Nike Air Pippen History
Scottie Pippen was an NBA champion who was best known for playing with the Chicago Bulls and helping the team win six titles. He was considered as one of the best forwards of all time, having been named to the All NBA First Team three times and to the All-Defensive First Team for a consecutive eight times.
Nike signed Pippen up to be one of its endorsers. They first gave him the Air More Uptempo sneaker which featured a side graphic, “Air,” and was the first to incorporate Air units that spanned the length of the forefoot to the heels. The model was perfect for the forward, but the new 1996 season also revealed that Scottie would soon need new shoes. The games were getting faster and shoes that would provide more mobility were in order.
Nike’s Pippen Air Kicks
The brand needed to make basketball sneakers that were lightweight, provided an excellently secure fit, and gave outstanding cushioning. By October of 1997, before the start of the new season, the brand launched the first of six models in Pippen’s signature line—the Nike Air Pippen 1.
The Nike Air Pippen 1s had a mid-cut profile, Pippen’s nickname “Pip” on the tongues and at the back, and a wave design on the side panels which was said to look like Pippen’s jersey number—33. The silhouette became a hit with most people except for Scottie who had a pair made with a visible Zoom unit rather than the marketed version which had a full Air Max unit.
After over a decade, the Air Pippen 1s made a comeback in 2008 in vintage and new colorways. Fast-forward four years later, the silhouette made another return, this time as part of a Draft Lottery Pack. The wave detail was made up of yellow to green gradients on white uppers as an homage to Pippen’s entry to the world of the NBA after being drafted 5th by the Seattle Supersonics.
The Air Pippen 1 was issued a few more times with the latest one released just this January 26, 2018, in a “Wheat” colorway. This new iteration had gum rubber outsoles, off-white midsoles, and brown interiors and exteriors.
The Air Pippen Line
The Air Pippen line was composed of six shoes. After the first was released, a 1998 follow-up came out. The Air Pippen 2 was an improvement over the first and contained a more streamlined profile. The third Nike Scottie Pippen Airs were quite different as the shoes had lower ankle collars yet, ironically, more ankle protection.
The Air Pippen 4s were released in 2001 and were the lightest of all the sneakers in the line. The Air Pippen 5s, which were launched the year after, went the opposite way and were slightly heavy. These featured customizable booties that you could mix and match to form various combinations. The sixth and last, Air Pippen 6s, made their debut in 2015.