The 10 Greatest Years in Sneaker History

4. 1995

Not many companies, period, have years like Nike did in 1995. Yes, Michael Jordan was off playing baseball. But with Sergio Lozano's epic Air Max runner and the one-two punch of the Air Max Uptempo and Zoom Flight on the basketball court — not to mention tremendous signature shoes for both Penny Hardaway and Charles Barkley — they (prepare for blasphemy) didn't even really need MJ. Not that they didn't try. In '94 and '95 they rolled out deluxe retro versions of his first three sneakers, correct to nearly very detail, and packaged in special boxes with glossy postcards. The response? A huge yawn. Months later pairs could be found for as little as $20. Other companies had, well, interesting approaches — Fila's Grant Hill line, Converse's jagged Voltage, Reebok's Blast, etnies' Jordan-inpsired MC Rap skate shoe — but this was the year of the Swoosh.

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