From the ground up
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Nike Sportswear presents “Inside Access: Evolving the Upper.” Shoe design fuses art with science, it’s a delicate balance of blending breakthrough form with proper function. Since 1972, Nike Basketball has been on a quest to create shoes that deliver cutting-edge innovation and bold design. By taking risks and providing athletes with footwear they never imagined, Nike has ushered in a fresh approach to designing shoes.

There are three fundamental elements of a basketball shoe: the upper, midsole and outsole. The “upper” of the shoe, the top portion above the sole, is critical to keeping an athlete secure, supported and comfortable. Spanning five decades, the transformation of the basketball shoe’s upper is dramatic. In 1972, the Blazer was a simple cut-and-sew leather design. Last year, Nike introduced the revolutionary Kobe 8 System, a completely new interpretation with Nike Engineered Mesh.

Take a look back at the transformative moments in the evolution of the upper in the gallery above.

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