When Hill decided to sign with Fila, his seven-year $80 million contract was second only to Jordan’s deal with Nike and ahead of Allen Iverson’s deal with Reebok. Featuring an all-white leather upper and black rubber outsole, signature eyelet-webbing system parallel to the tongue and around the back collar, the design certainly set it apart from the rest.Part of the challenge with providing a shoe for someone like Shaq is that almost everything appeared clunky on his size 22 feet. However, his fifth signature shoe with Reebok felt a lot different than his previous efforts. The single-colorway shoe itself was designed by Jonathan Morris – who also designed the Kamikaze II and Michael Chang’s Court Victory II.
In speaking with Sole Collector about the signature patten on the shoe, Morris said, “typically, I try and understand the needs of the manufacturer and I’m not trying to make it difficult for them, but at the same time, that’s what made the shoe so strong. I just said, “If we lose that, then we lose the shoe.”When Tinker Hatfield started designing the Air Jordan 11, MJ himself was retired and Nike was contemplating ending his signature line because they didn’t think anyone would buy new shoes for a player who no longer laced them up. As Hatfield remembers, “It was innovative because of the carbon fiber, which came from football cleats – both soccer and American football cleats. The patent leather was actually Michael’s idea.
He didn’t really know about patent leather necessarily, but he had said he wanted a shoe that was shiny. He actually wanted a shoe that shiny for about three years before that, and I could not figure out the right kind of material and how to use it.”While many will think of the white/black colorway, the black/red pair evokes memories of the NBA Playoffs as the Chicago Bulls were only allowed to wear dark-colored shoes during the postseason.Earning a nickname “The Glove” because of his tenacious, on-ball defense, Gary Payton’s shoe with Nike featured a synthetic, zippered stretch shroud and “Monkey Paw” technology around the ankle to make it tight and snug – just like your fingers going into a glove.