Player: Kevin Garnett
Original Release: 1999
Designer: Eric Avar
Release Type: General release
Weight: 16.5 ounces
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It’s not often that we put a shoe and the word “revolutionary” in the same sentence, but with the Nike Flightposite, revolutionary is exactly what it was.
Originally released in 1999 as a member of the Nike Alpha Project, the Flightposite was the brainchild of Nike designer Eric Avar. With a design inspired by sports cars and the human foot, Avar’s goal was to create a shoe that would be a “seamless extension of the human body”. And, at a mere 16.5 ounces with a hyper thin, 2mm Foamposite upper, the Flightposite did exactly that.
Even though the Flightposite’s design and performance could’ve easily spoken for itself, the shoe was heavily marketed. Perhaps the execs at Nike figured they needed to convince the public that a shoe that was not a Jordan and did not feature “Big Air” could still do well.
While not an official signature shoe, the Flightposite is often associated with Kevin Garnett as Nike chose him to wear the shoe in the original ads. He was also the first player to wear them in an NBA game. On May 11, 1999, during game 2 of round 1 of the 1999 playoffs against the Spurs, Garnett’s black Flightposite “The Future” Player Exclusive (PE) would be the first pair of Flightposites to make an appearance on an NBA court.
He would only wear that colorway for one game, but that was all it took as his 23 points in an upset victory over the Spurs would help cement the Flightposite in sneakerhead lore. KG would lace up the white PE colorway for game 3 on May 13. On May 15, Penny Hardaway became the second NBA player to wear the Flightposite in an NBA game, lacing up his black/royal PE pair. He would go on to score 17 points in a season ending loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Kevin Garnett would go on to wear a white Flightposite PE for two more games before his Timberwolves were eliminated from the playoffs. The following season, the Flightposite would be one of the most well represented sneakers in both the NBA and NCAA with players like Allan Houston, Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd and the aforementioned Hardaway receiving their own PE colorways of the shoe.
Despite being ahead of its time aesthetically and performance wise, only four original colorways have been retroed in near OG form: 1) metallic-gold/black/silver (pictured); 2) black/silver; 3) eggplant/black and 4) silver/black. Since 2014, the Flightposite has undergone a transformation, re-emerging as the Flightposite 2014, with an altered shape and outsole. All subsequent releases on the Flightposite have been in the 2014 form, making the OG Flightposite even more sought after.
In an era where bigger was better, and consumers craved excess, the Flightposite made its mark in history by stripping away the bells and whistles and giving us an outstanding sneaker with only the bare essentials. And if that isn’t revolutionary, I don’t know what is!
As the third rendition of the Foamposite family, the Flightposite was not only lighter than its predecessors, the Foamposite One (17.8 ounces) and Pro (17.1 ounces) and the Total Air Foamposite Max (20.1 ounces), but also more comfortable.
From a performance standpoint, the Flightposite was superb, featuring a Dynamic-Fit neoprene inner sleeve, a polyurethane encased Phylon midsole and Zoom Air cushioning. The solid rubber outsole was equipped with optimal motion flex grooves to provide outstanding on-court traction.
The Flightposite was the cheapest member of the Foamposite line at that time, retailing at $159.99 (about $246 in 2020 dollars). By contrast, the 2008 retros retailed at $180 (about $214 in 2020 dollars). The 2014 versions, which altered the medial outsole and overall shape of the shoe, retailed at $210 (about $227 in 2020 dollars).