, to slacker tights, to sports bras to hats – the lightweight, moisture-wicking Dri-F.I.T. material has been a staple for athletes young and old for 30 years now. I’ve been wearing Dri-F.I.T. clothing since the late ’90s, and I fondly remember how great that microfiber material felt. The functionality of Dri-F.I.T. was unmatched, and I remember how well it was marketed by Nike. I’ll never forget seeing tennis star Andre Agassi rocking a royal blue long-sleeve zip polo at the US Open during a night match. I couldn’t believe it – it was 80 degrees and he was wearing long-sleeves? What was he thinking? But that was the point. Dri-F.I.T. fabric was moisture-wicking, unlike your standard cotton tee shirts. It worked so well, you could stay cool like Andre on a hot, humid night in New York. I was hooked.

Drew Hammell Look Back Nike Dri-F.I.T.

In case you didn’t know, F.I.T. stands for “Functional Innovative Technology”. In the late ’80s, Nike Apparel was known mainly as a tool for branding and promotions. Think big Nike logos plastered on the chest of tee shirts and hoodies. Heading into the ’90s, however, Nike’s new objective was performance innovation, with a reinvigorated focus on materials. This focus was based, as always, on the needs of athletes.

As Nike was perfecting their Dri-F.I.T. material, their ACG line was also taking off. In the ’80s, layering was necessary for hiking in the mountains and other outdoor activities. Athletes preferred a base layer and then a thermal layer that provided insulation when the temperatures cooled down in the fall and winter. For the extremely harsh elements like wind, rain, and freezing conditions, there was also a need for a waterproof layer. And that, essentially, is how the F.I.T. line was created.

Drew Hammell Dri-F.I.T. Running
Drew Hammell Nike Dri-F.I.T. Training

Along with Dri-F.I.T. were three other key materials that each served specific functions to aid in the athlete’s performance. Nike designed materials that were versatile enough to handle a wide range of temperature and climate variables. Here is a breakdown of the core four F.I.T. categories:

Dri-F.I.T.

Quickly wicks the sweat away from your skin to keep you dry and comfortable. This unique fabric was designed to keep you cool and dry or warm and dry in a wide range of conditions. The construction of the inner layer transports moisture from the body to the outer layer for rapid evaporation.

Clima-F.I.T.

Fabric better than waterproof – allows excess body heat and moisture to escape while keeping water and wind outside. The dense weave of the Clima-F.I.T. microfiber eliminates the need for special laminates or coatings, making it breathable and comfortable in a wide variety of conditions.

Storm-F.I.T.

Totally waterproof but incredibly breathable laminate fabric. Lightweight, soft, and supple – this seam-sealed fabric was designed for the athlete. It will keep you dry and comfortable from the inside out – no matter the weather or activity.

Therma-F.I.T.

Engineered to keep the body warm in cold conditions. The tiny spaces between fibers trap air within the material while blocking wind from the outside to provide the utmost comfort for any cold-weather activity.

Drew Hammell Therma-F.I.T.
Drew Hammell Therma-F.I.T. 2
Drew Hammell therma-F.I.T. 3

Nike launched their F.I.T. line beginning in the spring of 1991 after years of research. Soon, the line accounted for nearly 40 percent of the total material Nike used in apparel manufacturing. They even designed special sewing machines to ensure the fabrics were super-thin yet durable enough not to tear.

Prior to F.I.T. technology, Nike utilized outside products such as Lycra, Coolmax and Thermax for apparel construction and components. John Notar, former VP of Apparel Categories, led the F.I.T. project and remembers, “We decided to name each layer by its function, so on simple terms, it was Dri-F.I.T. keeps you dry, Therma-F.I.T. keeps you warm, Clima-F.I.T. protected you from the elements. A few years later we added Storm-F.I.T., where our thinking was around waterproof fabric. That was really the birthing of Nike F.I.T.. When we went to market, we even had a F.I.T. manual. (source: www.swell-graphics.com) 

Like most things Nike did in the ’90s, the results of the F.I.T. line were ground-breaking and have had a long-lasting impact on the sports industry. Those early tees, shorts, and jackets set the standard for what athletic apparel could become. Not only did Dri-F.I.T. tees look and feel cool, they actually helped you perform better. Granted, Nike was not the only company utilizing polyester microfiber in their apparel back then, but in my opinion, they definitely made the coolest stuff (both literally and figuratively).

