Basketball Shoes Performed Better 20 Yrs Ago?

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Sorry if this is in the wrong forum but I had a discussion with someone from another forum and he said that there hasn't been a decent basketball shoe made since '97, performance-wise. He has highly regarded the Air Force III as the best performing basketball shoe and that shoes now are just for fashion and that zoom air, flywire, pod system, lunar foam, etc... are all gimmicks. 
I told him that he was wrong and that there are great basketball shoes today and they are much better than the shoes made 10-20 years ago, just for the tech alone. 

That is the summary but here's the actual discussion:

He said:

If anyone at Nike is listening, please go back to designing shoes for performance. I havent bought a decent pair of basketball shoes since '97. I'd take a pair of '89 Air Force III's over anything available today.




My response was:




There are tons of great basketball shoe out right now. In recent memory, the Kove III, IV and V are all great. The Zoom BB1, BB2 and BB3, although were released in limited productions are all great. The Air Jordan 2010, even though it has a stupid peep-hole, is one of the best basketball shoes out right now and the tech is always updated to enhance performance. Air Jordan always aims for performance with their shoes and the Air Jordan XIV is still one of my favorite shoes on court. Lebrons James' line of shoes are great, the Soldiers are good beaters indoors or out. The Huaraches, Zoom Speed and Hyperdunks are all pretty good too. 

There are tons of great basketball shoes out right now, from the fully loaded zoom air to the new tech like lunarfoam and flywire.





His rebuttal was:




This is total BS. I dont know how old you are but the stuff you are mentioning is designed for style and not function. I've tried most of those shoes on and they dont make the grade by a mile. In fact they SUCK. They $$$ but SUCK.

I worked at Foot Locker as a teen in the late 80's and its sad to say but true that while technology and material has improved their function hasn't. Over and over again they present some gimmick and try and sell it. It seems like every shoe out there now is an attempt to reinvent the Reebok Pump... amemba dose? 





And most of today's stuff is not much better.

This is not just true for BBall, its true for tennis as well. The Nike Air Ace 3/4 was the best tennis shoe I ever owned (1990), and they were there for a year and gone. Bought 2 pairs, stupid me. I wasnt the only one, I had a few customers buy a few pairs of them because they agreed they were great. 

The reality is that this industry is all about fashion now and performance is second. Lebron and Kobe wear that %*@# because they are paid, not because its the best shoe. If the model were different, where athletes wore the best shoe then you'd see a premium on performance.





And I said:




Fashion? What are you talking about? Have you tried on any of these shoes and played in them? I have tried on probably half of the shoes I've mentioned both indoors and outdoors and they all perform well and I have been playing basketball since the early 90's. You can't say Lunarfoam, pod system and flywire are for fashion, those can't even be seen as their are the sole/insole of the shoe. Flywire, I could see being fashion but it also functions well, making the shoe very light yet robust at the same time. 

To say the new tech hasn't improved and functioned well is flat out not true. They are more than just gimmick, they actually perform well. The days of gimmicky pumps or helium are over, the new techs are great and enhances performance. Even the stupid Shox actually serves a purpose. 

I play basketball maybe 2-4 times a week and put these shoes to the test and I admit some suck big time but to say that none are any good is just crazy. Nike/Jordan retro are being made for fashion, the recent releases, not so much. I mean I love how the Kobe V performs, many people (including basketball players) are calling it an almost perfect basketball shoe but it can be one butt ugly shoe so I would not call it fashionable at all.





He responded with:




The reason bball players say that is because they never played with anything different or better. Again, I dont know how old you are, but bball shoes were better 10-15 even 20 years ago than now.

I think you fall for the gimmicks.
Everything I try on now is way too stiff in the wrong places, and doesnt flex properly in the right places.
Right now, because they were the best of a bad breed, I have a pair of air zoom's but they suck.

While this isnt the Air Force 3 I was thinking of, its close... the STS, just simply a better shoe to play in, flex points at the back of the ankle, front, toe, and ball, nice and high, easy to lace, the right amount of cushioning and padding.











