Weapon of choice.
Welcome to today’s Nice Kicks’ Throwback Thursday which takes us back to the mid-2000s Nike era and the kicksology of one of the game’s all-time greatest players: Kobe Bryant, and his Nike Air Huarache 2k5.
In the early 90s, Nike developed the Huarache technology whose purpose and function served to literally hug and wrap around your foot, producing a tight, custom, comfortable feel on court, using lighter materials and superb cushioning. The 1992 Nike Huarache was the early face of the Huarache basketball collection, and later served as a predecessor for things to come as basketball sneaker technology, design, and materials continued to evolve into the new millennium.
In the mid-2000s, a new generation of Nike basketball footwear was created with the guiding principle of form follows function, where the sneaker’s primary focus was on performance, not aesthetic. Enter the Nike Huarache 2K4, the perfect weapon and sneaker of choice of Kobe Bryant. The Nike Huarache 2K4 stayed true to its Huarache roots yet remained modern and contemporary, a minimalist version to the original early 90s silhouette using lighter materials and construction, Zoom Air cushioning, incorporating design cues from shark teeth on its outsole tread pattern.
The following year, Nike upped the ante and introduced the Huarache 2K5, one of the most forward-thinking and avant-garde basketball models to ever debut. Designed by Eric Avar and inspired by over three decades of research, design, and technology, the Huarache 2K5 integrated the elements of comfort, stability, support, and traction of its predecessors. A truly pioneering model, the 2K5 was the first basketball sneaker which used Nike Free technology to increase mobility and flexibility of the foot.
The 2K5’s anatomy offered the very best of Nike basketball including heel and forefoot Zoom Air cushioning, phylon midsole, lateral outriggers, a carbon fiber stability plate, and a mid-ankle support strap for increased ankle support and stability. The sneaker’s design placed greater emphasis on performance rather than aesthetics, which in turn translated into a lightweight design weighing just 14.4 ounces.
The design and inspiration behind the 2K5 stemmed from Kobe’s self-view of a warrior or samurai. Much like a samurai’s trusted sword, Kobe used his pair of 2K5s to wreak havoc on his opponents during both the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 NBA seasons, whose myriad of player samples came in custom Lakers colorways complete with his #8 stitched across the strap.
Kobe’s best games while wearing the 2K5 came on December 28, 2004 in a win against the Toronto Raptors when he scored 48 points. A year later, on December 20, 2005, Kobe dropped 62 points on the Dallas Mavericks including 30 points in one quarter and single-handedly outscoring the entire Dallas team through the first three quarters of play, one of five games that season where he scored above the 50-point mark.
A special city street maps series also was created which featured a map of select cities lasered across the upper. In 2005, Niketown Boston teamed up with Sole Collector Magazine and debuted the 2K5 in two limited edition colorways limited to 150 pairs including a Boston Celtics white/green version, and a bright, multicolored “Cowboy” colorway created by Alex Wang aka “Retrokid,” which sold out immediately to much hype and fanfare. The predecessor to Nike’s “What The” series, the Cowboy Huarache 2K5 was the loudest Nike basketball sneaker at the time and has become increasingly hard to find today, particularly in its original, deadstock condition.
Nearly a decade-and-a-half old, the Nike Huarache 2K5 remains one of the most culturally significant and innovative basketball models in the new millennium.
The Nike Huarache 2K5: minimal weight, maximum performance. Because less is more.