Drew Hammell Dri-F.I.T. spread
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: Back to school in the late ‘90s

A Look Back: Back to school in the late ‘90s

Back in the late ‘90s, back to school was everything. What a time it was. 20 years ago, I was a teenager who spent plenty of summer nights in August flipping through those Eastbay catalogs, thinking about all the shoes I wanted to show off in class. I was not old enough to work yet, so staring at all the sneaker options was both heaven and torture at the same time. I knew how good we had it. I knew how fire every shoe in those catalogs was — I  just couldn’t afford anything. Fortunately, as time has passed, the good people at Nike have brought back plenty of the sneakers I could only stare at as a kid.

I didn’t think much about it back then, but over the past few years, I’ve realized how many interesting variations Nike made on classic models that were made just for the youth. Here’s a look back at some of the best back to school” sneakers from the late ‘90s — made  just for the young athletes.

1996

Fresh off their incredible 72-10 championship season, the sneakers Chicago wore (and anything that resembled them) were the hot items going back to school that fall. Michael Jordan’s AJ XI had a low-cut version that was available for kids in both black and white. MJ sported the black/red model in the playoffs very briefly, but he never wore the white version in an NBA game.

Additionally, the sneaker Scottie Pippen sported throughout the ‘96 Finals, the Air More Uptempo, also featured a takedown version with a heel Air Sole unit. Gary Payton famously rocked the white Much Uptempo during the ‘96 Summer Olympic Games. Speaking of the Olympics, the Air Zoom Flight was worn by Orlando star Penny Hardaway that summer, and all the kids wanted to be like Penny back then.

1997

You may recognize the Air Jumpman Pro since they are back on shelves in 2019. The Jumpman Pro was a popular takedown version of the Air Jordan XII and was featured in some similar colorways to Jordan’s 12th model. There was also an Air Pippen model for Scottie, and the Total Max Uptempo was worn by stars like Reggie Miller. Both the Pippen and Uptempo featured the biggest visible Air Sole units Nike had ever made.

The Superturf, which was the children’s version of Barry Sanders’ Super Zoom model, was an extremely underrated sneaker in terms of design and style. It featured the new Zoom Air technology for a low-to-the-ground feel for sharper cuts and quicker acceleration on the field. And don’t forget about that Air Hawk Flight, which was made for the Sonics’ Gary “The Glove” Payton.

1998

1998 featured some of the most slept-on sneakers, including the Air Max 98 TL and the Air Pippen II. Neither of these sneakers got much love, which is too bad because they were great designs and ultra comfortable. In this particular picture, there are two Air Max running models shown: the Air Max 98 and Air Max 98 TL. The kids’ models featured different soles than the adults’ (letter “A” is the Air Max 98 with an Air Max 95 sole. Letter “B” is the 98 TL but with an Air Max 97 sole). It would be really cool to see both come back with these soles attached.

The Pippen sneaker was Scottie’s second signature model, and he won his last championship with the Bulls while rocking them. Over the years, they’ve been retroed but without much fanfare. The Air Sunder was a very popular training sneaker back in ‘98 but has fallen under the radar over the years. Anyone who owned a pair loved them and would love to see them return. They came in a ton of different colors and definitely had that wild, crazy late ‘90s vibe going for them.

1999

1999 was an insane year for back to school with two full pages to choose from. Some of the most notable sneakers included the Air Jordan XIV in five classic colors, along with the Air Jordan XIII Lo in the black/chutney colorway that has yet to retro. Also of note was the Nike Youth Air Max, otherwise known as the Air Tuned Max for adults. This model featured an Air Max 97 sole instead of the Tuned Air Max sole, and if Nike brought this exact model back, it would be a huge hit.

