When you think about what gear to don as you head out onto court there are few things more important than the footwear you opt for. Here we look at five of the most well-loved and famous basketball trainers of all time.
Number 5. Nike Air Force 1
The Air Force 1’s were at the center of debate earlier this year with hip-hop star Nelly and rapper A$AP Rocky arguing for credit over who caused Nike’s 1982 trainer to become mainstream. Of course, truth be known, the red and white special addition was thrust into the limelight by three-time MVP Moses Malone way back in the eighties.
No basketball fan cares who helped the modern-day re-birth, the fact a song triggered a spike in sales is just proof of how popular the original shoe was.
Number 4. Reebok Question
Reebok are a big brand. Fact. In the basketball game though, they’d struggled to compete at the top end in terms of footwear. That all changed in 1996 when a then rookie Allen Iverson became the star of the Reebok Question. Although they opted to release the shoe without a nod to his name, it was designed as Iverson’s signature trainer.
The number one draft pick didn’t disappoint as a salesman either with his performances for the Philadelphia 76ers earning him the rookie of the year honour. The shoe – and the player – are rightly assured of a place in basketball history.
Number 3. Nike Kobe 4
When you look at the Nike Kobe 4 now it’s still a nice sneaker but it’s not something that necessarily blows you away. Rewind to 2009 though when the late great Kobe Bryant debuted the trainer on game day and the reaction was somewhat different. It wasn’t for its technical qualities, which were still there, but instead the attraction was to the low-cut design.
It hadn’t been done in the same way before with most opting for a high-top boot. Then Bryant wore them all season long to help the Lakers to their first NBA Championship for seven years and the era of low-tops was born. Now, the NBA is flooded with them.
Number 2. The Chuck Taylor All-Star
Converse might well have released this beauty over 100 years ago but it’s still up there with the most popular sporting footwear in the world. More than that, it’s established itself as a fashion item too. When the simple canvas design was released in 1917, it quickly became the ‘kick’ of choice in pro basketball circles. Yes, they sell over 100 million pairs each year and, yes, they’ve churned out over one billion pairs since their first launch but more remarkable than the sheer volume they shift is the fact that they’re competing in a market that’s now swamped with technology. Proof that style sells. Timeless.
Number 1. Air Jordan 11
To be honest, we could probably name any Air Jordan at number one and very few would have valid complaints. Nike just happen to nail it every single time. We have, however, narrowed it down to just the one design and it’s the 11 that comes out on top. The reason? Well, the man behind the trainer – Michael Jordan – had hanged his basketball shoes up.
Jordan stepped back from bossing things in the NBA to take to the diamond field with the aim of eventually making the grade in BetAmerica MLB odds.
Instead, after a spell in the Minor Leagues, he re-signed for the Bulls and on went the Air Jordan 11. He was a monster in them too as he won three different MVP awards and every kid wanted a pair.
There you have it, five trainers that will ensure you always put the right foot forward when you enter the court.