A Look Back: Nike Basketball Holiday ’96

A Look Back: Nike Basketball Holiday ’96

Happy Holidays! It’s the most wonderful time of the year – when kids and adults start making their wish lists for all the sneakers and gear they love. I remember wanting A LOT of the sneakers and apparel just in the Nike Basketball section alone back in December of 1996. It was a different era back then – when you waited every day for the Eastbay catalog to arrive in the mail. Then when you opened it, you literally saw all the new sneaker models for the first time. It was overwhelming to say the least!

I still have two of the original Eastbay Holiday ‘96 catalogs – one with a cover displaying a Christmas tree with stars like John Elway and Shawn Kemp displayed as ornaments, and another cover with a cartoon of a basketball-playing elf that forgot his shoes. Fortunately, Eastbay came to the rescue!

Every Eastbay catalog had an introduction paragraph from founders Art Juedes and Richard Gering with a little inspirational message. “Make two wish lists this holiday season. On the first, list the athletic accomplishments you plan on achieving in your present sport and during the new year. On the second, include the finest shoes, clothing and equipment from Eastbay necessary to help you achieve these goals,” wrote Juedes and Gering.

It was cool to see the founders of the company still so involved with the catalog publications. It felt like a mom and pop shop that had everything you could ever imagine. With that in mind, here’s a look back at the Nike Basketball pages from 25 years ago.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Nike Air More Uptempo basketball shoe

Air More Uptempo

A sneaker that is still as popular as it was 25 years ago, the Air More Uptempo continues to retro every year in both OG and new colorways. For the holidays in 1996, Nike released a black/white/chili red colorway that has yet to ever see a retro. Designed by Wilson Smith, the More Uptempo was a revolutionary sneaker in terms of design and technology. It was one of the first basketball sneakers to feature visible Air throughout the shoe. Scottie Pippen made the shoe famous when he rocked the black/white colorway in the ‘96 Playoffs. Unfortunately, he never wore this particular colorway on the court.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Nike Air Much Uptempo Basketball Shoe

Air Much Uptempo

The “takedown” version of the Air More Uptempo, the Much Uptempo featured virtually the same design but with a different sole. For Holiday ‘96, Nike dropped a sleek white/black colorway for men, along with a white/navy/royal and white/obsidian colorway for the ladies. Sadly, the Much Uptempo has yet to retro.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Nike Air Penny Mid, Air Money Lo and Air CB 34 Mid

Air CB 34

Also designed by Wilson Smith, the Air CB 34 was made for Suns superstar Charles Barkley. After being traded by the Sixers to the Suns in 1992, Barkley started rocking a ton of Nike heat. He became so popular, he earned his own sneaker line. Like the Air More Uptempo, the CB 34 also featured visible Air throughout the sole. The CB 34 last retro’d in 2016.

Air Money Lo

The Air Money was a wild design, even by ‘90s Nike basketball sneaker standards. With a fascinating lacing system and shroud covering with the large NIKE AIR lettering covering the top of the sneaker, the Money was a bold sneaker in many ways. It was actually worn by players like Reggie Miller and Eddie Jones in the NBA, so clearly it was meant for serious hooping. The Money also featured the same exact sole as the Much Uptempo. Interestingly, the Money came back in 2018, but with the More Uptempo sole instead.

Air Penny 2

Nike was cranking out one epic sneaker after another for their newest star, Penny Hardaway. The Air Penny 1 was nice, and the Air Zoom Flight was amazing as well. Then, Nike released the Air Penny 2. Incredibly, this shoe was $5 more than the Air Jordan 12; that’s how popular Penny Hardaway was back in the day. And, it’s safe to say that the $139.99 price tag was worth it. Featuring a forefoot Zoom-Air unit and a massive Air Max visible heel unit, the Air Penny 2 was packed with cushioning along with its breathtaking design. Also note the outsole shown in the catalogs was all white, whereas the actual sneaker that dropped had blue on the bottom.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Nike  Air Zoom Flight, Air Flight Mid, Air Jordan XXII Basketball Shoes

Air Zoom Flight

Arguably Nike’s most responsive sneaker at the time – the Air Zoom Flight (now known as the Air Zoom Flight 96) featured Tensile-Air, aka Zoom Air, in the forefoot. It also had a large-volume heel Air Sole unit. The Zoom Flight had incredible cushioning, plus it had a TPU midfoot stability plate that helped propel your foot off the ground. Magic star Penny Hardaway wore the white/navy/gold colorway when he played for the Team USA basketball team in the ‘96 Olympics.