Now I know some may believe that some of these maybe gimmicks and I know the hate for lunarfoam at times but you still got to admit it is better than what was made 10-20 years ago right? Today, there is no way you would play basketball in Air Force III over the LBJ Soldiers or Kobe V's. I think he is just reliving his old days and can't/won't adapt to the new, but that is just one mans opinion. 




What do you guys think? Do you agree with him?
 
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He's either suffering from bouts of mania/schizophrenia, is extremely ignorant, or he's in denial(for any number of reasons). 
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He's not entirely wrong, but there's a heavy dose of exaggeration there.

Fashion has been a strong element of basketball sneakers for a long long time.

More recently....... Performance may be taking a back seat to aesthetics.

Some peformance features are more 'gimmicky' than others, but i don't think too many people here are going to fault Zoom though.

Sounds like he wont be told though.
 

crazy ebw

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He sounds like he's in MAJOR denial. He obviously doesn't know what he is talking about. He brings nothing to the table about WHY the modern shoes aren't as good as his "classics". He just says "he's had them" and "they suck". He can't present any reasonable reasons why they aren't as good now. People like that are only worth arguing with for like 2 seconds because you realize how dumb they are and that no matter what you do they aren't going to change their opinion. It's so hard to NOT argue though.

People like that are just silly. You can argue that today's shoe ARE gimmicky, but you CANNOT say that they aren't high performance and/or better than shoes made 20 years ago. I would argue with this dude for like 4 hours if I saw him face to face because he wouldn't stop.
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crazy ebw

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Originally Posted by swingshot

More recently....... Performance may be taking a back seat to aesthetics.

Essentially they're one in the same these days. It's almost like they build upon each other to benefit the athlete.
 
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Originally Posted by Crazy EBW

He sounds like he's in MAJOR denial. He obviously doesn't know what he is talking about. He brings nothing to the table about WHY the modern shoes aren't as good as his "classics". He just says "he's had them" and "they suck". He can't present any reasonable reasons why they aren't as good now. People like that are only worth arguing with for like 2 seconds because you realize how dumb they are and that no matter what you do they aren't going to change their opinion. It's so hard to NOT argue though.

People like that are just silly. You can argue that today's shoe ARE gimmicky, but you CANNOT say that they aren't high performance and/or better than shoes made 20 years ago. I would argue with this dude for like 4 hours if I saw him face to face because he wouldn't stop.
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Yeah, I don't think he would stop either and I just told him that the best way is to just try them on and Highly suggested the Kobe V's because I will jus tkeep going back to my same arguments.
I can't argue that fashion as nothing to do with it anymore but there seem to be more focus on performance now than just making them look good because some of the good performing shoes just doesn't look too good. Just check out the AJ 2010 (ppepholes), they perform great from the reviews I read but you can't say that is fashonable in anyway, or at least I do not see it.

As for techs being a gimmick, yah I could see it as a good selling point but from what I tried, the flywire does make the shoes lighter while staying durable and you can't really say much about zoom air as mentioned earlier. There really hasn't been much tech Nike has come out with to be used a gimmick lately, outside of the lunarfoam and flywire, which to some degree does work. 
 

crazy ebw

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Nike adapted with those technologies as well. With the lunar, they saw it wasn't working well in basketball shoes. Lunarlite is working well with their running division (I guess, they have a TON of shoes out with it). The flywire on it's 2nd Gen as we always speak about is AMAZING. I didn't mind the flywire on the original HD but it didn't make a huge difference outside of weight IMO but the 2nd gen is more form fitting which I REALLY appreciate.

The peepholes have a function in the 2010 too, but with that shoe I enjoyed the bottom-loaded zoom more than anything else.

I think ol buddy has innovation confused with gimmicks. He doesn't want to accept the fact that new technologies can be bad AND good depending on how they're executed. Seems like he writes everything off automatically because of his assumptions.
 
