Release Date: 1989
Technology: Reebok Pump
The two biggest challenges in modern athletic footwear design have been cushioning and fit. Cushioning has led to all sorts of developments, while fit has primarily been a function of different upper designs and variable lacing structures. In 1989, Reebok sought to change all that with inflatable chambers that could be filled via a mechanism on the tongue. They called it Pump. It debuted on an eponymous basketball shoe, and quickly spread through their range, from tennis to training to running. Other companies tried their hand with it as well, but it remains one of Reebok's signature technologies - although at this point it's more for nostalgia than performance.