This fall, Reebok paid homage to its rich basketball heritage. Instead of just relying on retro releases, they took key classics, revived them, and bridged the gap from old school to new school. The Q96 and Pumpspective Omni are a great introduction to the brand’s new direction, resonating with nostalgic ’90s sneakerheads and young hoopers alike, by giving them an update to some timeless shoes and fresh performance options to break their opponents ankles in.
There’s no denying the Question Mid’s timeless aesthetics, but it’s 2013, and Reebok knew to be taken seriously on the hardwood it was time to give a new generation of players something that would allow them to strike fast on the court—and look just as fresh as Allen Iverson always did in the process. The new Q96 keeps similar design features from the original Questions, while trimming the fat with its 3D FuseFrame upper for maximum breathability. The cushioning system gets an update as well with the extremely comfortable DMX Foam. And the forefoot flex grooves and herringbone outsole give even the most explosive players enough stability and traction to switch directions on the stop of a dime to fool their defenders.
Who can forget Dee Brown sneaking a peek through his forearm in the Pump Omni Lite to win the ’91 NBA Slam Dunk Contest? The Pumps Omni Lites were an all-around solid mid-cut basketball shoe and featured Hexalite cushioning. They went hard in the streets, having everyone pumping it up in between buckets or between classes. Twenty-two years later, Reebok stripped the original cult classic and combined its latest innovations with the 3D FuseFrame and DMX Foam while keeping the Pump tongue you know and love to create the new Pumpspective Omni. Game recognize game, and people on and off the court do too.
While the sneaker collections of most 20-somethings are peaking, Jeremy Sallee is busy re-creating classics. The 27-year-old Akron alum was chosen by Reebok to help update two of their most iconic silhouettes, which led to the designs for the new Q96 and Pumpspective Omni. Check the interview to find out how the former college ball player turned a scraped John Wall signature shoe into one of the hottest general releases of the new season, as well as what’s next.
Interview by Brandon Edler (@MrBrando3)
Tell us about your history and how you linked up with Reebok for this project.
It basically started when I was 12. I got the Questions and I told one of my friends I could continue to make Reebok better. It was the shoe that made me want to start designing footwear. I loved [Allen] Iverson and played basketball my whole life. I actually got a pair of the black and gold Questions and I was mad because I couldn’t get the white and red pair—I tried everywhere for them. It was around that shoe that I started designing and sketching shoes all the time.
After college I was part of a post-graduate apprenticeship with Reebok, and I was one of the people chosen to participate in its year-long program. Halfway through, Reebok hired me and gave me a great opportunity to start designing on the Classic and Lifestyle stuff. I started working on the Basketball line right around the end of John Wall’s time with the brand.