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Gimmick? It's a business... does he not understand marketing? Advertisements are definitely more prevalent nowadays due to the internet and what the industry has become, but I'm sure everybody has seen the old "Air" advertisements when it was first invented. How is the marketing of today's new performance technology anymore of a gimmick than it was 30 or so years ago? How smart would it have been for Nike to simply plop the Hyperdunk onto shelves back in '08 without pushing Flywire? Nobody would know what it was or the benefits.

I won't argue that Nike relies on their stars to simply push units (when haven't they, or any other brand, for that matter?), but performance is brought to the forefront when designing top of the line shoes in today's industry more than ever . They're always looking for ways to improve. Does it always work out? No, but more often than not, it does.

It's all about style now? Style has always been a part of the process, hell, who wants to wear an ugly looking shoe? How does a company sell an ugly looking shoe (see: Air Jordan XV)? I think he's reading too far into when athletes talk about their signature shoe and say, "I wanted a shoe I could play in, but also kick back and chill in". Designers won't sacrifice performance that they feel is needed, just to give the shoe a better look.
Lebron and Kobe wear that %*@# because they are paid, not because its the best shoe.
I take it he is trapped in the '70s and doesn't understand how hands-on the design process has become over the past 20-years with the athletes themselves?

I'm sure many of us could pick apart pretty much everything he's said, but at the end of the day, he sounds like a bitter 40-year old. Relive your glory days, old man... stick with them AFIIIs.
 
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Zoom air is in no way a gimmick. I don't even think I could buy a basketball shoe without it.
 
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Great points Blazer21. I completely forgot the players involvement in designing their shoes, like how Kobe asked for low cut shoes.
 

crazy ebw

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Originally Posted by RFX45

Great points Blazer21. I completely forgot the players involvement in designing their shoes, like how Kobe asked for low cut shoes.
Yep.

Also, players don't just "wear it because they're paid" to do so. Sure some athletes will sign with companies who offer the most money but more times than not they'll have a contract with what they like best and what they're comfortable with. (Beasley going with Adidas and Durant taking far less money to go with Nike over Adidas really come to mind)
 
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shoes perform and look 100% better than they did 20 years ago. i'm a guy who was in middle school 20 years ago and my shoe-life as it were, began then. i think a lot of guys get stuck with what was hot when they "woke up" to shoes, and there's just no comparison between shoes back then and shoes now. hyperdunks and kobe v's compared with air flight's and air go's, no contest.

with one noted exception....the first air maestro. as far as mids go, they are still unmatched in my book.

dude has rocks for brains.
 
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Sneakers today perform better. Zoom is better for performance than air. Air units just looks better. A lot of the better performing sneakers are still based around old technology though. Look how long air and zoom have been around. The ones people complain about(Hyperize, Hyperdunk) are updated technology with the Lunar Foam and flywire.

I wouldn't say sneakers look better than they did 20 years ago though. In fact I'd say hell no. You have kids buying sneakers that weren't even alive when the originals were released. Air Max 2009's are probably the only new non signature sneaker Nike has put out in years that have any sort of demand.

Does anyone rush out to buy a non-retro by Nike other than Kobe's and Lebron's?

Most of the sneakers I buy are retros, even though I do have some of the updated Huarache's, Hyperdunk's, Air Max 2009's, Lebron's, Kobe's.... I wouldn't ball in them, well maybe Flightposites, but the hell if they don't look better.
 
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To be fair, when those OGs came out back then, no one rushed to buy them either. I mean even the XI's sat in shelves and went on sale. Retroes sells right now not just because of how it looks, I mean yes most look great but it is also partly because it is either limited or just hyped out of proportion. There were some instances the non-retro Air Jordans sold out on release date during the peak of the retro hype, the most recent being the XX's and XXIII's. I believe the XX's are actually because of hype and that it actually looked good while the XXIII's mainly sold out because of how limited it was and the significance of it being #23.

So I wouldn't really say that the shoes today doesn't sell out because they look ugly, people just know that eventually it will go on sale, at least the non-limited versions. I am actually surprised at how well the new Kobes are selling, even the non-limited versions sold out in some stores and people were clamoring to get them earlier. The Kobes doesn't sellout within minutes like AJ retroes but they do sell out within weeks/months at Eastbay at times, which is rather impressive if you think about it. Most new models sit til they go on sale before selling out or hitting the outlets.
 
