What do you get when you combine Kobe Bryant, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and a sports car? You get the story of the Nike Hyperdunk.
Long before going viral was a common occurrence, the Nike Hyperdunk had a stunning viral debut when Kobe Bryant wore them at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Featuring innovative Nike Flywire, this shoe went from being a viral sensation to a staple of the sneaker history.
But other than its debut, what made this shoe so popular? And how has Nike used it to push the boundaries of what a basketball shoe can be?
To learn more, keep reading. Here’s a complete history of the evolution of Nike’s iconic Hyperdunk shoe.
The Original 2008 Hyperdunk
In 2008, Nike had many talented athletes representing its footwear. The likes of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Carmelo Anthony were hitting the peaks of their careers.
During this time, most of the popular basketball shoes being produced were signature shoes. This meant that brands like Nike would create basketball shoes specifically for that player.
The player would give their input on the shoe’s specs and design, and the shoe would also be sold under the athlete’s name. But with non-signature shoes, while a player might wear the shoe to promote it, the shoe wouldn’t be designed for them.
With the 2008 Beijing Olympics around the corner, Nike set out to create an innovative basketball shoe that would be just as popular as the signature shoes Nike athletes had worn up until now. Once the innovative design was finished, Kobe Bryant wore them during the 2008 Olympics. When the Olympics were over, a video went viral that cemented the shoes into sneaker history.
This video featured Kobe Bryant wearing the Nike Hyperdunks and jumping over a moving Aston Martin sports car. Combined with how much speed and support the shoes gave players, the Hyperdunk quickly became a huge success.
What Made the Original Hyperdunk So Special?
While this shoe is well known, some lesser-known sneaker facts about this shoe are why they were so innovative. The Hyperdunk was the first Nike shoe to feature Flywire Technology. This technology was inspired by the cables that hang from suspension bridges.
Nike Flywire is a series of cables that are knit together. The point of Flywire is to reduce the weight of the shoe while letting the shoe be more stable on your foot. The Hyperdunk was also the debut of Nike Lunar Foam. This foam is a lightweight cushion that reduces how much force your joints endure with the impact of each footfall.
And since Kobe Bryant was well-known for pushing for new shoe technology, he was the perfect player to promote these innovative shoes. Since the Hyperdunk shoe was so successful, Nike launched an updated version of the shoe in 2009. This was called the Hypermax, and it featured an ankle strap and Air Max technology for more support.
The World’s Championship Shoe
In 2010 and 2011, Nike continued to leverage the popularity of their new shoe. They also continued releasing new models yearly while tweaking the features of the shoes.
In 2010, the Hyperdunk became the world’s championship basketball shoe. It also represented each country that participated, which marks this as an important shoe for basketball history.
During the summer of 2010, Nike held its World Basketball Festival in New York. They presented the new Hyperdunk 2010 shoe at this festival.
In a smart move, Nike also released the Hyperdunk AirMax in 2010. This shoe was intended for bigger players, with LaMarcus Aldridge and Carlos Boozer notably wearing them on the court.
2011’s Nike Hyperdunk was worn by notable stars like Chris Bosh and Blake Griffin. In fact, Nike designed one of the 2011 Hyperdunk models for Griffin himself.
Into the Future With Nike+
2012 was a huge year for Hyperdunk. This was the year that LeBron James became the face of the Hyperdunk, which made this iconic model even more popular.
And fans that wanted to purchase Nike at this time had a special perk: they could integrate their shoes with the Nike+ App.
This app used a special sensor that could track how far you walked or ran. You would attach the sensor to a special pocket in Nike+ compatible shoes. Then, you would connect the sensor to your phone or iPod and you could then track how much you exercised. Nike retired this technology in 2018 to focus on other technological innovations.
A Tribute to Basketball History
As the Hyperdunk shoe evolved, it started to gain a new philosophy. Starting from the 2016 model, Nike started to see the shoe as an extension of the player’s foot and body.
So, these newest Nike sneakers brought back the Flywire technology and Lunar foam with the Nike React Hyperdunk 2017 Flyknit.
Hyperdunk shoes also started to come in different colorways to represent important cities in basketball history. These cities included Chicago and Los Angeles.
Nike even made a special green and yellow shoe in 2013 to pay tribute to player Kyrie Irving’s Australian roots.
The Hyperdunk Today
Some of the newest Hyperdunk models include the Hyperdunk X and the Nike Alphadunk. The Hyperdunk X has improved Flywire technology and focuses on foot stability. It also makes sure your foot movement isn’t restricted.
Nike continues to create new colorways for this shoe, from its red, white, and blue “USA” model to a pink and black colorway dedicated to legendary basketball trainer Sandra Kay Yow.
And given the continued popularity of Nike Hyper Dunk shoes, athletes and sneakerheads alike continue to love it for its innovation and part in basketball history.
Now You Know the Sneaker History of Nike Hyperdunk
Did any of these Hyperdunk sneaker history facts surprise you?
Whether you’re building your sneaker collection or just want a pair of high-performance sneakers to wear on and off the court, the Nike Hyperdunk is a great option that makes you feel like you’re holding a piece of basketball history in your hands. Enjoyed this blog post? Then you’ll love more posts from our lifestyle category. Be sure to check them out today!