Air Flight Mid

The Air Flight Mid was a takedown version of the Air Zoom Flight. It was not nearly as comfortable as the Zoom Flight, but still looked cool. The Flight Mid featured Nike Air in the heel, but lacked the Tensile-Air in the forefoot. It still had the shank plate to enhance stability, and also had full-grain leather with a “super skin” reinforced rand. Most notably, Kings guard Mitch Richmond rocked the Air Flight Mid when he was on Team USA.

Air Jordan 12

One of the most breathtaking designs ever – the Air Jordan XII was the best for the best – Michael Jordan. Featuring full-length Air and a reinforced carbon fiber plate, the Air Jordan 12 was one of the sleekest, most stylish basketball sneakers ever seen on the basketball court. To go along with the sneaker was the iconic Nike Phone Ad plus the “Frozen Moment” commercial where MJ takes on the LA Lakers. Now known as the “Taxi” colorway, OG sneakerheads typically refer to this model as just the “White/Black” AJ12.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Nike Air Adjust and Air Modify Force Basketball Shoes

Air Adjust and Air Modify Force

Yet another revolutionary model for Nike – the Air Adjust and Air Modify Force sneakers came with a pair of FitWrap straps that you could put on the shoes. There were also 11 different team colors available, so you could all match your jerseys and your shoes. Color coordination was very important in the ‘90s and early ‘00s, so these straps were everything for high school and college teams. The Air Adjust and Air Modify have never retro’d, however designer Yoon of AMBUSH has teased a potential retro on her social media recently.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Nike Basketball Apparel

Apparel

It’s definitely worth highlighting all the Nike basketball apparel available that holiday season, including Nike Jumpman practice tanks, tees, sweatshirts and warm-ups. The main color schemes were black, red, white and taxi, which matched the Air Jordan 12 perfectly. Also of note were some very stylish Durasheen shorts and tees. Durasheen would be Nike’s go-to mesh material for a solid 5 years. There was something about that shimmery shine that everyone loved.

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: A Breakdown of the Best Running Sneakers From Fall ’97

A Look Back: A Breakdown of the Best Running Sneakers From Fall ’97

24 years ago, it seemed like every major sneaker brand was churning out a classic sneaker model. Most remember 1997 as an epic year for shoes like the Air Max 97 and the Adidas Equipment Salvation, but every brand was bringing a sleek new design or a new technology to the table. If you were a runner, how could you decide between all these incredible silhouettes? It was definitely a daunting challenge, which Eastbay was up for.

To make it easier, Eastbay broke down each running sneaker into one of four different categories:

Support: Shoes with special features that help runners who either overpronate (roll inward), have a low arch, are hard on shoes, need a straighter last, wear orthotics, need more midfoot and heel control, or need firmer midsoles.

Cushioned Support: Shoes with features that combine cushion and support for runners who slightly overpronate (rolling inward), have low to normal arch, are a heel striker or need some motion control yet want a cushioned ride.

Cushioned: Shoes with features that emphasize cushioning with some support, for runners who under pronate, supinate (roll outward), need curve last, high arch, are a heel, mid or forefoot striker, have rigid feet, need flexibility, or run efficiently.

Lightweight: Shoes designed with little support and good cushioning for runners who are efficient, train at faster speeds, have normal to rigid arch, are not susceptible to injury, or need flexibility.

On top of that, Eastbay also sold Trail Runners and Road Flats. Here’s a breakdown of the best sneakers from each category back in 1997:

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Supportive Running Sneakers Fall 1997

Support

adidas Lexicon Extra

The Adidas Lexicon was a beautifully-designed sneaker that doesn’t get enough love. Retailing at $99.99, it was on the higher end of the spectrum for Adidas runners. The Lexicon Extra featured Point of Deflection System technology in the heel, an EVA midsole, a full-length medial post, and Support Torsion system.

