Strap basketball shoes are not new in the industry. The first reported basketball shoe with straps is the Ewing 33 Hi released in 1989. Ewing Athletics was founded in 1988 by Patrick Ewing, his agent David Falk, and Roberto Muller of Phoenix Integrated. The brand sublicensed Next Sports for distribution. The business went well and great. It expanded to the point that the revenue of the company reached $40 million a year. But due to issues with distribution and the lawsuits that came after, the brand closed. Patrick Ewing went back to wearing Nike until he retired from basketball.
In 2012, the brand made its way back to the business with the release of the Ewing 33 Hi in August. Ewing made appearances in the shops to surprise buyers. In three years’ time, the company stabilized and now distributes its products in more than 30 countries.
Nike dominated the 90s when it comes to basketball shoes with strap. The shoe models of the Swoosh brand are considered stylish and functional, and releases such as the Nike Air Yeezy 1 and Nike Air Yeezy 2 made huge impact style-wise on sneaker wearers.
One of the most iconic basketball shoes with strap is the Nike Air Adjust Force. These were worn by college basketball players in the mid 90s. The shoe comes with a removable and adjustable strap that Nike calls the FitWrap. The FitWrap comes in different colors.
Another futuristic design is the Nike Mag. It was released in 2011 as a duplicate of the shoe in the movie Back to the Future Part II. With only 1510 pairs available, the shoe was sold through an auction. The proceeds were donated to fund the Parkinson's disease research of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. The iconic shoe was re-released in October 2016, still as part of fundraising efforts for the foundation. The 89 limited pairs of the Nike Mag were raffled to fans who bought $10 tickets.
Surprisingly, the Nike LeBron 14 was released in a Mag-like version, complete with the strap.These basketball shoes with straps come with a predominantly grey upper, white shoelaces, white ankle collar, a blue-speckled midsole, and an icy blue outsole.
Strap basketball shoes are designed not only for trends but also for function. Some of them are even created to address the needs of those who have difficulty with their hands such as people with Cerebral Palsy and those who had suffered from a stroke. In 2015, the Swoosh released the Air Precision Flyease. The shoe model comes with a strap on the midfoot and another one on the ankle. The ankle strap is connected to a zipper that starts from the lateral side, cuts through the heel, and lands on the other side. People with disabilities will not struggle getting their feet in and out of the shoe. The Nike Precision II Flyease is identical to its predecessor save for a few tweaks in the design such as the shape of the ankle collar and the shape of the strap.
The First Strap Basketball Shoes
Basketball shoes have evolved in terms of structure and the materials and technologies used on them. A lot, for sure, are curious to know how the use of straps started. Discussed below are possibly the first strap basketball shoes from each brand.
It is hard to spot the first Adidas basketball shoes with strap. The oldest found online is the Adidas T-Mac 4, which comes with a Y-shaped ankle strap to reinforce the shoe’s standard lacing system. In 2016, Tracy McGrady was seen wearing a Toronto PE colorway of the T-Mac 4. These Adidas strap basketball shoes have purple uppers with red and silver accents. The shoes also have solid rubber outsoles.
So far, the KT 3 is the only strap basketball shoes from Anta. Released in 2017, the third Klay Thompson shoe is a high-top with a removable ankle strap. Although it is reported to fail at providing enough support, the strap nevertheless gives an additional twist to the design of the KT 3.
The first Jordan basketball shoes with strap is the Air Jordan VIII. Released in 1993, the eighth Air Jordan features a leather cross-strap on top of its standard lace-up system. From the base of the shoe, it crosses over to the opposite side to provide a more secure lockdown and support to the foot.
Debuted in 1982, these Nike Air Force 1 was designed by Bruce Kilgore. These Nike strap basketball shoes were released as a high-top with a neutral white and grey palette. According to some analysts, the Air Force 1 is one of Nike’s top-selling models of all time. A video commercial for the shoe in 1982 features NBA stars Michael Cooper, Bobby Jones, Moses Malone, Calvin Natt, Mychal Thompson, and Jamaal Wilkes wearing the shoe. The strap is located at the ankle collar. It can be adjusted to obtain a comfortable fit.
