You think all of those Retro releases are outdated sneakers, don't you? Featuring decades-old performance tech that couldn't possibly work in today's "modern" world of next-level footwear. The next time you think about saying certain basketball shoes are outdated, refer to this list because we're about to teach you about 10 Retro Basketball Technologies that Still Work Today.
Nightwing2303 is the owner/publisher of KicksOnCourt and contributor to Sneaker Report. He hoops on the regular and loves sneaker tech as much as he loves food, and he really loves his food. You can keep up with Nightwing2303′s on and off court adventures on Twitter and Instagram.
No. 10 - Huarache Sleeve
The Nike Air Huarache was an amazing runner but when Tinker decided to also turn it into a hoop shoe... That's when things got real. With a neoprene inner sleeve, a shoe had never fit so snug and you will see inner sleeves in modern shoes as well which means only one thing... It still works.
No. 9 - DMX
When Reebok debuted their DMX technology, athletes couldn't get enough of it. There was no brand to ever rival Nike's Air systems and while DMX wasn't better than Air when it came down to impact protection, there still wasn't anything cooler than the air transfer system. Its absence from the Reebok Answer IV Retro made that release forgettable but its return of the Answer 1 made that release nostalgic... and comfortable. They've even brought the cushion system back entirely and revamped it for running with the Reebok DMX Sky... yeah, still works.
No. 8 - Feet You Wear
A shoe that mimicked your foots natural movement and strike zones... preposterous! Hell, it worked though. Still does too. Take the adidas Crazy 8, Top Ten 2000 and the Real Deal as prime examples of the anatomically correct technology at its best. Future Retros will continue to feature the tech and to top it off... adidas is placing it on a new model in 2014. Not bad for Retro tech.
No. 7 - Hexalite
Reebok had some really good cushion systems but none greater than Hexalite. Its lightweight, low to the ground and incredibly absorbent. This is one cushion system that has been utilized time and time again in their Retro line and it was even revamped back in 2010 with the Reebok Kamikaze 2010 but alas... nothing quite compares to the original.
No. 6 - CMR Cushion
FILA had been absent for quite some time and with their recent Retro success, they plan to utilize their CMR cushion much more often. Very comfortable and often referred to as "pillow-like" cushion, the CMR tech can be found in the FILA 96 & Spaghetti which is not surprisingly still worn by NBA's Jerry Stackhouse.
No. 5 - Phylon
Phylon is taken for granted nowadays but hoop in a pair of Air Jordan IX's followed by a game in the Air Jordan X and you'll understand why its featured. Polyurethane had been the go-to source when it came down to midsole cushion following the solid rubber age and Phylon changed the game completely. So much in fact that this now basic foam is used in nearly every basketball model - other sports as well - since 1995 to the present day.
No. 4 - The Pump
In case you don't quite understand what The Pump is; its an air pump connected to an inflatable bladder then placed - most often - inside of the tongue of a Reebok sneaker. Its used in other areas nowadays but back in the day it was usually placed inside the tongue. What does it do? It allows you to - pump, pump... pump it up! - create a customized fit to your sneaker... essentially taking up any and all dead space, giving you a proper & personal fit. You'll see it on many Reebok Pump branded Retro models and it works just as good as it originally did back in 1989.
No. 3 - Nike Air
Nike Air cushion made its debut in 1979. Yeah... when you lace up your LeBron's you are hooping in tech that is 34 years old. This should pretty much quiet any naysayers that claim Retro models aren't performance shoes. If its got Nike Air.. you can hoop in it.
No. 2 - Zoom Air
Nike's Air cushion made its debut in 1979 & it took 16 years for them to fine tune that setup into a lower, lighter and more responsive cushion source. In 1995, Nike debuted Tensile Air... which is now known solely as Zoom Air... in a women's high heel no less. It quickly made its way into the forefoot of the Nike Air Penny and the rest is history. Is Zoom Air still used today? It is... and its still Nike's most popular cushion tech. Not bad for Retro now is it?
No. 1 - Carbon Fiber
Carbon Fiber has been used in the Reebok Shaq Attack, Air Jordan XI and beyond & there really isn't a greater piece of technology in performance footwear at the moment, especially one that has been around for this long. Unlike cushion, Carbon Fiber is a multipurpose resource and has been used as arch support, torsional support, a spring plate, a moderator plate and even support panels featured along the upper on some of today's more modern performance models. Brands continue to re-engineer the fairly simple technology and apply it to take care of a wide variety of performance needs... even MJ himself attributes the length of his career to Carbon Fiber shank plates/ spring plates so if it has his seal of approval... It must be good.
Four out of the top five technologies have not only allowed for great strides in performance footwear but they are some of the oldest pieces of tech that are still used in today's "modern" performance footwear. Give that some thought before you bash the Uncle Drew at your local court as he wears his beloved Retro models while taking you to school.