Saucony G.R.I.D. Procyon

Saucony’s most supportive runner was the G.R.I.D. Procyon, which featured their patented heel G.R.I.D. system for cushioning, along with a rearfoot medial support device. Retailing at just $74.99, it was a bargain for those needing that extra support without the added cost.

Nike Air Equilibrium

The Equilibrium was Nike’s state-of-the-art support sneaker for those with flat feet. You can’t see the medial side of this shoe in the picture, but the amount of support provided was off the charts. Featuring a Phylon midsole, the Equilibrium also had Zoom-Air units in the heel and forefoot with individually tuned pods. The BRS 1000 carbon rubber outsole featured a sculpted central guidance channel with a lateral Duralon forefoot.

New Balance 585

New Balance has always been loved by flat-footed runners, and the 585 was a reliable model for the brand. Made in the USA, the 585 featured a synthetic upper with 3M Scotchlite Reflective trim, a 4-density polyurethane midsole with a Rollbar Stability System. Runners got all this tech for under $100.

ASICS GEL-MC 126

ASICS was another trustworthy brand for flat-footed runners, and the best model back in ‘97 for them was the GEL-MC 126. Featuring a motion control system for heavy overpronators, the GEL-MC 126 was semi-curved and built on a EE last for wider feet. It had a compression-molded EVA midsole with extended Duomax, and ASICS GEL cushioning in the heel.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Cushioned Support Running Sneakers Fall 1997

Cushioned Support

adidas Response

The adidas Response line was incredibly popular throughout the ‘90s. The sleek yet simple designs and affordable price points made them a great option for many runners. The Response featured exceptional cushioning with added stability, a dual density compression-molded EVA midsole, visible adiprene cushioning in the heel, and a new Torsion system for stability.

Saucony 3D G.R.I.D. Hurricane

This was my first ever running sneaker in high school, and they were a lot of fun to run in. The 3D G.R.I.D. had a sleek design and a ton of tech inside to match. The visible 3D G.R.I.D. system wrapped the midsole with Hytrel filaments that cushioned and absorbed shock, while adding stability and motion control. At $99.99, it was Saucony’s top-of-the-line running sneaker at the time.

ASICS GEL-Kayano

This was ASICS’ best shoe for high-mileage runners. With a DuoMax compression-molded EVA midsole, a mesh reinforced upper with synthetic leather, the Kayano featured a blown rubber forefoot with DuoSole insert and AHAR heel plug, along with forefoot P-Gel and heel T-Gel. Basically the Kayano had really great cushioning and a lot of Gel inside. At $124.99, it was one of the most expensive runners at the time, but well worth the price.

New Balance 999

Basically anyone who’s ever tried on the 999 falls in love with them. This was and still is one of New Balance’s most iconic silhouettes. Featuring a pigskin leather upper with 3M Scotchlite reflective trim, the 999 had ABZORB cushioning in the heel, along with ENCAP cushioning in the heel and C-CAP cushioning in the forefoot. Made in the USA, the 999 retailed for $125.

Nike Air Structure Triax

As for Nike, their top cushioned support model was the Air Structure Triax. For the runner who wanted a well-cushioned ride with added stability, the Structure Triax featured a Phylon midsole with two key stability features: a Footbridge stability device and a patented Heel Hinge feature. The Structure also had Nike Air in the heel and forefoot.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Cushioned Running Sneakers Fall 1997

Cushioned

Nike Air Max 97

It doesn’t get much bigger than the Air Max 97. That fall, we were blessed with one of the biggest breakthroughs in sneaker cushioning of all time. The new anatomically designed dual-pressure Air-Sole unit with a lateral crash pad system cushioned and guided the foot like no sneaker ever had before. Designed by Christian Tresser, the unique upper was inspired both by water dropping into a pond, as well as the metallic finish of mountain bike components. Next year will be the 25th anniversary of this hallowed silhouette.