For Jordan Team fans, the Jumpman Quick 6 was available for the young guards, as well as the Jordan 3 Percent for the kids who liked to cross train. The 3 Percent was named after Michael Jordan’s body fat percentage, which was incredibly low. One last Jordan model was the Jumpman VINdicate made for power forwards like the Bucks’ Vin Baker.

Overall, Nike was making big statements in footwear fashion and technology, which is why so many kids chose to rock Nikes for back to school. And for those of us who couldn’t have everything back then, we’re slowly trying to cross off everything we wanted on our checklists as Nike and Jordan continue to retro more and more of these classics. It’s like we’re reliving our childhood all over again.

 

A Look Back: The Hottest Jordan Summer Releases

A Look Back: The Hottest Jordan Summer Releases

Summer is here, and it’s lit: pick-up basketball games, barbecues, late nights with friends, and tons of sneaker heat wherever you look. Eastbay has always been the source for the hottest summertime releases, especially when it comes to Jordan Brand. Back in the day, it was no different – Eastbay had you covered no matter what season you were in. Summer was not the time of year that Jordan and Nike were known to drop brand new releases; however, they were known to drop new colorways and a few new shoes that are worth taking a look at. With that, here’s a few gems from some of the best Eastbay catalogs from the late ’90s and early ’00s.

Air Jordan XII black/red (aka the "Flu Game")

1997

It’s hard to believe, but heading into the summer of ’97, there were still sizes available for the Air Jordan XII black/red (aka the “Flu Game”) and white/red/black (aka the “Cherry”). Jordan wore both colorways during that ’96-’97 season and won his fifth championship rocking the black/reds. This was also the time that Jordan Brand was breaking away from Nike to become its own brand and introduced new spin-off models like the Nike Air Jumpman Pro Mid. The Jumpman Pro Mid had a similar design to the Air Jordan XII and also came in similar colors. It was an opportunity for Jordan Brand to capitalize on a market that was hungry for as many Jordan sneakers as possible, and there were plenty more to come.

Jumpman Pro Quick and Jumpman Pro Strong

1998

The Jordan Brand was on fire heading into the summer of ‘98 after MJ won his sixth and final championship with the Bulls. The Eastbay pages reflected this, as there wasn’t much to choose from that summer since anything Jordan wore sold out quickly. There were some more notable spin-off models, including the Jumpman Pro Quick (made for Lakers star Eddie Jones), the Pro Strong (for the Sonics’ Vin Baker), and the Team Jordan (for several college and pro athletes). All these models were inspired by the Air Jordan XII and XIII and featured similar cushioning technologies.

Jumpman VINdicate

1999

1999 was the year Jordan Brand really started expanding with all types of new silhouettes. With Michael Jordan retired, everyone figured he was done for good. With that in mind, Jordan Brand continued to honor MJ’s legacy with spin-off models like the Jumpman VINdicate (for Vin Baker), the Jumpman Quick 6 (for Eddie Jones), the Jordan Lite, and the Jordan Team II. There was also a women’s Jordan inspired by the AJ XIII. The Air Jordan XIV continued to release in new and exciting colorways, including black/white/indigo and white/black/green models. There was also a low-cut version in royal/black/white. Jordan Brand expanded beyond basketball models by introducing the 3 Percent (inspired by Jordan’s body fat percentage), and the Jordan Trunner (for boxer Roy Jones Jr.).

Air Jordan XV

2000

The main highlight of the controversial Air Jordan XV was that the tongue stuck out, just like Jordan’s. This curious design was also featured on spin-off models like the Jumpman Select and Jumpman Swift 6. The Air Jordan XV was available in plenty of sizes and colors that summer, mainly because not many people were buying them. The design proved to be a bit too extreme, even though performance-wise, the XV was an excellent model. There was even a Jordan Moc inspired by the XV. Additionally that summer, the Air Jordan V returned in a clean white/silver/black colorway, which was perfect for summertime fits.

