words // Zac Dubasik
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My favorite PE though is one that’s pretty boring from a colorway standpoint. There’s no special logo on it. It doesn’t even belong to one of my favorite players. (I’m a big fan, just not one of my favorites.) For me, my top PE is Scottie Pippen’s custom Zoom Pippen 1s.
If you’re thinking that there’s no such shoe, well, you’re right. The Air Pippen 1 featured a full-length Max Air bag. It didn’t work for Scottie though, and as he explained to us back in Issue 29 of Sole Collector, the modified version came at his request. "That was always my call, and I was never a Max Air guy and always wanted to play closer to the floor. … I have never liked being in a high cushioned shoe, just because it was less stable and might have caused me to roll my ankle."
I love that this particular PE had a performance based modification, and as someone who doesn’t like Max Air, it was one I could relate to personally. What makes the shoe even more interesting though is who inspired it.
The shoe’s designer, Aaron Cooper, told us exactly how the idea got planted in Scottie’s head. "That was MJ's contribution," explained Cooper. "When I started working with Scottie, MJ and Tinker were mentoring us both. At the time I started designing the Pip I, Scottie was loving the Air More that had the full-length Air bag. So, of course, we wanted to continue with what Scottie liked and played in. However, somewhere along the design process, MJ convinced Pip that Zoom was a better technology for him. It was unfortunately, or fortunately [laughs], depending on your love for big Air vs Zoom, too late for us to change the design for production, but we could make Scottie his own special Zoom Air version. In the end, it all worked out ... we built a great full-length version for all the lovers of big Air, and we were also able to build Scottie a shoe to win another ring. Everyone was happy!"
As if all that wasn’t enough to make this pair a special one, it was also on Pip’s feet during MJ’s legendary “Flu Game,” and can be seen as Scottie helped MJ off the court.
I love seeing PEs with new colorways, but when it comes to picking a favorite, the Zoom Pippen 1 just has too much history to overlook. And the fact that it’s been customized from a performance perspective – especially changes I’d want myself – made it that much easier of a choice.