 Reebok DMX 2000 

Reebok was turning heads and pleasing feet of all shapes and sizes with their revolutionary DMX cushioning technology. With the Reebok DMX 2000, runners actually felt the air flow from their heel to their forefoot as they ran. This was an incredible breakthrough in technology, and transitioned well to Allen Iverson’s The Answer 1 basketball sneaker as well.

adidas Equipment Salvation

To compete with Air Max and DMX cushioning, adidas was launching their “Feet You Wear” technology, which allowed the runner’s feet to function more naturally. The semi-curved last, compression-molded EVA midsole and adiPRENE inserts in the Salvation provided plenty of cushioning and responsiveness for runners.

Puma Cell Speed

Puma featured their own state-of-the-art cushioning system with the Puma Cell Speed, which featured a PUMA CELL midsole with polyurethane frame. Touted as the ultimate training shoe for high-mileage runners that require a stable, well-cushioned ride, the Cell Speed was a somewhat niche running sneaker. CELL technology was similar to Reebok’s Hexalite technology, in that the cushioning was designed like a honeycomb pad filled with air.

Fila Silva Trainer

Another very niche runner was the Fila Silva Trainer, which provided outstanding cushioning for high-mileage training. The Silva Trainer featured a Filabuck and Ripstop nylon upper, and a compression-molded EVA midsole with 2A technology in the heel and forefoot. Fila’s 2A technology was very similar to Nike Air in the fact that it featured separate “pods” of air to provide cushioning to the foot.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Lightweight Running Sneakers Fall 1997

Lightweight

Nike Air Zoom Spiridon

The ultimate shoe for a fast, responsive ride. Featured in the “It’s OK to be fast” ad campaign with sprinter Michael Johnson, the Spiridon was another revolutionary sneaker because of its full-length running specific Zoom-Air cushioning. The Spiridon was one of the first running sneakers to feature Zoom Air, and it would set the stage for the many more iconic running sneakers for decades to come.

Nike Air Max Light III

A responsive, lightweight, low-profile, fast-paced trainer! The Air Max Light III has yet to retro, which is a shame because it was ahead of its time as well. Not only was there a dual-pressure visible Air-Sole unit in the heel, there was also Zoom Air in the forefoot. This was one of the very first sneakers to feature both Air Max cushioning AND Zoom Air in the same sneaker, and definitely doesn’t get enough love from sneakerheads.

Reebok Electrolyte

A sneaker that most have forgotten about by now, the Electrolyte was Reebok’s take on the fast-paced, lightweight running sneaker. The Electrolyte featured 3D UltraLite cushioning, which combined the outsole and midsole into one injection-molded unit. This resulted in lighter weight and greater flexibility, along with an enhanced road feel. Reebok boasted that the 3D UltraLite reduced shoe weight by up to 10%. The Electrolyte was a feathery 9.8 ounces.

Saucony 3D-G.R.I.D. B-Gone

Saucony really made some bold sneakers back in the ‘90s – the B-Gone was a flashy lightweight trainer for fast-paced workouts or races. Featuring a dual density Maxlite EVA midsole with a visible heel 3D G.R.I.D. system, the B-Gone is another Saucony model that deserves a proper retro release at this point.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Road Flats Running Sneakers Fall 1997

Road Flats

Nike Air Rift

Nike was dropping some ridiculous models, even in the road flat category back in ‘97. One of the most outlandish was the Air Rift, which featured a minimalistic upper and split toe. There was Nike Air in the heel, and they came with a special pair of split toe socks.

Nike Air Zoom Streak

Nike also created a low-profile racing flat for 5K to marathons called the Air Zoom Streak, which featured Zoom Air units in the heel and forefoot. There was a Air Streak Light version as well, which only weighed 6.6 ounces and was available from size 3 all the way up to size 15. This was an incredible value for such a lightweight, responsive racing flat.

ASICS GEL-Magic Racer

ASICS also made a technology-packed racer called the GEL-Magic. Described as a performance racing flat for all distances, the GEL-Magic featured a dual-density compression-molded EVA midsole with rearfoot HEXGEL. It also had a Magic Sole forefoot with AHAR heel plug.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Trail Running Sneakers Fall 1997

Trail Runners

adidas Response Trail

The Response Trail is a line adidas could keep bringing back again and again, and loyal followers would never lose interest in them. The mist/lake/slime colorway is just as fashionable now as it was back in 1997. The Response Trail was a versatile training shoe that was great for on and off-road use. It featured synthetic leather and a water-resistant mesh upper, along with adiPrene cushioning in the heel. At $79.99, it was a great value for a comfortable, fashionable trail shoe.