Air Jordan XVI

2001

The Air Jordan XVI was a revolutionary sneaker in many ways: it featured low pressure visible Zoom Air and a removable gaiter that could be flipped inside out for all kinds of customizable looks. That summer of 2001, the whisper/cherrywood/graphite colorway released and was relatively unpopular. Over the years, however, sneakerheads have been begging for a retro of this specific colorway. Jordan Brand has yet to acknowledge the rising demand, but hopefully this one will get a proper retro in the coming years.

Air Jordan XVIII

2003

Besides the Air Jordan XVIII mid and low, some pretty important retros released during the summer of ’03. The Air Jordan VIII came out in the OG white/black/red colorway, plus a new black/chrome version (worn by Kobe Bryant during his sneaker free-agency season). The Air Jordan XI low in the OG white/cobalt/grey and black/red/charcoal colors both returned and sold out quickly. Jordan Brand added some more spin-offs, including the Jumpman Team FBI, which was notably worn briefly by Michael Jordan during his time with the Wizards.


Click through for more old Eastbay catalog pages featuring Jordans . . .

A Look Back: Q&A With Legendary Nike Sneaker Designer Peter Fogg

A Look Back: Q&A With Legendary Nike Sneaker Designer Peter Fogg

Whenever I get the chance to interview someone who has designed a sneaker I actually own, I get pretty excited. A few weeks ago, I posted an old Nike ad featuring a boot Peter Fogg designed: the Terra Sertig. I knew Peter was active on Instagram but didn’t figure he was watching my account that closely. When he commented about going through many sketches for that shoe, I decided to take a chance and message him to see if he’d do an interview. He agreed, and my mind started spinning over all the different sneakers I could ask him about.

Q&A with Peter Fogg Story Image 2

One of the reasons Fogg’s designs are so influential to me personally is because I had a pair of the Air Humaras he designed while working at a local Foot Locker in 1999. I loved the special design of the Air bubble, and the Goatek traction underneath. In general, I had such an appreciation for sneakers growing up, that I saved almost every Eastbay catalog from ’96 through ’03. Obviously, the sneakers Fogg designed were in many of the catalogs, so I asked Fogg about some of his favorites and the stories behind them. With that, here is my interview with the legendary Peter Fogg:

Drew: Where did you grow up?

Peter: I grew up in the town of El Cerrito, California. Also called the Bay Area or East Bay.  I went to Kennedy High School in Richmond and later ended up at San Josè State.

Q&A with Peter Fogg Story Image 1

Drew: Were you a runner/hiker?

Peter: Back in the ’60s and ’70s I don’t really remember using those terms unless you ran track or cross country in high school. At my school, cross country was just a way to get in shape for football, basketball, or baseball. I think the choices at the shoe store were Converse Chuck Taylors and an early adidas shoe. My cross country days ended very quickly after a foot injury. I was on the wrestling team in high school, and on the weekends or after school, it was about playing basketball or football with friends and my brothers. Our other favorite activity growing up was riding dirt bikes with friends.

Q & A with Peter Fogg Story Image 8

Drew: What brought you to Nike?

Peter: I always find it remarkable to think I made it to Nike and worked there for 18 years. Before Nike, I had already been working for 14 years as a designer at 5 different companies. I was 39 years old and thinking what was next for me. While still recovering from fighting Hodgkins disease (six months of chemo and a month of radiation), I talked to an old classmate from San Josè State who worked at Nike and I discovered he was the design director there. I said I was looking for a change; aircraft interior design was not where I wanted to spend the rest of my design career. I brought sketches of shoes and roller blades I had worked on to the interview. I guess they saw some potential and hired me.     

Q & A with Peter Fogg Story Image 5

Drew: When was your first design actually produced for retail?

Peter: My first shoe was the Air Humara, designed in 1995, and I guess it made it to retail in late 1996 or early 1997. Designers usually remember when a shoe was designed but retail and production dates not so much.

Q & A with Peter Fogg Story Image 3

Drew: Can you share the story behind the Humara line? What does “Humara” mean? Why do you think that line was so successful?

