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The '90s were a crazy time in the tennis.
This decade let loose, from horrific stabbings on court and top athletes sporting wigs to save face, the pressure to build on the decadence of the '80s while defining the modern style of this formerly civilized sport led to radical styles and eye-catching kicks.
Johnny Mack cleared the way from the next era to be lead by Andre Agassi with his love of loud prints and matching ensembles. Sneakers incorporated unconventional materials and radical prints, turning the look of the decade into a far cry from the traditional Wimbledon whites. Nike defied tennis traditions with loud designs and aggressive marketing campaigns, while Reebok made noise with Michael Chang's Court Victory Pump and adidas kept it classy with the Edberg and the ATP Tour. To see the best of the best from this time, check out The Best Tennis Sneakers of the '90s.
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No. 10 - Puma Super Davis Cup
Boris Becker wore these funky joints while competing against Sampras and Agassi during the early '90s. Puma's Trinomic technology in the sole gave these great shock absorption. Trinomic pockets can be seen on the ball of the foot and the heel. The styling of the upper was a direct influence of what Nike was doing and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
No. 9 - adidas Torsion ATP Tour
The adidas ATPs were one of their best non-signature shoes. The Torsion cushioning system was tailor made for tennis' rampant pace. The leather upper made them durable and the interior padding made them one of the most comfortable shoes available at the time. Plus, they're pretty dope to look at.
No. 8 - Reebok Court Victory Pump
The Court Victory Pumps were the first Reeboks with Hexalite cushioning technology. They were Michael Chang's signature shoe the year after he became the youngest player to win the French Open at 17. The DuraTrac Plus outsole prevented wear and Reebok's Pump technology was highlighted by a fuzzy tennis ball as the pump.
No. 7 - Nike Supreme Court
The Supreme Courts were worn by Jim Courier. Like many of Nike's releases during the '90s. they featured full-length Nike Air in the sole. The mid-foot strap gave them stability for those quick movements on the court. The full-grain leather upper and DRC Court rubber compound meant the Courts could be worn almost forever.
No. 6 - Nike Air Tech Challenge II
Tinker Hatfield's design of the Tech Challenge 2s changed the tennis game. The "hot lava" colorway matched Andre Agassi's style. Like the Air Tech Challenge I, the toe piece on the sole incorporated Durathane and the upper was made of Durabuck. The sole also featured full-length Nike Air and various patterns for traction on multiple courts. The Tech Challenge II's sole was so well made, Kanye used it for the Yeezy 2.
No. 5 - adidas Stefan Edberg
Edberg's signature line ran for a decade because they were damn good shoes. The leather upper and flat sole were perfect for tennis. Edberg was an adidas athlete his entire career and the edition pictured above were one of the lines most popular models.
No. 4 - Nike Air Resistance
The Air Resistance is bullet-proof. Well, sort of. Kevlar was incorporated on several panels of the shoe, including the toe area. Word is, you could play six months of straight tennis in these. They were also one of the first shoes to feature recycled rubber outsoles, word to Dallas Penn.
No. 3 - Nike Air Challenge LWP
Not one of Agassi's better looking joints but the Challenge LWP were one of his best performance-wise. The suede upper incorporated copper mesh for durability and breathability. They featured dual Nike Air units in a Phylon sole for a lighter more explosive shoe. Cats were able to rock these on the tennis court and the basketball court.
No. 2 - Nike Air Oscillate
Pete Sampras' signature shoe has an interesting beginning. Lead Nike designer Tinker Hatfield tricked Sampras into trying out the shoe during a pick-up basketball game. The tennis legend ended up loving them and after he won the Australian Open while wearing the Oscillates, Pete wore them for seven more years. The synthetic upper and mesh tongue gave these a glove-like fit. The midsole featured Zoom Air cushioning that you could actually feel working. The Air Oscillate is arguably one of the most comfortable tennis shoes ever.
No. 1 - Nike Air Resistance II
Like the first edition, the Air Resistance 2 also featured Kevlar on the toe panel and had a hard body toe box. They were a part of Nike's Ndestrukt series of kicks and are basically just that, indestructible. They came with a warranty and perfect what the first edition couldn't. We'll just let Dallas Penn tell it.