Nike Air Terra Sertig

The Terra Sertig was Nike’s top-of-the-line trail shoe back in ‘97. The Sertig had all the bells and whistles, including a very low profile Phylon midsole with heel and forefoot Zoom Air units. Its three-quarter height was designed for the demands of alpine running. There was a protective fabric web between the midsole, and a bi-directional waffle outsole that protected against stone bruises.

Nike Air Terra Albis

Basically a low-cut version of the Sertig, the Albis was also a low-profile trail shoe with exceptional cushioning. The Albis featured most of the same tech as the Sertig, except it had an Air Sole in the heel instead of Zoom Air. Regardless, it was a gorgeous, aggressive design that showed how serious Nike was about trail runners.

Nike Air Humara

Back in the late ‘90s, the Humara line enjoyed a very popular run. This particular Humara boasted a ton of tech, including a heel Air Sole unit and a Zoom Air unit in the forefoot. It was the ultimate low-profile cushioned trail shoe, with a lightweight breathable mesh upper and non-absorbent synthetic leather overlays. The traction was excellent as well, with a rubberized, abrasion-resistant tip and heel overlay.

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.

Back to School Bag Guide

Back to School Bag Guide

Part of getting ready for a new school year and new sports season is making sure you have all the gear you need to win in style. And that means a new school bag. With so many different styles and colors to choose from, it can be hard to find the bag that’s right for your sport and for your look. We’re breaking down our top three favorite backpacks, mini backpacks, gymsacks, tote, duffels, crossbody bags, and kids’ bags to help make the decision easier. 

Back To School Bag Guide Backpacks

Backpacks

Obviously, when it comes to school, the most popular type of bag is the classic backpack, but there are so many varieties within this category from basic to decked out. To help you choose, here are our top three favorites as well as a list of some common features that you’ll find on many backpacks so you can identify the technology and know exactly what you’re getting.

Nike Hoops Elite Pro Backpack

While this backpack is designed for basketball players, it’s loaded with a ton of great features that make it the perfect choice for everyone. The bag has a sleek design and a duffel-like opening so you can set it down flat while looking for your workout clothes or textbooks. There’s a laptop sleeve, water bottle storage, and a ventilated pocket to keep sweaty items separate from the rest of your gear. Shop it here.

The North Face Jester Backpack

This do-it-all backpack is built to carry everything you need while keeping you cool and comfortable. It comes with a floating padded laptop sleeve, secondary compartment with zippered areas for pens and pencils, a front elastic bungee for external storage, and two water bottle pockets. It also features compression molded shoulder straps and a padded mesh back panel to ease the strain of carting around school supplies and sport gear. Shop it here.

adidas Originals Utility 4.0 Backpack

If you want the classic functionality of a backpack, but with a more unique look, this is the bag for you. It’s on-trend camo print and cord-lock and hood closure will help you stand out in the halls while keeping all your gear secure. This bag also has two water bottle pockets, an interior laptop sleeve, and ear-bud and charger storage. As an added bonus, this backpack is made from 100% recycled polyester. Shop it here.

Back To School Bag Guide Mini Backpacks

Mini Backpacks

If you want the school aesthetic but a little more stylized, try a mini backpack. These look like regular backpacks, but as the title implies, they’re smaller so you won’t find as many tech features on them and you won’t be able to fit as much inside. So, if you normally carry all your textbooks to and from school, this might not be the best choice for you. But, if you’re focused on style, here are our three favorite mini backpacks for this year.

Nike Brasilia JDI Mini AOP Backpack

With a see-through outer shell and allover print, the Brasilia Mini Backpack packs a big punch for such a small bag. It has two side mesh pockets, water-resistant construction, and two roomy zippered compartments for your essentials. Shop it here.

adidas Originals Santiago Mini Backpack

You can’t deny the appeal of the classic adidas Trefoil. On this mini backpack, it’s front and center, with additional branding across the top. This clean design is the perfect complement to all your school fits, and the webbed shoulder straps and multiple zippered pockets are perfect for comfortably securing all your must-haves. Shop it here.

