Foamposite: From Afterthought to Absolute Cop

This weekend, fans of Nike’s Foamposite line will have their shot at grabbing the “Weatherman” edition of the Foamposite One. Nowadays, with the popularity of the line, people could take such a sneaker for granted. A Foamposite with a crazy upper that’s bound to sell out when it drops…what’s new? Well, take it back to 1997, and this sneaker would receive nowhere near the same reception.

That year, Nike debuted the Air Foamposite One and Air Foamposite Pro, two models that were definitely far ahead of their time in a few ways. Of course, the bold, futuristic Foamposite uppers on both sneakers were like nothing the world had seen prior. At the same time, the price points for both shoes, coming in at $180 and $170 apiece, were sky high compared to other basketball silhouettes of the time. If it was not for limited production and a decent following, the Foamposite line may have ceased to exist some time ago. Even throughout the early and mid-2000s the Foamposite had only a cult following mainly centered in the DMV area. Plus, Foamposites did not come in any color imaginable to man. The Pros dropped in a good few over that timespan, but for fans of the One, Royal Blue was the only option.

In 2006, the “Royal” Foamposite One was finally joined by a totally blacked out version of the One. 2007 brought several grey upper/colored sole versions and a well-received retro of the original colorway into the fold. However, the real turning point for Foamposites came in 2009. After the subdued Foamposite One colorways of the two previous years, Nike finally dropped a colorway just as bold as the original Royal: “Eggplant”. The combination of an iridescent purple upper, brought over from Nike’s Flightposite line, and a translucent sole caught the eyes of all sneakerheads, and not just the Foamposite fans. The “Eggplant” Foamposite One ended up on many fans’ end of the year lists as one of 2009’s most solid sneakers. Seeing the crazy reception, Nike re-released the “Eggplant” Ones in March 2010, although not before dropping another single-color upper Foamposite One in the “Copper” edition. Add the “Pearl” Foamposite Pro retro in September 2010, and Foamposite mania suddenly became more widespread.

The year after, Nike brought a few diverse Foamposite colorways to the table that the masses gobbled up. People came out in drones for both the bright (“Electric Green” and “Retro” Pros, “Pewter” Ones) and the subdued (“Dark Pine” Pro). In addition, the “Royal” Foamposite One came back around for another well-recepted run. At this point, the following for Foamposites was at an all-time high, but it would only go up and up from there, particularly with a sneak preview of future Foamposites at a Penny Hardaway event in Las Vegas. Gentry Humphrey, one of Nike Sportswear’s major executives, revealed Foamposite Ones in red, yellow, pink, and other colorways that signaled the “anything is possible” era of Foamposites. One shocker was the “Galaxy” sample that Humphrey was wearing at the time, a rainbow Foamposite One that had a patterned upper as opposed to the typical one-color Foamposite material. At the event, Humphrey stated that this unique sample would not see store shelves. This did not hold true, as the “Galaxy” Foamposite One took the sneaker world by storm in February 2012. It was literally like nothing Nike had previously put out: a Foamposite, which is bold on its own, with an out-of-this-world pattern on the upper. Unfortunately for the masses, the sneaker was released in extremely limited quantities, which led to plenty of release controversy. On a large scale, actual fans of the sneaker were beat out by resellers, most of which made $1000 and over in profit. The mobs and masses were crazy enough by some retailers to lead to cancelled releases.  If it wasn’t clear before, the culture behind Foamposites definitely changed with the “Galaxy” iteration.

Since then, Nike has released some Foamposites that certainly could not have done as well years ago. All-black (again), all-white, the aforementioned “Polarized Pink”, and even others (“Sport Royal” and “Phoenix Suns” Ones, “Gym Green” and “Crimson” Pros) that resemble other colorways, but still did not last for too long on store shelves. And on the creative side, the door is now wide open thanks to the usage of patterned uppers. So far, 2013 has given the masses the “Fighter Jet” Foamposite One and the “Army Camo” Foamposite Pro, and if previews are any indication, the patterns are here to stay. “Asteroid” Pros, “Safari” Ones, and the “Weatherman” Ones slated to drop this weekend signal an interesting future for the Foamposite line. Will people eat up the more unique patterned Foamposites like some of the past few years’ drops? For that, we will just have to wait and see.

Written By: Jake Pulver

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