Y’all ready for a Footwear Flashback? Hop into the Sneaker History time machine and go back to the early 2010s with us!
Much like a preteen going through puberty, the first half of the 2010s were a confusing time in basketball footwear. Technology was constantly advancing and subsequently, the basketball category experienced growing pains. Signature athletes like LeBron, Kobe, and D-Rose held well-established signature lines, but non-signature shoes were hit-or-miss. Nike’s Hyperdunk line routinely cranked out hits, while others struggled to find their footing. Ill-fated attempts to establish new, reoccurring, sneakers came and went like the Adipure(s), Hyperfuses and Zigtechs (lol… Reebok, you guys were on something back then) of the world.
With that said, this era birthed some fantastic footwear here and there. Let’s take a look back at some of the best jawns from 2010-15; our list features three adidas, three Nikes, and three kicks from other brands, cus you know, sneaker diversity. Enjoy!
adidas DRose 773 – 2012
773 is the area code for Chicago if you didn’t know; shouts to Modern Notoriety. Just like LeBron & Nike, adidas released a secondary Drose line alongside Derrick’s signature series, and it’s from that line in which the 773 came. Though short-lived the Drose 773 provided exceptional performance within a feather-light frame. Durability was an issue, but overall the adidas Drose 773 served a list of players faithfully like Matt Barnes (pictured below).
adidas J Wall 1 – 2014
Hella people sleep on John Wall’s adidas kicks because, well, why buy a John Wall shoe? You gotta be a pretty big Wall fan to want his signature shoes over Derrick Roses (shrugs). The shoes did a lot of things well. For starters, they looked pretty dang good. Not the best, but certainly better than 80% of shoes on the market [at the time]. For a pre-BOOST adidas they were comfortable and provided decent bounce too. What made the adidas J Wall 1 special were the bevy of dope colorways; like the “Bad Dreams” joints pictured above.
adidas Crazyquick 2.0 – 2014
Being crazy quick and crazy light was the name of the game in the 2010s, and adidas did it better than anyone else. Their Crazyquick line were the weapons of choice for their lightning-fast guards akin to Dame Lillard and John Wall (note: Timmy Duncan also rocked the Crazyquick 1s correctly). Unlike the Adizero line, the Crazyquicks actually held up underfoot and retained high levels of structural integrity without compromising lightness. Colorways came correct too, if you were hooping in team basketball shoes around 2013-14 then you surely got buckets in the adidas Crazyquicks – especially the Crazyquick 2s.
Nike Hyperize – 2010
Nike’s marketing for the Hyperize was top notch (Google it) and so were the kicks; though, they’ll forever be the ‘not-Hyperdunks.’ With both Air Max and Zoom Air options available, the Hyperize logged a grip of on-court minutes by guards and bigs alike. They released in the early years of Nike Basketball experimenting with Flywire tech, so the Swoosh made sure to plaster Flywire branding anywhere they could.
Tech lesson: Flywire provides secure lockdown without needing thick, bulky, traditional materials. Early versions like the setup used on the Hyperize were fused directly into the side panels of the shoe; this technique was eventually phased out because of the application’s stiffness. Today’s Flywire function as independent cables locking down every inch of the shoe to the wearer’s foot.
It’s easy to forget about shoes like the Hyperize in the grand scheme of Nike Basketball’s evolution, but it acted as a great trial run for what would become one of the brand’s signature technologies. Lets get a Protro of these puppies, Nike.
Nike Hyperfuse 2012 – 2012
Tech been booming for Nike since 2008 and the Hyperfuse line was one of those early technologies that served as a launching pad for shoes down the road (juuuust like the Hyperize). Conceptually, Hyperfuse (the tech, not the shoe itself) started on the smoldering hot blacktop courts of China. Chinese hoopers were playing in boots, literally boots, that’s not a figure of speech; so Nike looked for a way to develop a technology that was super breathable, super light and super cheap. Necessity bred solutions and poof, we had Hyperfuse.
Nike’s Hyperfuses [the shoes] were all over the place upon their release cus they were… you know… breathable, light and cheap (oh, they were fairly responsive too with the help of Zoom cushioning). We chose to go with the second version, the 2012s because they look better than the original Hyperfuses. At the end of the day, they’re basically the same shoe.
Nike LeBron Soldier 7 – 2013
Can we get a show of hands for everyone that’s rocked a LeBron Solider sneaker?
Okay, that was a lot of hands, thank you.
The King himself rocks his Nike Soldier line with regularity because they’re the best secondary, ‘non-signature,’ offerings from a signature athlete of all time. LeBron’s seventh Soldier kicks utilized a bevy of familiar elements like Hyperfuse, Zoom Air and a forefoot strap, but for some reason, they’re criminally slept on. I know I’m always bringing up colorways, but the Solider 7 had 123,424 dope colorways release (joking). Everything from basic TB looks to floral prints were slapped on top of the Solider 7 for great effect.
Jordan CP3.VI – 2012
Chris Paul is a top-10 point guard in NBA history but his kicks get little to no love. We decided to shoutout the CP3.VI (6) because they broke ankles without breaking bank accounts. From personal experience, I can safely say that Chris’ sixth shoes were beasts on-court. No flashy tech, no flashy branding, just straight-up performance. Podulation tech (think EVA foam but better) was the backbone of the 6’s cushioning, but the real star of these kicks was the traction. You could stop on a dime in the CP3.VI without issues and the traction also repelled dust extremely well. Ballers were locked onto the court every time they laced a pair of these up, trust.
As the name suggests, the Reebok Q96 is an updated version of Iverson’s iconic Question (sneaker) that released in 1996. Released in a time where calls for a new Iverson model weren’t realllly audible, Reebok dropped these bombs out of nowhere. To the disbelief of many sold fairly well and performed adequately too. It’s common practice now for brands to release retooled versions of fan favorites, but few of them look as good as the Q96. Reebok captured all the familiar elements of the OG Questions without totally rehashing the idea. We can’t say the same thing about the Reebok Kamikaze 3… those tried and failed to do what the Q96 did so well… look good while bringing up sweet memories of decades past.
Under Armour Anatomix Spawn – 2014
Oh Under Armour, you came so far and… fell so far back again. UA’s first foray into basketball wasn’t the prettiest (Google the UA Charge BB Highs, they’re awful), but some good did come out of it in the form of the Anatomix Spawns. From a design standpoint, no other shoe on the market looked like them, and if you were anti-Nike or anti-adidas then these provided a great tertiary option. Linework on the Anatomix Spawns was bananas with loos that could’ve worked on a superhero outfit.
As we all know, once UA signed Steph Curry their fortunes shifted for the better and they finally had an elite talent on their roster. Curry’s Spawn PEs were phenomenal and perfect for any Warriors fan. Smartly, UA released Steph’s PEs at retail and they sold super well, but I guarantee you that if they dropped without Curry’s name then they would’ve sat like bricks. Everything good in the world for Under Armour Basketball started with the Anatomix Spawns and for that, they deserve a spot on our list.
Which shoes did we leave off the list that you remember loving from 2010-15? Tell us on IG and in the comments section below!