Find out how the Foamposite became Penny's go-to shoe.
Nike's new "Behind The Design" series has peeled back the curtain on a handful of iconic designs so far, including the self-lacing Nike Hyper Adapt 1.0 and the "What The" Kyrie 2.
Now, Nike has turned back the clocks to 1997, giving us an inside look at the makings of the shoe that Penny Hardway came to call his own- the Nike Air Foamposite One.
As the story goes, the experimental project led by Eric Avar and the Advanced Product Engineering group focused on the following main idea;
“What if you literally just dipped your foot in this liquid bath of material and it just sucked around your foot? And what if you could go play basketball in that? That was the inspiration and I tried hard to get people to see that,” Avar explained as he looked back on the icon.
According to Avar, the process behind the innovative 1997 basketball sneaker took about three to four years to execute and was met with plenty of nay-sayers until Penny Hardaway mistakenly laid eyes on a sample pair and said, "I want that to be my next shoe."
“It was basically just an envelope of material that we were pouring polyurethane into. And that was creating the form and the structure,” Avar shared. “The center core of the mold was a last and then the outer walls of the mold was all this outer detail and then you pressed everything together.”
“We were working with Penny at the time. And like always, we brought a bag of footwear to discuss the future and what he’s thinking of his current product,” Avar said.
“The Foamposite sample was the last thing left in the bag and I hadn’t even taken it out because all the voices had gotten in my head and I was almost embarrassed. So we’re just finishing up and Penny looks over and says, 'What’s that in the bag?' I almost hesitated to take it out, but I did and he grabbed it, and just goes, 'What is this?!' I said it’s this concept we’re working on. He just stopped me right there, and said 'That’s it. I want that to be my next shoe.'"
From that point forward, with Penny's ringing endorsement, the creation of the Foamposite One went ahead with no resistance, including plenty of sample pairs ranging from versions with visible Max Air cushioning, to versions closer to the final design that featured classic Nike Air logos.
Check out some of those samples in the gallery above, and read up on the full story behind the Air Foamposite One right here.