What were the first basketball shoes?

first basketball shoes

The first basketball shoe was created in 1891 by Charles Goodyear. The shoes were made of rubber and had a canvas upper. Goodyear designed the shoes to be worn by athletes playing on outdoor courts.

The first basketball shoe was not mass-produced until 1917. In that year, Converse released the “All-Star” shoe. The All-Star was made of leather and had a high-top design. The shoe quickly became popular with basketball players and remained in production for nearly 50 years.

Today, many different brands and styles of basketball shoes are available on the market. Players can choose from low-top, mid-top, or high-top shoes and shoes with varying levels of support and cushioning.

Year-By-Year Evolution Of Nba Sneakers:

Evolution Nba Sneakers
Year-By-Year Evolution Of Nba Sneakers

The evolution of NBA sneakers can be traced back to the league’s early days. In the early years, players wore simple canvas shoes with rubber soles. These shoes provided little support or protection for the player’s feet. Over time, manufacturers began to experiment with different materials and designs, and basketball shoes became increasingly specialized.

Today, basketball shoes are made from a variety of materials and feature a host of innovative technologies designed to improve performance on the court. The following is a brief overview of the evolution of NBA sneakers from the early days of the league to today.

1917: Chuck Taylor All-Star:

Chuck Taylor All-Star
1917: Chuck Taylor All-Star

In 1917, the Converse company released its first-ever pair of basketball shoes. The shoes were designed by Charles “Chuck” Taylor, a professional basketball player, and they quickly became popular among other players. The shoes were made with a canvas upper and a rubber sole and featured an ankle patch. The design of the shoes has remained largely unchanged in the 100 years since they were first released.

1972: Nike Bruin:

Nike Bruin
1972: Nike Bruin

In 1972, Nike released the Bruin, its first basketball shoe. The shoe was made of leather and had a rubber sole. It was available in two colors: black and white. The Nike Bruin quickly became popular among NBA players, who began wearing it on the court.

Over the next few years, Nike released several new models of basketball shoes, including the Blazer, the Pro-Model, and the Air Jordan. Each new model featured innovative design elements and technologies that improved the previous one.

Nike continues to be a leader in the basketball shoe market, with its latest models incorporating cutting-edge materials and construction methods. With each new release, Nike sets the standard for what a basketball shoe should be.

1973: Puma Clyde:

Puma Clyde
1973: Puma Clyde

In 1973, Puma released the Clyde, named after New York Knicks player Walt “Clyde” Frazier. The Clyde was a game-changer in the world of basketball shoes. It was sleek and stylish, and most importantly, it performed well on the court. Players quickly gravitated toward the shoe, and it became a staple in the league for years to come.

While Clyde was initially released in 1973, it wasn’t until the late 1970s that it became popular. That’s when players like Julius Erving and George Gervin started wearing them regularly.

1976: Dr. J’S Pro Leather:

Dr. J'S Pro Leather

In 1976, Converse released the Pro Leather, a high-top sneaker designed for use on hardwood. The shoe was made famous by Julius Erving, who wore them while leading the Philadelphia 76ers to an NBA Championship. The Pro Leather would become one of the most popular basketball shoes of the 1970s and 1980s .

Converse continued to dominate the basketball shoe market throughout the early 1990s, but by the mid-1990s, Nike had emerged as a serious competitor. Nike’s Air Jordan line of shoes, which was first released in 1985, quickly became one of the most popular sneakers in the world. In 1996, Nike signed Michael Jordan to a $30 million endorsement deal, solidifying its place as a major player in the basketball shoe market.

1978: Nike Blazer:

In 1978, Nike released the Blazer. The Blazer featured a leather upper with a rubber sole. It was available in both high-top and low-top versions. The shoe was designed for players who wanted good traction and support without sacrificing style.

The Blazer quickly became popular among NBA players, including All-Stars like Julius Erving and George Gervin. Nike continued to release new colorways and models of the Blazer throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Today, the Blazer is considered a classic sneaker, and its retro versions are highly sought after by collectors.

1982: Air Force 1:

When the Nike Air Force 1 dropped in 1982, it changed the game on and off the court. The style was an instant classic and has been in production ever since.

Over the years, Nike has released countless variations of the Air Force 1, from low-top to high-top, and in a wide range of colors and materials. The one constant is that the Air Force 1 remains one of the most popular sneakers on the planet.

1985: Air Jordan I:

In 1985, Nike released the Air Jordan I, becoming one of the most popular sneakers. The Air Jordan I was designed by Peter Moore and inspired by Michael Jordan himself. The shoe was available in both a high-top and low-top version and featured a unique colorway that set it apart from other sneakers on the market. The Air Jordan I quickly became a hit with basketball players and sneakerheads and remained one of the most iconic sneakers ever.

1988: Air Jordan Iii:

In 1988, Michael Jordan debuted the Air Jordan III, designed by Tinker Hatfield. The AJIII was the first Air Jordan to feature the “Jumpman” logo on the tongue, and it is also considered one of the most iconic sneakers of all time. The AJIII was released in four colorways: white/cement, black/cement, fire red, and true blue.

The Air Jordan III was a game-changer for both Nike and Jordan Brand. It was the first Air Jordan to feature visible air ( Huarache technology), and it set the stage for future signature sneakers from MJ. The AJIII is also considered one of the most stylish sneakers ever made, thanks to its clean design and unique colorways.

1989: Ewings 33 Hi:

By the time the 1990s rolled around, sneaker culture was in full swing, and players were wearing some of the most iconic shoes ever made. One of those shoes was Patrick Ewing’s 33 Hi, which he wore during his rookie season with the New York Knicks. The 33 Hi quickly became a fan favorite, thanks to its high-top design and bold colorways.

In subsequent years, Ewing would release several other signature shoes with Adidas, but none would have quite the same impact as his first shoe.


The first basketball shoes were created in 1891 by Charles Goodyear. They were made of rubber and were designed to protect the player’s feet from injuries. The shoes quickly gained popularity; by the early 1900s, most players wore them. Today, basketball shoes are an essential part of the game, and they continue to evolve to meet the needs of players.