Currently in its 26th year on the market, the Nike Air More Uptempo has transcended basketball since debuting in 1996. The Scottie Pippen-associated silhouette has captured casual consumers via compelling colorways, narratives and collaborations.
Recently, the Air Max-assisted shoe appeared in a kid’s-exclusive, “Sail”-covered ensemble. Panels right underneath the iconic “AIR” branding on the profiles replaced traditional arrangements in favor of a mesh-like construction clad in a pink and purple gradient. Although the sneaker’s color combination draws attention, what’s arguably most captivating are the details placed on top of the tongues and on the sock-liners: right insoles feature an undisclosed individual’s signature, while left sock-liners boast the Philippians 2:3-4 message (“…in humility count others more significant than yourselves”). Traditional Swoosh branding on the Air More Uptempo‘s tongues is replaced with a December 5th, 1983 date, the presumed birthday of the person whose signature is stamped onto the right shoe’s insole.
The brand is like to disclose the muse at some point, but for now, no information has been shared by the company. UPDATE: Nike disclosed the muse: Wilson Smith III, the first black footwear designer. You can read more about their inspiration below:
Be the star of your own sci-fi. This re-imagining of the Air More Uptempo ’96 celebrates Wilson Smith III — the first Black designer in the footwear industry — and his love of space-age TV. Stepping into the otherworldly sunset of a futuristic city, the gradient upper carries you to the far reaches of time, while the oversized graffiti-styled graphics bring a starlit shimmer with their reflective design accents. Ready for lift-off? The tongue label insignia (repping Smith’s initials and start date at Nike) is your ticket to launch.
And speaking of launch: Smith’s career has been a highlight reel of lifting others up. Defined by his passion around coaching, teaching and giving back, his trailblazing efforts are captured by the quote on the insole: “…in humility count others more significant than yourselves”. From designing and developing products for some of Nike’s greatest athletes to leading the way for Black designers, Smith has paved the way with his larger-than-life personality and positivity. Recalling one of his early Uptempo prototypes (check out the mesh upper), this shoe honours his journey and bold style.
So open the shoe box (decorated with one of Smith’s original space drawings) and transport yourself into another world — where everything feels a little more Uptempo. Thank you, Wilson!
Color: Sail/Black/Light Thistle/Pink Foam
Where to buy
Find the product on the websites listed below.