2. Nike Zoom Kobe 4 “Carpe Diem”
Now this was the toughest decision out of the whole list. Difficult. This sneaker unifies all three categories, historical significance, impact on the industry, and impact on the consumer. The Nike Zoom Kobe 4 changed the game forever as the word low-top was now permanent to the world of basketball.
Why the Carpe Diem though? It was the first colorway to drop for the Kobe 4 series. Representing the purple and gold, this was the shoe in front of all sneaker magazines, sneaker blogs, and even ESPN. Kobe Bryant and Eric Avar went viral as the sneaker went low-top for the first time. Being inspired by how a soccer shoe was able to support the foot with multiple movements during play, Kobe challenged lead designer Eric Avar into making a low-top sneaker for basketball.
The key was to support the heel of the foot by making a sculpted heel counter to keep it stable and secure. Cutting the height of the sneaker cut weight significantly, but it wouldn’t matter if the support was sacrificed. So their solution? Nike Flywire. This was pretty much the Nike Hyperdunk’s younger brother or distant cousin. Each model delivered the first revolutionizing technologies, Lunarfoam and Flywire. Obviously these were early iterations of it, but it pushed performance like never before. To this day, there is no other sneaker that impacted the industry.
Who knew that Kobe Bryant was to win his fourth ring that year. The Carpe Diem Kobe 4 was the start of his journey back to the Finals and boy, it is a sneaker that will never be forgotten.