10 Fun Facts About the Nike Foamposite

The Nike Foamposite, which was released in 1997, was far ahead of its time. To that point, Nike Basketball had taken the basketball market by storm with shoes made of leather, nubuck, and mesh. The Foamposite was something entirely new. The shoe, featuring a composite upper and carbon fiber details, was the latest in Nike's legacy of innovation. With premium details comes a premium price tag. At $180, the shoe wasn't attainable to everyone who wanted a pair. The Foamposite, however, has stood the test of time. Nearing 25 years after its initial release, the shoe is seeing yet another resurgence. Successful collaborative pairs with Comme Des Garcons and a rumored upcoming release of the beloved galaxy and eggplant foams have caught sneakerheads' attention. This got us hitting the archives to find the following 10 fun facts you might not know about the Nike Foamposite.

The Nike Foamposite One Was Not Designed for Penny Hardaway

Yes, the Foamposite One is Penny Hardaway's signature shoe. Successful campaigns such as the Lil Penny campaign would have us believe the Nike planned for the shoe to be Penny's, however, this isn't the case. Eric Avar, the designer of the shoe, created it with Scottie Pippen in mind. This didn't pan out. The shoes fell into Penny's hands in a session during which he saw them in Avar's bag. The rest is sneaker history.
Photo By: Steve Lipofsky

The Upper of the Nike Foamposite Begins as a Liquid

One of the biggest questions surrounding the Nike Foamposite is how a seamless composite upper makes its way around the shoe. The answer, is that the "foam" material actually starts as liquid which is poured into a mold.

Foamposite Material Is Created In A Specific Temperature Range

In order for the Foamposite liquid to be poured into its mold, it must first be heated to a temperature between 130-175 degrees Fehrenheit.

Nike Foamposite Molds Cost More Than A House

Being that Foamposites start as a liquid they shouldn't be as expensive as they are, right? Wrong. Of course, Nike invested in a specially engineered mold designed specifically for the shoe. However, each mold comes with a hefty price tag of $750,000.
Photo By: Gary Warnett

The NBA Didn't Approve of the Foamposite

Upon first wear of the shoe's royal blue colorway, the NBA deemed that the Foamposite didn't contain enough black to match the Magic's uniform. Naturally, Penny reached to a handy Sharpie to color in the shoe, giving it enough black to match the NBA's standards. Nike later commemorated this with the release of the Air Foamposite One "Sharpie".
Photo By: Flight Club

The Foamposite Wasn't Debuted By Penny

You read that right, Penny Hardaway didn't debut the Nike Foamposite. In fact, the shoe debuted in a non-NBA game. The first player to wear the Foamposite One in a game was Mike Bibby who was playing for the University of Arizona at the time.

Nike Destroyed the Original Foamposite Molds

With the Foamposite One being a slow seller upon release, Nike anticipated that it would never see the shoe return to its lineup. With this in mind, they destroyed the original molds for the Foamposite One. At $750,000 per mold, this proved to be a costly waste of resources by Nike.

Someone Tried to Trade Their Car for a Pair of Foamposites

Galaxy Foamposites were one of the first shoes to cause a true disruption within the sneaker community. With people literally breaking down mall barriers to get a pair, their hype reached unprecedented heights. One individual, however, was willing to part ways with a car just to get his hands on a pair.
Photo By: Craigslist

The Foamposite Changed the Way Sneakers Were Manufactured

The known means of gluing and stitching a midsole to an upper did not work on the composite material comprising the Foamposite. In order to solve this problem, Nike developed a new means of attaching a sole to an upper which was 5 times stronger than the known ways. This paved the way for development of future shoes made with uncharacteristic materials.

The Engineering Behind the Foamposite Was Done By A Korean Car Company

Many technical barriers stood in the way of the creation of the Foamposite. While many tried to solve these problems, it was ultimately Daewoo, a now defunct Korean car company, who approached Nike with accepted solutions.

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