Chinese brand Peak does not have a lot of reviews or reports about their shoes. The oldest model with a strap found online is the Peak Monster II of George Hill. The wide midfoot strap comes from the medial side and secures at the lateral side. A capitalized “MONSTER” callout is seen on the strap.
In 1995, Reebok expanded their signature shoe collection for Shaquille O'Neal. The Shaq Attaq IV’s tied shoelaces, the pumped neoprene, and the adjustable strap at the heel work together to achieve a secure and comfortable lockdown.
2018 Strap Basketball Shoes
Traditional basketball shoes rely on eyelets-and-laces setup for lockdown. In the recent years, straps are incorporated into the design. In fact, there are even basketball shoes now that solely depend on multiple straps to secure the foot. According to user reviews, dual straps secure the foot and support the ankle better.
In 2018, plenty of basketball shoes with strap are released, and most of them claim to provide great lockdown and support. Presented in the subsections below are some of the most celebrated releases from each brand.
The Three Stripes’ offer to those who love strap basketball shoes is the Adidas Explosive Bounce 2018. It features a midfoot strap that according to the brand’s website “offers extra stability as you shuffle from side to side and give opponents no room to breathe.” Though the release date is unknown, these Adidas strap basketball shoes retail at $100.
James Harden is undeniably one of the most fashionable basketball players in the NBA today. After the release of his Harden Vol. 2, he made a follow-up release of its casual version on May 28, 2018. The Harden Vol. 2 LS Buckle comes with the same Boost midsole as the original model. Instead of standard shoelaces, the signature shoe is secured by a non-stretchable and adjustable strap that is secured through the buckle at the lateral side.
In honor of the 2018 Black History Month, a special black/gold/white KT 3 was released. The signature shoe of Klay Thompson comes with a standard lacing system. To add more support, a removable and adjustable strap is strategically placed at the ankle.
As part of the Jordan brand's tradition of bringing back absolute classics, the Air Jordan 1 is revived in 2018 with a twist. They veered away from the traditional lacing system and replaced it with two enormous straps on the midfoot. The rest of the shoe remains the same such as the leather upper and the rubber outsole. These redesigned Js are available in black and white colorways.
The company also released a new signature shoe with a twist–the Jordan Legacy 312. This hybrid model is a combination of three famous signature shoes: the Air Jordan I, Air Jordan III and Nike Air Alpha Force Low. These three were worn by Michael Jordan in 1988. According to Nike’s website, “The Jordan Legacy 312 is loyal to Chicago, hometown of Jordan Brand and streetwear designer Don C.” This strap basketball shoes were released in August 11, 2018 and retails at $160. It is available in the white/black/volt colorway.
Chinese brand Li-ning and Portland Blazers CJ McCollum entered into a five-year shoe contract after Nike decided not to extend McCollum’s four-year stint with them. In July 2018, McCollum unveiled a limited edition Yu Shuai XII in a silver and white colorway. Designed by Snail Sun, the shoe is adorned with intricate floral patterns. The one-bootie silhouette is secured with a standard lace-up system. To prevent side-to-side movements, a Y-shaped strap is added.
The LeBron Soldier 12 was released on April 12, 2018 at $140. To keep the foot secure, the glove-like fit of these Nike strap basketball shoes is reinforced by criss-crossing stretchable Velcro straps. The straps start from the forefoot and cut across the midfoot. They are hooked at the sides before they cross again to the midfoot and finally fastened on the medial side.
Another Velcro strap basketball shoe from the Swoosh is the Nike KD Trey V VI. It is debuted in mid 2018, retailing at only $90. Its midfoot strap reinforces the lockdown provided by the tied shoelaces, bringing comfort and support to the foot.
Peak has released a few strap basketball shoes through George Hill’s signature series. The Monster IV features an ankle strap with a bold “PEAKMON3TER” callout. The strap starts from the medial side. It crosses the ankle and securely locks on the lateral side.
