Return of a Legend: AND 1 Tai Chi
Yeah, it’s PURE VINSANNITTTY!!
Vince Carter brought AND 1 out of the streets and into the NBA with his Y2K slam dunk title.
Jay Coen Gilbert, Seth Berger, and Tom Austin shocked the sneaker world in the late 90s with a spastic combination of color, kitsch, and quality.
The company’s most iconic lovechild is easily the Tai Chi. It made its name when Vince Carter stuffed the brand down the basketball world’s collective throats at the turn of the century.
Two decades later, the shoe is still holding strong. A mix of strong style and thoughtful craftsmanship keeps the Tai Chi relevant.
This legendary shoe has solid construction behind it. It is a shoe made for basketball and not merely for styling.
A perforated leather upper allows for your foot to breathe, keeping it cool during the court grind.
Quick bursts and propelling a player laterally are essential in sports like basketball or tennis. The footwear needs to offer strong support with stability as well as traction for control.
A thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) shank guarantees you such medial support. The herringbone rubber outsole will keep you in your shoes.
These will stay in place even after that quick turn as you break a defender’s knees and fly to the rim.
TPU provides high elasticity and is resistant to abrasion. Therefore, the outsole is non-marking. You can freely use these kicks on both indoor and outdoor courts.
Inside the shoe, we are greeted with a plush lining over a springy EVA compression-molded midsole. This protects your back, knees, and feet from hard landings.
Days of playing competitive basketball have long passed. Still, I do enjoy a good pick-up game now and then.
The Tai Chi has to be one of my favorite shoes for playing both basketball and tennis.
A little known fact is that basketball shoes and tennis shoes are nearly identical in function, likewise in construction. The two sports share functional movements and muscle kinematics.
If you like responsive footwear, you’ll find the Tai Chi much to your liking. On each step or jump, the shoe returns a solid bounce.
Despite its size and being a basketball shoe, the shoe is lightweight. Despite this, the shoe does a fantastic job of cushioning the impact.
I can play a few hours without feeling discomfort like my bones is having a fistfight.
AND1 is known for unique, trash-talking t-shirts featuring cheeky exclamations. The character making these exclamations is illustrated as a faceless, shirtless male dribbling a ball.
We see this AND 1 “mascot” on the back of the upper across the ankle area. The shoe comes in a vast variety of two-tone colorways. Most any taste palate should be satisfied.
First, let us be clear about something. Each athletic shoe is intended for a specific sport/activity. A basketball shoe was never made for a hike or a 10K run.
Would you go ice skating in cleats? Many athletic shoes wear away when used frequently in urban environments.
I realize that many people who are not professional athletes buy shoes for aesthetic reasons.
Regardless, the Tai Chi holds up well against the grit and grind of the urban jungle. It keeps you comfortable without falling apart after a few months.
Are you a basketball fan? Nostalgic sap? Style demon? Or someone who just wants a really great shoe with some original colorways and great comfort?
Whatever road you are searching from, the Tai Chi may be exactly what your shoe collection is missing. It is a strong, dependable shoe, made with thought and function in mind.