Nike Just Do It Mini Backpack

This school year, vow to be bold, even down to the smallest details. The Nike Just Do It Mini Backpack is the perfect accessory for carting around your keys, wallet, and other small essentials. Its bold colors and thermoplastic material will pop in the halls or when you’re out with friends, and adjustable shoulder straps and top haul loop make it super easy to grab and go. Shop it here.

Back To School Bag Guide Gymsacks

Gymsacks

Gymsacks are as simple as bags get. They’re super lightweight and easy to throw on, but they rarely have pockets or any other tech. Usually, it’s just a single pull string compartment to put everything in. If you like minimalist style and carry very few items, this could be an option for you. They’re bigger than a mini backpack, so you could probably fit a small laptop or tablet in it, but, because of the simplicity of design and material, you’ll want to make sure you put your electronics in a padded case before putting it in the bag. Here are our three favorites.

Jordan Air Drawstring Gym Sack

You can’t go wrong with the Jumpman. This gymsack is designed to hold an extra pair of clothes and small workout essentials, and it has a side zippered pocket for more secure storage. Shop it here.

adidas Alliance II Sackpack

This gymsack packs a little extra punch, thanks to two side mesh pockets and a front zip pocket to hold your valuables. It comes in a wide variety of colors, and no matter which one you choose, you’ll be rocking the classic athletic Three Stripes. Shop it here.

Nike Brasilia Gymsack

When you want to grab your workout or class essentials and go, simplicity is key. The Nike Brasilia Gymsack has everything you need and nothing you don’t – with three storage areas and a reinforced bottom to protect your gear. It comes in multiple colors to match your personal style. Shop it here.

Back To School Bag Guide Tote Bags

Tote Bags

The most purse-like fashion option is a tote bag. They’re big enough to fit everything you need and feature a few separate sections like a small accessory pocket and laptop sleeve. The biggest difference with this bag is that it’s not quite as hands-free. Since it doesn’t have dual shoulder straps, you can either put it on one shoulder or just carry it in your hand. Here are three great options.

Jordan Flight Essential Adjustable Tote

Legendary Jumpman logo? Check. Removable shoulder strap for multiple carry options? Check. Coated zipper pulls for durability that will last all school year? Check. The Jordan Flight Essential Tote is a triple threat. Shop it here.

adidas All Me Tote

Sport and style go hand in hand with the functional adidas All Me Tote. This bag is made from premium air mesh and has adjustable straps so you can carry it as a crossbody, over your shoulder, or by the handles. Multiple internal pockets let you organize everything just the way you like it. Shop it here.

Nike One Tote

This bag is the one to fit all your needs – from class to practice and everything in between. This versatile tote bag features a large main storage area, water bottle pocket, and elastic bungees for external storage. And it comes in two great neutral colors to complement your school fits and your workout style. Shop it here.

Back To School Bag Guide Duffel Bags

Duffel Bags

A small duffel bag can be a great option for student athletes. Most come with a long strap that you can wear crossbody to keep your hands free. When people picture duffels, they often think of big, bulky bags, but they come in many smaller sizes that can be perfect for athletes who don’t want to carry multiple bags to school. With a duffel, you’ll have enough room to store your school items as well as your gear for practice. Here are our top styles.

Nike One Duffel

Just like the Nike One Tote, this duffel bag combines sporty style and functionality in a way that can’t be beat. A vented compartment is great for storing sweaty clothes after practice, and a zippered shoe compartment and magnetic pockets provide plenty of storage for your school essentials and workout must-haves. Shop it here.

adidas Defender IV Duffel

This durable bag has front and end zippered pockets, dual carry handles with padded grip, and a shoulder strap that you can adjust or remove to meet your needs. The dimensions on this version are 11.75″ H X 20.5″ L X 11″ W, but it also comes in a medium size if you need extra space for practice clothes and shoes. Shop the small duffel here and the medium duffel here.

