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Nike Basketball 1992-2012 Air Foamposite One (1997)

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The revolutionary Nike Air Foamposite One, first launched in 1997, is the latest shoe to get the "20 Designs that Changed the Game" treatment, in which Nike takes a look back at its 20 most iconic basketball sneakers, ranging from 1992 to 2012. For lead designer Eric Avar, the impetus to create the shoe started with a challenge: "How do we step outside the norm of the way we look at design and manufacturing shoes?" The answer, it turned out, lay in a molded sunglass case resting atop a table, which the design team made a focal point during a meeting. According to Avar, "We were like, 'Wow, wouldn't that be great if we were able to do a shoe like that?' It was one piece, it was seamless design and it just conformed around the object." It was the start of a three-year process to develop and refine manufacturing techniques, ultimately resulting in a high-performance shoe created from a poured PU envelope forming a seamless fluid structure. The shoe's radically unorthodox appearance just added to the appeal. And now all the shoe needed was its athlete. During a meeting with Penny Hardaway to discuss the Nike Air Penny III, Avar had brought a bag containing an early Foamposite sample. Penny spied the kicks and reportedly announced, "This is my next shoe!" It's an engrossing story, one that you learn more about through our RE-Fresh profile.