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Originally Posted by RFX45

To be fair, when those OGs came out back then, no one rushed to buy them either. I mean even the XI's sat in shelves and went on sale. Retroes sells right now not just because of how it looks, I mean yes most look great but it is also partly because it is either limited or just hyped out of proportion. There were some instances the non-retro Air Jordans sold out on release date during the peak of the retro hype, the most recent being the XX's and XXIII's. I believe the XX's are actually because of hype and that it actually looked good while the XXIII's mainly sold out because of how limited it was and the significance of it being #23.

So I wouldn't really say that the shoes today doesn't sell out because they look ugly, people just know that eventually it will go on sale, at least the non-limited versions. I am actually surprised at how well the new Kobes are selling, even the non-limited versions sold out in some stores and people were clamoring to get them earlier. The Kobes doesn't sellout within minutes like AJ retroes but they do sell out within weeks/months at Eastbay at times, which is rather impressive if you think about it. Most new models sit til they go on sale before selling out or hitting the outlets.
Concord's sat on shelves and went on sale?  No they didn't.

Being that I was around for a lot of the retros being released now, most of them were more popular back then, that's why they're being released now.  Granted, there were less sneakers released.  But how many Nike's released now will be retroed in 10 or 20 years?  Will people even want them released?  Nobody will care if they aren't Kobe's or Lebron's.  Did anyone care about Vince's HOH kicks?

And the majority of people buy sneakers, because of how they look, not performance.  That's why fusions are so popular.

People buy retros for nostalgia and also appearance.  Kids today, the sneakers they have nostalgia for, will be retros. 
 
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The Air Jordan XVII. I don't even need to say anything else.

That shoe is an ultimate BBall shoe.
 

crazy ebw

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Concords DID sit around for a little while. They weren't the sellout like they would be if they released right now.
 
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Originally Posted by Magic1978

Originally Posted by RFX45

To be fair, when those OGs came out back then, no one rushed to buy them either. I mean even the XI's sat in shelves and went on sale. Retroes sells right now not just because of how it looks, I mean yes most look great but it is also partly because it is either limited or just hyped out of proportion. There were some instances the non-retro Air Jordans sold out on release date during the peak of the retro hype, the most recent being the XX's and XXIII's. I believe the XX's are actually because of hype and that it actually looked good while the XXIII's mainly sold out because of how limited it was and the significance of it being #23.

So I wouldn't really say that the shoes today doesn't sell out because they look ugly, people just know that eventually it will go on sale, at least the non-limited versions. I am actually surprised at how well the new Kobes are selling, even the non-limited versions sold out in some stores and people were clamoring to get them earlier. The Kobes doesn't sellout within minutes like AJ retroes but they do sell out within weeks/months at Eastbay at times, which is rather impressive if you think about it. Most new models sit til they go on sale before selling out or hitting the outlets.
Concord's sat on shelves and went on sale?  No they didn't.

Being that I was around for a lot of the retros being released now, most of them were more popular back then, that's why they're being released now.  Granted, there were less sneakers released.  But how many Nike's released now will be retroed in 10 or 20 years?  Will people even want them released?  Nobody will care if they aren't Kobe's or Lebron's.  Did anyone care about Vince's HOH kicks?

And the majority of people buy sneakers, because of how they look, not performance.  That's why fusions are so popular.

People buy retros for nostalgia and also appearance.  Kids today, the sneakers they have nostalgia for, will be retros. 


Yah, OG Concords went on sale. You can find old Eastbays where the prices were slashed by 30%-40% off and it was still fsr. Most of the retroes are being released now because they were popular, thats true, but not because they sold out when they first released. Outside of retroes and limited edition shoes, I don't remember any shoes selling out on the first day or people lining up a whole day before it comes out.