Nike Brasilia Duffel

With an array of color options and the classic Nike Swoosh, the Brasilia Duffel is a great option for student athletes who need to grab everything and go. It features a dual-zip main compartment, zippered outside pocket for small essentials, and a show compartment to keep everything clean and dry. The dimensions on this bag are 20″ L x 11″ W x 11″ H, but it’s also available in a medium size if you need more space. Shop the small duffel here and the medium duffel here.

Back To School Bag guide Crossbody Bags

Crossbody Bags

If you’re looking for a stylish way to carry your daily essentials, a crossbody bag might be the right choice for you. Small and lightweight, these bags won’t work for all your school supplies or sports gear, but they’re perfect for your keys, wallet, chapstick, phone, and other small items. Here are three picks we love.

Nike Heritage Hip Pack

With a main compartment and smaller accessories pocket, the Nike Heritage Pack will keep everything organized and easy to reach. The strap has a buckle closure, and can be worn around your waist, across your body, or over your shoulder. This comes in a bunch of colors and is the perfect finishing touch to your everyday look. Shop it here.

adidas Originals National Festival Crossbody

With over 100 5-star reviews, this bag can’t be beat. Its unique design features a hook-and-loop fastener so you can attach this to larger bags and backpacks and a customizable strap for when you want to wear it solo. It comes in three colors and features the iconic Trefoil front and center. Shop it here.

Jordan Jumpman AJX Crossbody

Elevate your look to legend status with this synthetic leather crossbody. A zip closure and back pocket for your phone leave plenty of room for all your essentials and an adjustable strap lets you wear it your way. This bag comes in white or red for a vibrant pop that’ll turn heads. Shop it here.

Back To School Bag Guide Kids' Bags

Kids’ Bags

Even the youngest student athletes need great options for carrying their school and sports gear. We’ve got a variety of bags sized just for them and designed to meet their specific needs. Here are three of our favorites along with a tip to make sure you’re carrying your gear safely.

Pro Tip:
If you find yourself hunched over to ease the weight of your bag, consider lightening your load. Kids younger than 13 shouldn’t carry more than 10% of their body weight, while kids 13 and older are okay carrying up to 25% of their body weight.

Nike Young Elemental Backpack

This backpack is the perfect fit for a young student athlete who needs to organize all their gear. It has a removable pencil case for easy access in class. There are also multiple zip pockets to hold school books, gym clothes, calculators, and everything else you might need. Padded shoulder straps keep you comfortable in the halls, on the bus, and back and forth from practice. Shop it here.

Nike CR7 Backpack

For an athletic look that doesn’t sacrifice storage space, go with the Ronaldo-inspired CR7 Backpack. It’s got bold design elements, a large main compartment, and a zippered front pouch for smaller items. The back panel and shoulder straps are padded, so you’ll stay comfortable even when you’re loaded down with homework. Shop it here.

Nike Futura Jumbo Lunch Tote

Who wants a boring brown bag lunch when you can keep your food fresh and cool in an insulated tote from the Swoosh?? It’s the perfect size for lunch and snacks, and its soft shell design means you can easily fold it up and fit it in your backpack when it’s empty. Shop it here.

Back To School Bag Guide Sports Bags

Sport-Specific Bags

If you need a bag built specifically for your sport, we’ve got you covered there, too. We’ve got options with compartments for your basketball or volleyball, baseball bats and helmet, wrestling shoes, and more. 

Seattle Prep Partners Up With Eastbay

Seattle Prep Partners Up With Eastbay

Seattle, WA – Sam Reed, athletic director at Seattle Prep, announced the school has signed a four-year agreement with Eastbay to provide Nike footwear, uniforms, and gear to the school.

Eastbay has been a leader in athletic performance and lifestyle for over 40 years, including a vast selection of gear from top sportswear brands.

Reed said “Seattle Prep is excited to partner with Eastbay and Nike. This is a great opportunity to merge our rich tradition with a bright future while ensuring our student-athletes and coaches the best possible experience from the moment they put on a Panther uniform.”

Eastbay representative Ray Shine worked closely with Seattle Prep to organize the partnership.

 

 

Want to outfit your team? Head to Eastbay Team Sales