The Olympic games host the best athletes in the world, so it’s only fitting that these all-star athletes have the best athletic gear to match.
Two sneaker powerhouses, Nike and Kith, have joined forces to showcase the most celebrated Olympian’s shoes. Sneakerheads and Olympic enthusiasts alike can visit the pop-up museum in New York City to see some of the most memorable sneakers that helped dunk, sprint, and jump athletes like Scottie Pippen and Carl Lewis to victory.
From flashy $30,000 gold running spikes to some of the world’s lightest shoes, these are the six most iconic sneakers that came out of the 1996 Summer Olympics.
The Olympic Gold Shoe was created for track legend Michael Johnson, who wore them in the 1996 Summer Olympics. While their colour alone was a bold statement, the shoes redefined the way athletes and shoe companies work together.
While creating these for Johnson, Nike designer Tobie Hatfield noticed that Johnson's right leg rotated significantly when he turned a corner, so he created a custom spike plate for each foot.
Johnson said, 'Opting for gold shoes could have been considered downright cocky, but I was confident and never doubted my ability to deliver gold medals to match my shimmering footwear.'
These Nike Air Max Classic USA shoes were produced for athletes in the 1996 Summer Olympics. Nike has re-released versions of this shoe throughout the years, but these are the originals.
These are the Nike Air Rupt. Members of the 1996 Olympic women's basketball team, such as Lisa Leslie and Dawn Staley, dominated the court in these shoes. This pair was signed by Dawn Staley, a three-time Olympian and basketball hall of famer.
This is the Nike Air More Uptempo, one of the most iconic Olympic shoes of all time. Scottie Pippen, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, laced these up when he was on the 1996 Dream Team.
Stylistically, nothing like this shoe had ever been done before. The shoe's creator, Wilson Smith, showed them to fellow Nike designer Tinker Hatfield who said, 'Well, it's bad design, and you'll sell millions.'
Anfernee 'Penny' Hardaway wore the Nike Zoom Flight in the 1996 Summer Olympics. Nike's new Zoom Air technology was said to be lighter, all the while keeping players closer to the ground.
They helped Penny and the Dream Team III bring home the gold. That year, the men's USA basketball team won all eight games by an average margin of 32.3 points.
Penny's Zoom Flight shoes featured his USA number '6' instead of his NBA number. Looks like the lighter design helped him get some air.
The aptly named Nike Zoom Long Jump was made for track and field events. This particular shoe was used during the 1996 Olympic trials and signed by 10x Olympic medalist and track and field legend Carl Lewis.
The pop-up museum also featured t-shirts signed by Olympic basketball players such as Reggie Miller and Sheryl Swoopes.
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