We can never be sure of the future but I can see the Kobes and LBJs being retroed in 10-20 years and chances are it won't sell out because a lot of people are already stacking up hoping it would have the same effect as the earlier Air Jordans but if there are too many out there, the demand won't be too high. However, if they are retroed and sold in limited number, I am sure they will sell out. Nostalgia-wsie, think about it this way. You are in high school and you play the whole year in Kobe Vs and they are one of the best shoes you've ever worn on the court. 10-20 yrs later the Kobe Vs are retroed and you get to relive that high school moment.

There is a big chance the shoes we are seeing today, especially since th LCJs and Kobes are actually selling well, will be retroed. Look at the foamposites, those did not initially sell out the first time around (not just because it retailed for $200 irrc) but now it is selling out quick and that is barely 10-15 yrs old? Garnetts were recently retroed too and that didn't sell out initially either but the retroes sold well, especially the limited ones (of course).

I agree, people still buy off look and design first, or at least that is what they see first but you know that if there are no zoom air or the shoes felt like chucks, then no one would buy for the court maybe even for casual wear so I won't say people do not buy for performance at all. Also, last I check fusions were hated, maybe it's just on NT. Go to the JB forum and when a new fusion pics release and posted it is followed by 10 pages of 
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Originally Posted by RFX45

Originally Posted by Magic1978

Originally Posted by RFX45

To be fair, when those OGs came out back then, no one rushed to buy them either. I mean even the XI's sat in shelves and went on sale. Retroes sells right now not just because of how it looks, I mean yes most look great but it is also partly because it is either limited or just hyped out of proportion. There were some instances the non-retro Air Jordans sold out on release date during the peak of the retro hype, the most recent being the XX's and XXIII's. I believe the XX's are actually because of hype and that it actually looked good while the XXIII's mainly sold out because of how limited it was and the significance of it being #23.

So I wouldn't really say that the shoes today doesn't sell out because they look ugly, people just know that eventually it will go on sale, at least the non-limited versions. I am actually surprised at how well the new Kobes are selling, even the non-limited versions sold out in some stores and people were clamoring to get them earlier. The Kobes doesn't sellout within minutes like AJ retroes but they do sell out within weeks/months at Eastbay at times, which is rather impressive if you think about it. Most new models sit til they go on sale before selling out or hitting the outlets.
Concord's sat on shelves and went on sale?  No they didn't.

Being that I was around for a lot of the retros being released now, most of them were more popular back then, that's why they're being released now.  Granted, there were less sneakers released.  But how many Nike's released now will be retroed in 10 or 20 years?  Will people even want them released?  Nobody will care if they aren't Kobe's or Lebron's.  Did anyone care about Vince's HOH kicks?

And the majority of people buy sneakers, because of how they look, not performance.  That's why fusions are so popular.

People buy retros for nostalgia and also appearance.  Kids today, the sneakers they have nostalgia for, will be retros. 


Yah, OG Concords went on sale. You can find old Eastbays where the prices were slashed by 30%-40% off and it was still fsr. Most of the retroes are being released now because they were popular, thats true, but not because they sold out when they first released. Outside of retroes and limited edition shoes, I don't remember any shoes selling out on the first day or people lining up a whole day before it comes out.

We can never be sure of the future but I can see the Kobes and LBJs being retroed in 10-20 years and chances are it won't sell out because a lot of people are already stacking up hoping it would have the same effect as the earlier Air Jordans but if there are too many out there, the demand won't be too high. However, if they are retroed and sold in limited number, I am sure they will sell out. Nostalgia-wsie, think about it this way. You are in high school and you play the whole year in Kobe Vs and they are one of the best shoes you've ever worn on the court. 10-20 yrs later the Kobe Vs are retroed and you get to relive that high school moment.

There is a big chance the shoes we are seeing today, especially since th LCJs and Kobes are actually selling well, will be retroed. Look at the foamposites, those did not initially sell out the first time around (not just because it retailed for $200 irrc) but now it is selling out quick and that is barely 10-15 yrs old? Garnetts were recently retroed too and that didn't sell out initially either but the retroes sold well, especially the limited ones (of course).

