First Look: Nike Air Max Swee Thru (Amar’e Stoudemire PE – Away)
For basketball sneaker aficionados, Amar’e Stoudemire has been an enigma in his choices for the past two seasons. The perennial All-Star has forgone wearing player editions of new Nike models (most recently the Air Max Fly By) for the KD (Kevin Durant) II and Huarache Trainer the past two NBA seasons, leading to speculation of his departure from the company this summer. A footwear free agent, Amar’e made the choice to return to Nike, and subsequently, images of a supposed new signature model quickly surfaced. Although the shoe does not carry his name or signature logo, Amar’e will undoubtedly be the main superstar representing the shoe on the NBA hardwood. Our First Look lifts the strap off the Nike Air Max Sweep Thru to uncover all the features.
Taking a page from the Nike KD II, the Sweep Thru comes complete with a criss crossing midfoot strap. The features include the following:
- Nubuck upper with midfoot velcro strap enclosure
- Heel Max Air unit for impact support
- Phylon midsole
- Rubber outsole with herringbone pattern
- Amar’e Stoudemire New York Knicks limited edition color scheme
Aesthetics and Styling
Whether Stoudemire himself had input on the design of the shoe is debatable, but one thing is for certain – the shoe bears an unmistakable resemblance to the Nike Zoom KD II. From the shape to the midfoot strap and herringbone outsole pattern, the Sweep Thru can easily be labelled the KD II 2.0, from an aesthetic point of view. And like the KD II, the overall shape favors simplicity with a few technological features. For the initial release, Nike has fittingly chosen New York Knicks colors to launch the Sweep Thru.
Dominating this mid cut shoes is the crossing midfoot strap, done with a camouflage pattern for this special edition. The collar is cut to give some added range of motion on the backend and the clear Max Air unit is visible at the heel. For traction, a contoured rubber outsole is molded with a sharp teeth like herringbone pattern. The forefoot area, cut into sections, is done with four horizontal flex grooves running diagonally, with a pivot circle toward the medial side. Marked with the “MAX” logo on the toe cap, the outsole creeps up towards the toe box and extends to the forefoot on each side, where a small blue outrigger piece lies on the lateral. A Nike swoosh logo sits at the midfoot, where the traction pattern is simply made of fine diagonally slits. At the heel, a Y-shaped flex groove pattern separates the herringbone sections, which are colored in blue. For impact support, a thick Phylon midsole sits above the rubber sole. The midsole is molded with a rock like pattern section in the center, sandwiched between two smooth sections. Finally, the Max Air unit at the heel is done in a clear bubble, with blue innards.
Covering the upper is soft nubuck. Up front, the rounded toe box is marked with ventilation holes running from the throat line down. Each side is done with a stitched horizontal overlay strip, extending from the midsole. The medial strip is marked with perforation holes, while the large lateral strip contains the velcro material for the strap, serves a reinforcement for an eyelet, and extends to warp around the heel counter. Making up the main feature is the strap enclosure. Beginning on the forefoot lateral, this Treasure Blue and Team Orange camouflage 3M strap is stitched on, extending through the medial hoop, before the velcro patch is reached back on the lateral quarter panel. There are perforation holes punctured throughout the strap, which also has the “AIR MAX” branding in the center. Completing the sides are two Nike swoosh logos running from the heel. The medial logo is simply painted on, while the lateral logo is done in a shiny brushed synthetic, outlined with stitching.
At the heel, the lateral quarter panel forms a support barrier around the nubuck base. Perforation holes form the word “AIR” on the center, for a nice style touch. Moving up, the collar is cut to give room around the ankles, with the Achilles area running fairly low. The shoe is lined with a silky like synthetic material, with a matching the camo pattern from the strap. Padding is light, but stiff.
A simple lacing system is present on the Sweep Thru, which comes with standard flat laces. There are a total of six eyelets, some hidden by the midfoot strap and the final two placed on a brushed synthetic patch on the collar. A softly padded mesh tongue lies with a lace holder in the center and a nubuck patch at the top. This arrowhead shaped patch also has ventilation holes, and carries a orange printed “NIKE” logo on the front, while the back tab is marked with the “MAX” logo. The tongue is lined with a blue silky synthetic for added comfort. Capping off our First Look at the Sweep Thru is a thick and soft insole, done in blue with an orange Nike swoosh logo at the heel to complete the New York Knicks flavor.
A First Look
With Amar’e Stoudemire introducing the shoe himself at a New York retail outlet, as well as making public appearances on and off the court in the Sweep Thru, it is a safe bet that once the 2011-2012 NBA season begins, there will be no mystery to what fans will see on the feet of the 7 foot superstar (baring any surprises). The Sweep Thru may not be a true signature shoe, but with backing from Amar’e, for most, it can be treated as one. More importantly, Amar’e favored two high performing shoes the past two season, most notably the KD II. If the performance can come close to the KD II, then Nike may another winner on their hands. Next month, we will bring the Nike Sweep Thru to the court in our full Performance Review.
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