The Nike Sportswear company is always pushing the boundaries. This commitment to innovation has taken place for decades, and now the company is at a point where it is able to pull from its own archives or innovate upon the previous greatness. The Swoosh continues to do both, introducing new models based on the old, like the upcoming Nike Air Max 2090, and also re-releasing models like the Air Jordan 5 ‘Fire Red’, which will hit its 30-year anniversary in 2020.
Another model that hit its 30-year anniversary in 2020 is the brand-defining Nike Air Tech Challenge 2 model. A mid-top silhouette donned by tennis’s bad-boy, Andre Agassi, it would cement the Swoosh’s role as a purveyor of aesthetically jarring but still highly-functional footwear and apparel. The brand was not afraid to introduce a totally new look and feel to a sport that had not seen an update to styling in years. This year, the NikeCourt Tech Challenge is introduced, finally updating the Nike Air Tech Challenge 2 by blending original elements with contemporary tooling to fit today’s athlete.
The reimagined NikeCourt Tech Challenge features many of facets of its predecessor. A similar midsole design serves as the base, along with familiar black edging and the iconic splattered ‘Hot Lava’ coloring. From there, many details of the original can be seen in upgraded forms. The exposed Nike Air bubble is used, but with rubber covering to protect the medial side of the shoe through sliding motions. An updated herringbone traction piece emerges from the midsole to cradle the forefoot. An augmented collar gives the user extra ankle protection while losing some bulk, and FlyKnit fastening updates the lockdown in the heel of the shoe. Finally, the classic “Nike Air” logo appears on the heel of the shoe, a final ode to the original.
The Nike Air Tech Challenge II defined Nike’s aggressive attitude in the ’90s, and was a perfect model for tennis’s bad boy, Andre Agassi. While Nike unfortunately does not currently sponsor any players of his style or playing level, the brand’s commitment to continue to innovate while retaining iconic pieces of history is seen in this revival.
The NikeCourt Tech Challenge is set to release on February 26th exclusively to Nike Members, while a wider drop is confirmed for February 29th.