Basketball

History of the Basketball Shoe


There are many different brands and styles of basketball shoes today. They are designed for high jumps and fancy maneuvers, but are also worn for everyday fashion in the present time. The game of basketball originated in 1891, but did you know that the first sneaker specifically designed for it didn’t come along until 1917?


The Converse All-Star high-top sneaker is the first shoe made for basketball. In the 1920’s, the basketball star Chuck Taylor joined the company and loaned his name to the product. After that, the Converse high-top shoes were known as Chuck Taylors or Chucks. Its history can be traced back to 1917, but it became really popular in the 50’s and 60’s when every basketball player had a pair of it on their feet. In fact, not only basketball players wore them, even rockers and skaters do up until the present time.

In the 1970’s, a diversity of basketball shoes started to arise. Nike came out with the Blazer, Adidas introduced the Superstar, Pony released the Topstar, and Puma came out with their signature low-top shoes which is the Puma Clyde. This Puma shoe was named after Knicks legendary point guard Walt “Clyde” Frazier. The upper part of the Puma Clyde is suede and it has a wider sole for a better stand. It became one of the most popular shoes in the NBA of the 70’s. Today, the Puma Clyde is no longer used that much in basketball, but it became an essential part of lifestyle sneaker culture.

In the 1980’s, Nike introduced the Air Force 1 which has an air sole and a classic leather design. In the mid-1980’s and in the early 1990’s, Michael Jordan stepped into the NBA spotlight and gave different brands a name in the industry like the Adidas’ Ewing which eventually broke away from the manufacturer and stood on its own by calling itself The Ewing. It’s not only MJ’s style of play which revolutionized basketball, but as well as his shoes, especially when he began to put his name on basketball shoes, which is the Air Jordan series. Michael Jordan’s success also contributed to the popularity and special status of the Air Jordan series. Some manufacturers tried to compete with it, but Air Jordan remained at the top.


In the 1990’s, Michael Jordan still dominated basketball and the shoe world. The Air Jordan XI was considered the most beautiful basketball shoe of all time. At the same time, new basketball stars emerged together with the new basketball shoes. Penny Hardaway, a famous basketball player next to MJ when it comes to shoes, wore the spectacular and most unique basketball shoe which is the Nike Air Foamposite One in 1997. He also has his own Air Penny line with Nike. Jordan’s Bulls teammates, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman also became huge Nike endorsers. They have their own signature lines such as Rodman’s Air Shake Ndestrukt, which is one of the most eye-catching designs Nike has ever released.

Reebok also had deals with popular basketball players in the 90’s like Shaquille O’Neal, Shawn Kemp, and Allan Iverson. Adidas on the other hand, endorsed German Detlef Schremf and a teenage Kobe Bryant as the faces of their brand. However, Nike still remained supreme in the basketball industry.

The 2000’s opened its doors to super lightweight and high-tech basketball shoes. It was the decade when Nike provided the best shoe possible for all players, mostly to those who didn’t have any endorsement deal yet. In 2000, Nike launched the Hyperdunk, which became one of the most popular basketball shoes. It has initiated change for future design innovations. LeBron James was signed by Nike in 2003. The Nike Air Zoom Generation was the shoe that opened doors to him in the most exclusive club in sports.


Today, Nike is still the most popular basketball shoe brand, but Adidas has also been taking over the basketball business. James Harden, one of NBA’s best shooting guards, made a signature shoe contract with Adidas and the Adidas Harden shoes were introduced. NBA veteran Derrick Rose, and other stars such as Andrew Wiggins and Kristaps Porzingis are endorsing the Three Stripes as well. Though Adidas is becoming more popular, the supremacy of Nike remains unchallenged up to now.

Ever since basketball became a worldwide sport, basketball shoes have become a multi-billion-dollar international business. And it’s certain that the creation of more beautiful basketball shoes will continue.