The History of the Nike Hyperdunk Series

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Since debuting in 2008, the Nike Hyperdunk franchise has remained among the top performers in basketball. Over the years, the designs have differed in the series, as have the cushioning technology and endorsers associated with the model. As the Hyperdunk 2013 sees its official unveiling today, we take a look back at the tech and time that has gone into this famed Hyperdunk franchise.

Nike Hyperdunk

Year: 2008
Key Endorsers: Kobe Bryant, Olympic Athletes

In 2008, Nike Basketball might not have been hurting for innovation, but US Hoops was certainly hurting for a gold medal. While the Nike Hyperdunk would become more or less the official shoe for all Swoosh-sponsored countries, it will forever be tied to the 2008 American Men’s roster and their leader, Kobe Bryant.

The Black Mamba was in mid-stride of his own set of Swoosh sneakers in the summer of ’08, coming off the progressive Zoom Kobe III. After blazing the trail for the Huarache 2k4 and 2k5, Nike went back to the Kobester to cook up arguably the brand’s best viral marketing campaign ever. Jumping over a speeding Aston Martin, Kobe propelled the Hyperdunk to the most talked about shoe in gyms, on the internet and in the streets.

Attention and endorsement aside, the shoe also debuted Flywire technology and Lunar cushioning on the hardwood. Visually and physically, these attributes emphasized the lightweight movement that shifted the performance basketball category. Such innovation saw a resurgence in performance basketball interest and consumption, raising the bar for a non-signature shoe release and making ‘lightweight’ the catalyst for a hoops shoe. Hardcore hoopers still swear by this model, but would argue that durability was an issue due to first generation Lunar cushioning bottoming out over time.

Nike Hypermax

Year: 2009
Key Endorsers: Drew Gooden, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer

While the Nike Hyperdunk saw traction in Kicks On Court for the entire 2008-09 season, its buffed-up brethren the Hypermax made its debut in unannounced fashion on the feet of pro players. The shoe featured the same upper engineering as the Hyperdunk, updated with a sturdy sole that featured full-length Air Max cushioning. An ankle strap was also present on this post oriented model. Many of Nike’s Force camp members saw PE versions for play, but the bulkier model is probably most known for the ‘No Flywire’ releases that gained the casual crossover success lacked on the slender Hyperdunk.

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