Jordan sneaker designer Tate Kuerbis was a little nervous when he brought his idea of the Air Jordan 33 to Michael Jordan. After all, debuting an in-game flagship AJ model without laces was a bit outside the norm. “Hey, Michael, what do you think about a basketball shoe without laces?” was how Kuerbis remembers it. “The more we explained the benefits of the technology, MJ is one of those people always wanting to push something.”

Before settling on a laceless design, Jordan needed to know it would work. Kuerbis needed to know how it would work. So, it was up to the engineers in the Nike Sport Research Lab, led by Austin Orland, to make this brand-new “FastFit” non-lacing system function. Then, Kuerbis and the design team had to weave FastFit into the Air Jordan line as the pinnacle focal point of shoe 33.