We spent 5.8 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what sneaker fanatics think:

11 reasons to buy

  • Many reviewers find the leather material smooth, durable and provide solid support to the feet.
  • The NikeCourt Air Oscillate was a little stiff but it was extremely comfortable after a few days of break-in.
  • Most reviewers were surprised at how breathable the shoes are because of the mesh material in the tongue that allows air to circulate.
  • A few reviewers like the rubber lining on the sole and upper of the Nike Air Oscillate as it prevents creases and reduces wear due to toe drag.
  • Most find the grip of the sole outstanding with its modified herringbone pattern.
  • Blend of neoprene and leather materials with the tumbled leather makes these shoes extremely light, according to some users.
  • A good number of observers noted the bouncier feel and great impact absorption capabilities of the cored out midsole and lightweight air cushioning.
  • Tennis fans love wearing the sneakers that Pete Sampras endorsed and worn in most of his winning games for nostalgic reasons.
  • A number of reviewers online noted that the one-piece leather upper of the Nike Air Oscillate offers reliable comfort.
  • Some tennis players appreciate the full rubber tip as it effectively helps protect their toes from injury.
  • Some wear-testers find the shoe durable as the sole doesn’t wear out easily.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Some commenters claimed the quality of the cleat socks and lining were so thin that it hurt the foot.
  • NikeCourt Air Oscillate tennis shoe fans from the late 1990s were disappointed at how poorly made the modern shoe releases were compared to the original models.
  • Several critics love the midsole to the outsole of this iconic tennis hoe but are still unimpressed at the style and design of the upper which for them lacks the spunk and stylish outlays designer Tinker Hatfield is known for.
  • A number of reviewers find the toe box awkward looking outside and feels too roomy on the inside.

Bottom line

The NikeCourt Air Oscillate might not be the most good-looking tennis shoe for the younger sneakerheads but it has taken a huge following from the older ones who want reliable, comfortable and practical shoes. In this aspect, the so-called ‘Dad Sneakers’ trend to do what it promises.

From the simple yet clean looking leather upper, the comfortable and well-cushioned midsole, and to the superior grip and traction of its herringbone patterned sole, the Nike Air Oscillate is one shoe that definitely commands respect.


The Nike Air Oscillate has a great fitting that runs true to size. The shoe comes with a flat shoelacing, soft cushioning around the collar and a heel back pull tab for easy entry and exit. The shoe comes in medium width in sizes for men ranging from US size 6 to 13.

In terms of style, the all-white leather upper with flat lacing and simple White-Blue-Black colorway has caught not much of the fashionista crowd but the older generation who wants a versatile shoe that leans more on the practical side than it looks. Considered by some as a ‘Dad Sneakers,’  the Nike Air Oscillate does not disappoint its loyal fanbase who only want comfortable cushioning and superior traction that this late 1990s tennis shoe sneaker has been offering all these years.

While the shoes had a few makeovers in the past years, the original colorway remains to be the most popular. Other modern takes and colorways of the silhouette include the Nike Air Oscillate “Jumpsmash,” “Safari,” and “USA” and the modernized   Nike Air Zoom Oscillate and the Quickstrike version.

When Tinker Hatfield designed the NikeCourt Air Oscillate, he only had the best features in mind for tennis athletes. The design’s most notable features include a one-piece leather upper with a neoprene cleatie for a solid stride, a cored-out midsole and molded panel for a lightweight glide with added durability, and lastly, a Zoom Air unit for a reliable underfoot cushioning.

To further make them an impressive tennis shoe, the design also featured a modified sole with herringbone pattern for a flexible grip and traction on various tennis courts whether they are clay courts, hard courts, grass courts, and even carpeted courts.

Veteran shoe designer Tinker Hatfield designed the unassuming NikeCourt Air Oscillate specifically for American tennis star Pete Sampras in 1996 and formally released the shoe in 1997.

But making Sampras wear the iconic tennis shoe was another story. Nike, particularly Hatfield, had a hard time convincing Sampras, who has been wearing the same Nike shoes for years, to wear his new creation. It took Hatfield a game of pick-up basketball for the tennis star to try on the shoes for the first time. Sampras felt the comfort of the Zoom Air cushioning when he was eventually told by the Nike designer that the shoes were really designed and built for his plays on the tennis court.

From then on, starting 1997, Pete Sampras has worn the Nike Air Oscillate starting with the Australian Open where he won and other competitions for the next seven years. While Hatfield designed the shoe for the 14-time Grand Slam titleholder, he was not able to gain athlete input until Sampras actually wore the shoe. Instead, to create the perfect tennis shoe, the veteran Nike shoe designer worked with various tennis athletes on different competitive levels to create the perfect shoe for the American tennis champ.

Further expressing their appreciation for Sampras for his years of loyalty to the brand, Nike has also customized a 10.25 size only for the tennis star. Aside from the Nike Air Oscillate, Nike also gifted Pete a special Jordan Oscillate PE for his 26th birthday which the star wore in the 1997 US Open. Further moving forward with the Nike and Sampras collaboration, the company also brought to fore the Nike Air Oscillate Lux to celebrate the tennis star’s 14 Grand Slam tennis titles.  Other models of the iconic tennis shoe came out later on with the Nike Air Oscillate II in 1999 and the Nike Air Oscillate III in 2001 with a slightly re-tooled look.

More than 20 years since it was released, Nike brought back the original design of the Nike Air Oscillate in 2015 with tennis fans still having the nostalgic vibe in wearing the legendary tennis shoe with its White-Blue-Black colorway.

  • Among celebrities spotted wearing the Nike Air Oscillate include American Soccerer Victor Cruz.
  • Other designs that have taken the Nike Air Oscillate as their inspiration include the recent collaboration between tennis star Roger Federer and Nike with the Oscillate Evolve RF and the NikeCourt Oscillate Roger Federer.
Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sneakerhead turned sneaker industry expert that believes a good outfit begins from the feet up. His aunt currently isn't speaking to him for wearing a pair of kicks at his cousin's wedding. He spends most of his time trying to keep on top of the latest releases, hitting up his contacts and doing what needs to be done to secure his next pickup. Danny has been featured in prestigious publications such as The Washington Post, The Irish Times, Footwear News and the like.