Looking for a design that would provide vertical players with the cushioning they needed to elevate knowing that they would be in for a comfortable landing, Wilson Smith created a shoe that took the idea of comfort to the extreme: 1996's Nike Air More Uptempo.
Rather than just keeping the Nike Air unit in the heel, Smith elected to run it the entire length of the shoe to give it an unprecedented level of comfort. He also utilized a combined Durabak and full-grain leather upper to give the Air More Uptempo a rare combination of durability and breathability, making it the perfect complement to a player whose game entailed mixing it up in the paint but also running freely in the open court.
It’s no wonder, then, that it was the shoe of choice for Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley in the 1996 Summer Olympics, and was also favored by Pippen during the Bulls’ run to the 1996 NBA title. It continued to be worn by players in the 1996-97 season as well, fueling several outstanding individual efforts. These are the 10 Best Performances in the Nike Air More Uptempo.
Doug Sibor contributes to Sneaker Report, Complex Media, and Bleacher Report, and can often be found shuttling between Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium and TD Garden. If you wish to discuss sports, sneakers, reality TV or acceptable meats to use as pizza toppings, follow him here.