I agree, people still buy off look and design first, or at least that is what they see first but you know that if there are no zoom air or the shoes felt like chucks, then no one would buy for the court maybe even for casual wear so I won't say people do not buy for performance at all. Also, last I check fusions were hated, maybe it's just on NT. Go to the JB forum and when a new fusion pics release and posted it is followed by 10 pages of 
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Please show me these Eastbay's that had adult sizes that were on sale of the XI.  I've been getting Eastbay's since high school.  Eastbay's back then were a hot commodity, because there wasn't a HOH, Niketown or buying online.  Jordan's didn't sell out back then first day, mainly because they used to be released during the week, but they sure didn't sit forever to go on sale 40% off, especially ones released that he played in.  I would have been all over them, since I couldn't afford them in high school or college unless they went on sale or came out during the summer.  Jordan IX's were the first ones that had a lull, which coincided with his retirement.  Now Jordan XII's didn't sell well, because I got my playoffs mad cheap.  But come on yo, tell that XI thing to someone who doesn't know about sneakers and wasn't there when the OG's came out.  You're trying to rewrite history or something.

Signature kicks sell better than the average sneaker, because of the ties to the player.  That's why Nike will sign dudes to multi million dollar deals.  And what Garnett's have sold well?  I just got some Flightposite II's for $99.  Air Garnett's(Max 3) are straight outlet material.

And in the real world people wear Fusions.  Go in any mall or hood across america and you will see more Fusions on peoples feet than you see any retro or 2009 or 2010.  NT doesn't represent the real world or reality.  The average person doesn't buy 50 or 100 pair of kicks.  The average person doesn't camp out for kicks.  The average person doesn't care if a retro is comparable to the OG.
 
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I wish I could find the Eastbay scan but I have seen it. But you said they ones Jordans he wore didn't go on sale but he did wear the X's and it definitel went on sale. The steel grey still had lots of sizes available there too.
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I am not re-writing history, I remember in '96 that I could go to a footlocker and grab the concords easily and even later on sale. I remember that because I really wanted the Concords too but like you couldn't afford them and yes, even on sale I couldn't afford them. People do live in different places that has different interest. There are still places in the U.S. where retroes doesn't sell out and there are some reports where people just walk in the store and still see a pair of recently released retroes that people line up for in other parts of the country. So maybe in your area it sold well and never went on sale and maybe in my area it did. I thinkw e can both agree that that is possible.

As for the Garnetts, the Garnett III retros sold well, while the OG didn't so much. At least in the stores in my area, I wanted to check them out in person but they were cleaned out. Yah, sig kicks do sell better and that is why they retroed and that is why I believe the LBJs and Kobes will be retroed in the future. Like you said, they do not pay these guys millions for nothing, their shoes sell and Nike will capitalize on the same designs and retro them. I am almost sure of it. But I could still see some of the shoes right now, even non-sig, being retroed. A good example is the Hyperdunk, it has kind of has the cache of the original AJ I's, simple yet strikingly nice and performs well enough. Again, that is my opinion before you start getting mad about that too. Looks are subjective and that is what I sense in the Hyperdunks. If they retroe them, they may not sell out but they will be like the current retro AJI's, sit around in the shelves but eventually sell when they go on sale. But I can certainly see them retroing Hyperdunks.

I have no argument with fusion, I know people wear them but not many are paying retail but that was beside the point. I know they sell, most people can't say no to it especially at outlet prices. And you see more fusions because of that, plus most people that does buy the retroes wear it sparingly. I'm just saying, on nT they are hated and yes I know the world isn't NT but I did say that "on NT" in my initial post.

In the end though, we'll just stand by beliefs so there really isn't much point to continue arguing. You got your views and theres nothing wrong with them, I just have mine and it doesn't exactly match with yours point-for-point.
 
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If shoes from the 80's performed so good then why did MJ himself say his feet were killing him after wearing his Jordan 1's after the game against the knicks in I think 98?
 
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Originally Posted by DrDealgood

If shoes from the 80's performed so good then why did MJ himself say his feet were killing him after wearing his Jordan 1's after the game against the knicks in I think 98?
IIRC his feet grew a little over the years.. but yes the aj1 is notorious for poor cushioning.
 
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