What goes up certainly must come down, and while we can thank Newton’s law for explaining that concept in detail, feeling its effects dozens of times each game while you’re busy guarding the lane and snagging rebounds doesn’t lend you any comfort. Over the course of Nike‘s footwear history, many different soles have been designed to help create maximum impact protection for the big guys, but nothing quite did the job like the Air Max 360, Nike’s 2006 entrant into the game. The Nike Air Max 360 was the brand’s first shoe without foam, the introduction of which allowed a player to play entirely on air thanks to thermoforming technology–this meant a tighter, more secure attachment to the upper and cushioning that wouldn’t compress over time (like foam would). Engineers were also challenged to build a sole that not only handled downward impact, but also the side-to-side force put on the shoe during a game. Ultimately, the 360 project excelled in this regard, forming the foundation of a future line of sneakers with maximum force protection capable of extending Nike’s basketball dominance. Learn more about the design behind the scenes after the jump, as well as other essential models throughout Nike’s history, in our RE-Fresh segment.