This post is about a shoe that was originally released around 1997, and has never been re-released back in Australia. They have been making retro copies of the original, but these have yet to be released in Australia - according to one of the local resellers saying "Nike did not think it would sell." The shoe I am talking about is the Nike Air Foamposite One - Pewter.
This is one of the most visually interesting and expensive shoes ever made by Nike. If you look at it in comparison to some other shoes, this would have cost more to produce in raw materials, as well as the associated research and development costs. Initially this shoe was made from the idea that the upper was going to be a poured foam material. Research went in to find a material that could withstand an entire season of wear without deteriorating too much. Then a manufacturer for the shoe needed to be found. Many people at the time said it could not be done - "It was too hard, and it would cost too much, and the technology was not invented". Then Daewoo got involved. Known at the time for cars and air conditioner manufacturing, Daewoo came up with the composition for the upper's materials, as well as the molds for the shoes. Industry insiders rumored the costs for one size of the shoe to be around $200K+. Keep in mind, this is the mid 1990s. Rumor also has it that the original molds were either lost or destroyed.
The shoe was popularized by one of my favourite players - Anfrenee "Penny" Hardaway, as well as other players like Mike Bibby. Legend has it that Nike came to Penny's place with shoes for him to endorse in the 1997 season. He went through all the shoes they had to offer, and was not very interested. They also had a bag off to the side of "stuff". He asked to see what was in the bag. He eyed the blue version of the Foamposite One, and said that was the shoe he wanted to endorse. For a professional athlete, I find it hard to believe that he would endorse a shoe based solely on its appearance. Then again, it's a legend in the Nike lore.
The shoe itself needs to be broken in before the entire range of benefits are felt. Firstly, the break in period can last from around 1 week (based on constant casual wearing everyday) to several weeks (based on game wearing only - or very casual wearing). The main "growing pain" of the shoe is the tightness felt around the small toe area, but this decreases over time as the memory foam materials mold to the user's foot shape. The traction is great, and the cushioning provided by the Zoom Air cell feels comforting and supportive, but not sloppy. One of the main benefits of the shoe is that the upper does not crease. The foamposite material feels very solid, and looks like it will take quite a few knocks. It is very easy to maintain the look, with either a damp cloth, or some shoe cleaner and a clean cloth.
There are three noticeable disadvantages of this shoe. One is breathability. Once again, being compared to the Hyperfuse, this shoe is far from breathable and I find my feet heat up in it a lot. The foamposite material does not breath at all, and any venting is done through the fabric tongue of the shoe. Coupled with the internal sock of the shoe, no real air flow is felt in the shoe. The second disadvantage is side to side stability. I have already rolled my ankle once in this shoe, and this could have been addressed by the addition of an outrigger. Saying that, the injury was only temporary, and I was walking normally within a few minutes. Lastly, the shoe's sole is made from the infamous clear rubber that yellows when worn. While it looks great out of the box, it quickly yellows with constant wear. I'm sure that could have been addressed in the making of the shoe.
The main advantage of this look. As DJ Delz says, "This sneaker breaks necks on instant contact of the eye!" The upper of the shoe looks unique, and I prefer it to the Nike Foamposite Pro - Pearl, becuase it has less Nike swooshes visible on it. It is understated and overstated at the same time. The shoe incorporates the "1 cent" logo which was associated with Penny. This shoe does garner attention, mainly from other sneaker collectors, but also occasional glances from people with no interest in sneakers.
Keep in mind with the images above, the shoe is the colour of pewter. The only reason it appears to be different colours in the images is due to it reflecting the background, or whatever else is near it.
My thanks for shipping me this pair of sneakers goes to the team at crazyforsneaker.com. Their site is still going through maintenance, but crazyforsneaker's ebay shop is up and running. Buy in bulk, and save on shipping. Crazyforsneaker's team is located both in the US and in Hong Kong, so they have access to a wide range of sneakers that are released globally.
As mentioned previously, Nike has not brought this shoe into Australia for some time. I am sure it will have enough of a following to ensure strong sales. The only way for me to get this shoe was to obtain it over the internet. Rumors have it that Nike will be bringing in the Blue Foamposite Ones into Australia. I guess it is just a matter of waiting to see what happens.