When Nike’s Air Swoopes dropped in 1995, Sheryl Swoopes became the first woman to get a signature Nike basketball shoe and the second athlete behind Michael Jordan to have an eponymous model. In the late ’90s, Swoopes and Nike also lead the charge in women’s sports advocacy. Through TV spots and print ads, Swoopes encouraged young girls to be proud of their strength and athleticism.
Even now, the iconic athlete gets emotional thinking back to what the Swoopes II meant to a nascent women’s sports movement. “It feels surreal to know that I had my own shoe,” says Swoopes. “I look at where the game is today, and how far we as female athletes, as women, have come — and how much work we still have to do just to be appreciated. I feel like now is such an important time for women and female athletes everywhere.” Today, as ’90s pop and basketball culture make a comeback, Nike will pay homage to the era with a new series of retro female footwear, and the Swoopes II will be the first silhouette rereleased. With it, new generations of women can connect to the sport through Sheryl Swoopes’ incredible story. Coming soon to a store near you.