Nike footwear designer Eric Avar has sat down with Nice Kicks ahead of the Oregon brand’s re-release of the Zoom Flight 95 to discuss the story behind the famous silhouette. Designed to aid the explosive speed of Jason Kidd, the footwear would go on to achieve iconic status among basketball fans and sneakerheads alike. The 1990s classic was worn by Nike Basketball’s most revered players in its golden era. Moreover, the sneaker was pivotal to Kidd’s early tenure. Its veering midsole, Zoom Air cushioning, geometric shapes, and exaggerated molds provided support and a modern look which complemented Kidd’s dynamic on-court abilities. Check out a snippet of the piece from Nice Kicks where Avar goes in-depth on the design process behind the sneaker and read the full interview here.
As designer Eric Avar explains it, it was a shoe that came to be after exploring geometric shapes and motion, and looking to build something with speed and power in mind for the then-Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd.
“Design is a balance between science and art,” Avar outlines. “For me personally, it always begins with looking at the science side of things and the performance side of things and ultimately find out what problem you’re trying to solve. In this case, we did have Jason Kidd, or a player like Jason Kidd in mind.”
The “science and art” premise has been a design principle that Avar has leaned on for over two decades at Nike, and it’s shaped his legendary work with athletes like Kobe Bryant. The Zoom Flight 95 can be looked at as one of the very best representations of that vision.
“Jason Kidd was essentially almost a running back’s physique in a lot of ways, but incredibly fast and very powerful,” Avar recalls. “We did want to design a shoe that could in a sense somewhat control a player like Jason Kidd with all his speed and power. He’s very explosive in that way.”
After winning Co-Rookie of the Year honors with a stellar 1994 debut season in the league, JKidd was entering a sophomore year in which he’d go on to average a ridiculously versatile 16 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists per game. The Zoom Flight ’95 was there all year long for the frantic transition game he played.
“We wanted to create a bucket that his foot would drop into to really provide the necessary support for lateral maneuvers and the forces a player like Jason would generate,” says Avar. “So, we wrapped up the midsole rather high in both the heel and in the forefoot, the two primary areas that we really needed to reinforce.”