Nike’s Foamposites are a unique sneaker that cost $250. This leaves some people wondering what is it that makes them special? Upon first glance, the sneakers are not very attractive to behold. Some reviewers suggest they are ugly. The name of the model suggests they’re comfortable to wear, but what is the Nike Foamposite? Why is it so expensive? Here’s everything you need to know about the shoe to determine if it’s worth the cost.
What is the Nike Foamposite?
According to Complex, the Nike Foamposite was first released in 1997. The sneaker featured a revolutionary design that was different than anything that the world had seen before. The only branding that it came with was a small swoosh at the toe to distinguish it as a Nike product. it was initially offered for $180, which was pricey at the time. It quickly became known for its impressive performance. Although for some Nike fans, the futuristic aesthetic was a bit offputting. The more adventurous adapted quickly to the new look of the shoes, willing to give it a try. Once worn, it became apparent that the Foamposite model was a comfortable and high-performing shoe that was worth the extra expense.
The development of the Foamposite took three years to complete. Designer Eric Avar tackled a unique idea that others said could not be achieved. The experimental shoe was designed from an inspiration taken from the common beetle. The design team used the physical structure of a beetle to achieve its aerodynamic features. Part of the expense is due to the painstaking process of trial land error that was required to develop the prototype of the shoe and test it in preparation for production.
Design of the Nike Foamposite
The Foamposite features a synthetic upper that is strong and durable to provide ample support for the feet. It is also supple enough for comfort and flexibility. A carbon plate provides yet more strength and longevity and it is the factor that makes this shoe look like something out of a science fiction movie. The upper is made of a material that started as a liquid. This allows for the construction of a seamless upper that is crafted of a single piece of material. Foamposite in its raw synthetic form is poured into molds and shaped to get the perfect shape for each size. The molded upper is required to feature five times the traditional strength of using glue or stitching the upper to the midsole. Foamposite pushed thee limits.
Why is Nike Foamposites so expensive?
The cost of the molds and the molding process also adds to the overall expense of the model. Each mold costs $750,000 to purchase for production. The material must be heated to a temperature of 130 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit. The high price is easily explained by the overhead costs for molds, labor, packaging, shipping, and marketing with a slim margin for profit. It’s not a cheap sneaker to manufacture.
The legacy of the Nike Foamposite
According to High Snobiety, the Nike Foamposite is a model that is either hated or loved. It’s been a successful shoe that was featured during the 1996-97 college basketball season during March Madness tournaments. It was first worn by Wildcats team member Mike Bibby of Arizona. The Air Foamposite version was featured on the NBA courts shortly thereafter. From this point forward the Air Foamposite was a model that made waves on the courts that stood out above the rest. The model has enjoyed a legacy of being the chosen court shoe by many star college and professional basketball players in the NBA for the past two decades. Several new models have appeared such as the Hardway 1Cent with the featured logo on the heel, outsole, and tongue, in the Air Penny 1 and Air Penny 2 models endorsed by Penny Hardaway. Other notable models appeared to keep the fascination with the basketball shoes fresh and new.
While the Foamposites were not heavily branded they were definitely of the Nike bloodline. The tiny Nike Swoosh left room or co-branding with various sponsors such as Penny Hardaway. Jeff Johnson and Eric Avar took charge of the design of the shoes, inserting a full-length Zoom Air Unit to give the shoes the burst of energy required for making impressive jump shots. These are precision technical shoes that are made to enhance play on the basketball court. They offer carbon fiber plates for flexibility and stability at the midsole, and to provide ample shock absorption to protect the soft tissues from sustaining impact damage during intensive and active play on the court. The uppers are made of a polyurethane material that is incredibly light and it surrounds the foot to offer unmatched protection and comfort. A new version was introduced in the Fall of 1997 called the Nike Air Foamposite Pro, which featured a jeweled Swoosh that was now placed on the side of the shoes and the 1Cent logo was removed. Nike has released nearly 100 different versions of the Foamposite in multiple colorways and variations that all take their cues from the original design. A few of the more notable models include the 1/2 Cent, the Hyperpoite, the Trainerposite, the Air Bakin Posite, the Clogposite, and the Air Flightposite. In 2001, the Air Foamposite Pro was brought back for a retro production run in seven colorways added to the collection over five years. Again, in 2007, the Air Foamposite One was released as a retro sneaker, followed by the Doernbecher and ParaNorman versions with the 2014 Supreme collab to follow.
The Nike Foamposite may not be everybody’s cup of tea but it is one of the more popular unique basketball shoes ever made by the brand. When it comes to performance, some players made it their default game shoe, which provides evidence of its merit on the courts. Yes, this was an expensive sneaker that was costly to design and produce, but for some pro basketballs, it was the most logical choice for enhancing gameplay.