Peter: The story is interesting because in 1995, the running category decided they wanted to take control of the trail running product and let a designer with no footwear experience do the designs. Before 1995, trail running product was a little hit or miss. The running team really wanted to focus on making great running shoes that could be used on trails, so a high priority was placed on making a performance running shoe first. The name Humara comes from the Tarahumara people living in Mexico. The Tarahumara use the word Raràmuri to describe themselves, which means “runners on foot” or “those who run fast” according to Wikipedia. They are very good long-distance runners. I think the Humara line was successful because the designs were fun but also performance-driven. The colorways were bold but also wearable, so they became a shoe to wear all day, not just for running. 

Q & A with Peter Fogg Story Image 5

Drew: What is the backstory behind the Sertig and the Nike phone ad featuring Anita Weyermann?

Peter: The insight and marketing brief came from Europe; they wanted four shoes designed: a mid and low-cut serious trail runner plus a fell running and orienteering shoe. I was to go to Switzerland and Germany for research and inspiration, but I did not have a passport and we could not get one in time. A fellow designer took my place and ended up designing the fell and orienteering shoes. This was good for me because it let me focus on just the Sertig and Albis. I was happy with the design directions, but when the first samples came from the factory, my European marking person was not sure. He was thinking I should redesign it, but my marketing person at Nike talked to him, and they decided to go forward with the existing design. This is the same marketing person that helped save the Humara design. The person on the Sertig phone call must have been a serious mountain runner. I did not meet her. Some of the trail running over there is a cross between hiking and running, and the Sertig mid-cut offered some additional protection from rocks and sticks.  

Q & A with Peter Fogg Story Image 7

Drew: Can you rank your top 10 favorite designs?

Peter: It’s not easy to rank designs, but here are some of my favorites. There are a lot of firsts in this list:

1.  Air Humara – My first complete shoe design. Development was not a fan of the design, but marketing believed and supported it.

2.  Zoom Tallac – My first boot design after leaving running and joining ACG. This boot helped redefine what a lightweight boot could be.

3.  Air Terra Humara – First Vis-Air trail shoe. This shoe became a big sales success because it crossed over into style and fashion. Vogue magazine wrote an article about it in 1997.

4. Air Minot – First running shoe with Gore-Tex. Some inspiration came from warning signs, military logos, and slow-moving vehicles.

5.  Zoom Air Terra Sertig – First mid-cut trail running shoe. It was designed for the European market, and the inspiration came from low-profile Formula 1 race cars.

6.  Nike Air Terra Albis 2 – First shoe modeled in 3D for the factory. From a performance and design point of view, this shoe turned out very good.

7.  Water Cat – This shoe makes the list because it is very unique. It was almost dropped because it was so strange – a fully considered design reducing waste and adhesives.

8.  Nike Zoom Ashiko – First Flywire boot designed to be lightweight and protective with a classic look from early ACG boots. The bright orange colorway was awesome.

9.  Nike Hyperdunk 13 – From my basketball days. I enjoyed working on the Hyperdunk and trying to make it the best performance basketball shoe I could. 

10.  Nike Air Bakin’ Boot – This boot was designed while I was working in NSW (Nike Sports Wear). Using the old Bakin basketball shoe inspiration and combining it with Foamposite and Vis-Air to make a boot was fun. I like the way it turned out.

Q & A with Peter Fogg Story Image 9

Drew: What was your favorite technology to utilize in footwear? Zoom Air? Goatek? Anything else?

Peter: Zoom Air was always a favorite and proven technology to use in my footwear designs.  For trail shoes, it just made sense because of the cushioning and low-profile designs. I think Goatek was very cool also, but it didn’t really catch on with the trail runners. Maybe Nike should bring it back. Foamposite and Flywire were also fun technologies to work with.  

Q&A with Peter Fogg Story Image 6

Drew: What are you up to these days?

Peter: I’m keeping busy. I help my wife design and produce a line of animal quilt patterns she sells online and at trade shows. We travel together more and are going on a boat cruise vacation in the Mediterranean this summer. In my spare time, I do some freelance work and digital painting. I always have a project to do around the house and yard because, when the sun is out, I’m usually out riding my motorcycle. Our three lovely kids still live in the Northwest and visiting them and seeing the grandkids is a special treat!