2019 marks 20 years since the great Barry Sanders retired from the NFL, so Nike is nodding to the Detroit Lions legend with a timely makeup of the Air Zoom Turf Jet ‘97. Packed full of tributes both overt and subtle, this potent piece of Nike Football history is set to debut on Thanksgiving Day, a nod to the Lions’ decade-long tradition of playing a home game in Detroit on the last Thursday of November.
With its wavy upper/midsole and nubbed outsole, the Air Zoom Turf Jet ‘97 is a quintessential piece of late ’90s Nike turf footwear. Dressed in a Lions-style white and navy colorway, packed with Zoom Air cushioning and featuring a bold plastic piece with Zoom Air branding on the medial midfoot, its shape demands attention before it even begins to dive into the special details.
Each midfoot strap features a different branded hit: the left foot features Sanders’ #20, and the right offers a traditionally-styled Lions text logo. If you look closely at the heels, you’ll notice that their oval-shaped badges also feature the running back’s signature. Intentionally or otherwise, the wavy ridges on the upper seem to nod to the way that Sanders threaded his way up the field through hapless defenders.
The Nike Air Zoom Turf Jet ‘97 “Barry Sanders” will release on Thanksgiving Day, November 28. It’s limited to 2,053 pairs — a nod to Sanders’ highest single-season rushing total — 250 of which will be made available at the Lions’ team shop. The rest will hit Nike.com at 12:30 p.m. ET, coinciding with the kickoff of the Lions’ game against the division rival Chicago Bears. The MSRP is set at $150 USD.
For more from Nike, check out a nostalgic varsity sweater that pays homage to its ’70s Pro Club.