KO Classic : Nike Flightposite I
The Nike Flightposite I an instant classic, or was it otherwise?
Released in early 1999, the Air Flightposite was the second iteration of Nike's Foamposite technology. A year later, it still represents the state of the art in sneaker design, materials, and technology. by Professor K, posted August 15, 2000 The Nike Air Flightposite was one of the most controversial shoes in Nike's long line of controversial shoes. Released in 1999 the shoe was Nike's second generation implementation of Foamposite technology (for more on Foamposite, see the review for the Flightposite KG). There's no such thing as middle ground when it comes to opinions on the Flightposite, people either absolutely love it or absolutely hate it. Time Magazine went so far as to pronounce the Air Flightposite the Worst of Design for 1999. figure 1. The beautiful, organic design of the upper is carried down into the design of the outsole, but the beauty of the outsole design is more than just skin deep. The forefoot flex grooves, visible as the deeper channels in the forefoot area of the shoe above, allow the shoe to be flexible precisely where you need it to be. Those who deride the shoe generally focus on its appearance alone and the appearance is clearly different. Nike designer Eric Avar, who designed the Foamposite One/Pro and Flightposite, describes the concept as follows: "We wanted this idea of a foot-bath that molds around the foot. We wanted it to be a natural extension of the foot, very organic and anatomical, as close to the foot as possible." If the critics had bothered to actually try the shoe on, they would have found that the Flightposite is about much more than just looks. The Foamposite material, which is made of an extremely thin (2mm) molded polyurethane, molds to the shape of the wearer's foot. This combined with the full-length, dynamic-fit innersleeve that form-fits the foot's contours, and a zippered dynamic-fit lace cover, equals a fit that was and still is light years ahead of any other non-Foamposite based shoe on the market. Another standout feature of the Flightposite is how low to the ground the shoe rides. Figure 1 clearly shows that the Flightposite does not have a traditional sole. The upper basically meets directly with the outsole, bringing the foot much closer to the ground and providing the wearer with an exceptional feel for and connection with the court. This enhanced court feel provides the player with the dual benefits of added balance and the ability to respond and react off the floor much more quickly than with a traditional shoe. figure 2. The Flightposite was offered in a number of interesting colorways. Above is the Navy/White/Silver colorway, which was not widely available. Back to the design for a minute...in addition to the completely different, organic form of the shoe, contributing to the alien-like appearance of the Flightposite was the use of iridescent or, as Nike refers to it, phase shift, colors and materials. The first colorway released, as shown in the main image at top, was a combination of metallic gold, silver,and black. The gold portion of the shoe "shifts" from gold to a purple-ish green depending on the angle of view. This "phase shift" appearance is employed in all of the many Flightposite colorways (of which there were many, see figure 2 for the white/navy/silver colorway) with the exception of the Niketown exclusive Charcoal colorway (upper looks like carbon fiber), which is perhaps the rarest. So the lowdown is this, if you're looking for a hoops shoe that fits like a glove, stops on a dime, and turns people's heads, the Air Flightposite is the shoe for you. While it's no longer available, it was retroed in 2008. Who's Worn It Jason Kidd (G- Pheonix Suns), Kevin Garnett (F- Minnesota Timberwolves), Tim Duncan (F- S.A. Spurs), Sean Elliot(G- S.A. Spurs), Allan Houston (G- N.Y. Knicks), Brian Shaw (G- L.A. Lakers)