words // Nick DePaula
images // Nick DePaula & Zac Dubasik
It's certainly the most iconic sneaker from Nike Basketball to have released during the ever innovative and daring 1990's. When Tinker Hatfield even goes on record saying that he wishes he designed it, it's easy to feel the impact of the Air Foamposite One even all these years later.
As designer Eric Avar explains, just figuring out how exactly to manufacture it was enough of a challenge to sort through, let alone later stages to nail down, like what the final design would be, what player would wear it and how to even market the weirdly foamy thing. Of course, a simple photograph and telephone number was all the marketing we'd even need. It was a thing of beauty on its own.
Once Avar had a sample of the shoe that he felt comfortable with, after nearly two years of development and revisions, he packed it along for an exploratory meeting in the fall of 1996 with signature athlete Penny Hardaway, even though he and the marketing team didn't know for certain if they'd be showing him what was just a concept sneaker at that point.
"It was kind of haphazard that we were meeting with Penny, who was down in Arizona, and we were just digging through one of our first meetings for another shoe were working on," begins Avar. "We had a bunch of samples and a bunch of drawings and we were talking about a whole bunch of stuff, and I actually didn’t even take the Foamposite out of the duffle bag that we brought down. It was just this crazy blue foam shoe in there. He looked down into the duffle bag, and was like, ‘What’s that!?’ So I take it out and start to explain it, and right away, he’s like, ‘That’s what I want my next shoe to be.’"
To celebrate that original meeting and the very first time that Penny himself saw the shoe -- and requested it be his -- we literally wanted to elevate the blue glow that first captured his attention by bringing it to the top of the shoe. A flip of the original signature colorway, the Nike x Sole Collector Air Foamposite One is included in the five-model "Penny Signature Pack," available in limited quantities for $1,000 on Saturday, October 29th at Nike Las Vegas.