INSIDE THE VAULT
Throughout the 1990s, Nike Basketball established its presence in the world of hoops with a wide variety of innovative footwear. Athletes and fans saw footwear built for the game's most unique talents, signatures that took Nike Air to new places and even shoes specifically built for aggressive outdoor play. Beginning with designs that offered maximum traction on the tarmac, Nike's outdoor basketball footwear quickly evolved into a franchise that is still relevant today.
It all began in 1992 for Nike Basketball on the tarmac with the Air Raid, designed by Tinker Hatfield and Mark Smith. The icon came to life after the design duo meticulously studied street basketball players all over New York City. The outsole was flat to ensure total contact with the tarmac, while the bold outrigger further prepared the design for outdoor competition. Its outdoor presence was cemented with the phrase 'For Outdoor Use Only' etched in the outsole.
AIR RAID II
With the Air Raid breaking new ground as the first outdoor-ready design, the Air Raid II looked to continue the lineage in progressive ways. The sequel took on the same idea with added elements such as leather cross straps for added durability and a slightly modified upper.
In the years following the Air Raid, plenty of styles were crafted for outdoor competition. Among the new silhouettes was the 1994 Air Darwin, which was built specifically for outdoor performance with a polyurethane midsole and an extra-high outsole for improved traction and durability. A speed lacing system and a perforated upper completed the outdoor-friendly design by Tinker Hatfield.
NIKE AIR NDESTRUKT
The Ndestrukt family continued Nike's outdoor footwear lineage. The debut Air Ndestrukt launched in 1995, featuring a triple-stitch, multi-layer leather upper. Underneath, the outsole took on a look similar to the aforementioned Air Darwin with a durable rubber compound outsole.
AIR SHAKE / RATTLE / ROLL NDESTRUKT
While similarly built with rugged leather overlays, the Air Rattle and Air Roll went traditional with a classic eyestay and tongue combo. The outsole on each shoe was built to take on the rigours of outdoor play with a durable rubber compound.