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Nike Basketball 1992-2012 WMNS Air Swoopes (1996)

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Next in line for the spotlight during Nike Basketball's look back at the "20 Designs that Changed the Game" is a sneaker that signified a turning point for both sneaker design and the game itself: the Air Swoopes. Designed specifically for who is arguably the greatest female ball player of all time, Sheryl Swoopes, and released right in the middle of a sports trifecta (the founding of the WNBA, the Atlanta Olympics, and the beginning of her ascendancy to superstar status), the Air Swoopes was built to be agile and responsive, exactly to her own specifications. No longer would women have to settle for smaller men's shoes; this design, co-lead with Nike's Marni Gerber, merged great traction with agility, a rugged outer with solid midfoot comfort and stability, and a contrasting colorway with smooth design. The result is a shoe that smoothly blended support, performance, and style - just like Swoops herself - that eventually men sought after in their own fit. Click after the jump for more looks at the Air Swoopes and stay tuned along the way for more trips down Nike's memory lane, which concludes with the final game of the 2012 London Olympics. In addition to the 20 designs, find out more about other essential models throughout Nike's history in our RE-Fresh segment.