The Answer IV of Allen Iverson is not a new signature model. It just makes a great comeback in 2018. Reebok produced just 42 pairs exclusively for Team Loyalty and Team Honor of the Allen Iverson Roundball Classic. Instead of full leather, this version of the Reebok Answer IV uses a combination of leather and mesh. This makes the shoe lighter and more ventilated. For lockdown, the shoe has a lacing system beneath a zippered enclosure. The Velcro strap with an “IVERSON CLASSIC” callout serves as an accessory on top of the tongue.
It appears that Under Armour is still going to design more basketball shoes with straps. A strap basketball shoe is prominently displayed on their website, and it is the Under Armour Get B Zee. This mid-top shoe’s ankle strap starts from the medial side and crosses to the lateral side. This provides the ankle a comfortably secure hug.
How to Clean Strap Basketball Shoes
There are plenty of ways to clean basketball shoes. The internet is full of ideas, from deep core cleaning and washing to the simplest and quickest way of removing stains and dirt. The following are tips on how to take care of and protect strap basketball shoes from scuffs and scratches.
- Before trying some products, sneakerheads suggest rubbing off the dirt using a soft cloth that is dipped in warm water.
- Water repellent sprays are recommended by a lot of sneaker lovers. These products add a layer of coating around the shoe, protecting it from scratches and stains. Their usual top picks are the Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent, Nikwax TX.Direct Spray-On, Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield, and Granger’s Xtreme Repel. Most of these repellents come as aerosol sprays so they must be kept out of children’s reach. The sprays must be used in well-ventilated areas with no children around. Though claimed to be safe by the manufacturing company, these products may have a repulsive chemical smell. It is also suggested to test spray the product before using it on the entire shoe.
- White straps easily turn yellowish. In order to tone down the discoloration, put white toothpaste on the shoe’s surface and massage using your fingers. Let the toothpaste work its magic for a few minutes. The toothpaste must be creamy; avoid those that are gel-based and those with microbeads. The microbeads can scratch the surface material of your strap basketball shoes. One great product is the Arm & Hammer AdvanceWhite. This product contains baking soda, and it helps whiten the material and protecting it from stains. If a finger massage is not satisfying enough, use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Gently brush in circles on the stained area until the stain is removed. Remove the excess bubbles and toothpaste using a damp cloth.
- For those who do not like using strong chemicals, a non-hazardous mixture of household cleaning items is recommended. Mix together one part baking soda and one part toothpaste in two parts liquid detergent. You do not have to get the exact ratio, just make sure that the mixture has the right consistency: not too wet and not too dry. Apply the mixture on the soiled surface and brush gently until the stain is gone. Let the solution dry for a few minutes. Rinse the shoe as you gently brush away the dried mixture. Wipe dry with a soft cloth or towel.
- When travelling, magic erasers come in handy. There are a lot of magic erasers available on the market and the one with really good feedback is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It utilizes simple chemistry in order to perform its magic. The eraser is made of melamine foam, formaldehyde, and sodium bisulfite. The eraser can be used wet or dry.
- Fill a bowl with two cups warm water; and then mix in 1/4 cup of either dish soap, window cleaner, or shampoo. Fill another bowl with tap water. Dip a dish sponge or cloth in the cleaning solution and then gently rub the dipped material on the shoe. When the cloth gets dirty, rinse it in the second bowl. Clean one section at a time. Repeat the process until the entire shoe is clean. For the rubber parts of the shoe like the outsole, a soft toothbrush can be used.
In whichever way the shoes are washed, one important thing to remember is to wash the shoelaces separately. Liquid detergent and cold water must be used in machine washing or hand washing shoelaces.
The tips above are effective, but they do not prevent wear and tear, scuffs, or discoloration. It is important to use the right cleaning agent for each material to avoid possible permanent damage. Also, it is imperative to handle them with care. Do not use them on filthy streets or very crowded places where they can be stepped on. When not in use, place them in areas away from direct sunlight and heat. Like most sneakerheads, place the shoes in plastic containers instead of their original shoe boxes. Boxes can cause discoloration.
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