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Best Basketball Shoes of 2013
What gets your vote? Converse's authentic Chuck Taylor All Stars was the first brand of basketball shoe to dominate the game. Coming to prominence in the 1930s, Converse's classic high-top designed to support the ankles for jumping high set the standard for other reputable manufacturers. Companies copied or competed with the best-selling brand, coming up with new trends and technology, but the original high-tops remained on top. In the 1970s Nike dunked their name in the basketball industry with their new Blazer, the shoe with the "swoosh", as did Puma with their signature low-top shoes. In the mid-to-late 70s Converse shot back with their new Weapons worn by Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. The 1980s saw some new Nike technology with the introduction of the Air Force 1 and its legendary "air sole" with its classic leather design. In the mid-1980s and the early 1990s rookie Michael Jordan gave different brands a name in the basketball industry, starting with his "too colorful" signature warm-ups that wound up banned from the court. What followed was Adidas' Ewings, which broke away from the giant manufacturer to stand on its own two feet, simply calling itself "The Ewings". Jordan began to put his own name on basketball shoes, the Air Jordan series. The next decade launched the Original Pump creating a rival between top-selling manufactures competing for best-selling models. But Air Jordan kept its position at the top while other manufactures experimented with all sorts of trendy bells and whistles designs and innovative technologies, but the bottom line remained under Jordan's feet. What some critics call "the Golden Era" of basketball (1994-98) turned out to be a time of experiment with alternatives from what the world had grown accustomed to. During this time, it was 'everything goes'. New high tech designs using newer materials gave just about every manufacturer a chance to shine. With the dawn of a new century of basketball, the name of the game was "retro". Shy of any new superstars setting new standards, manufacturers reverted to classic models. Labels experienced a lull, and the Air Jordan series was back. As were other manufactures. The biggest innovation of the new era may well have been the Shox BB4 made popular by star Vince Carter's seven-foot jump during the 2000 Olympics. That launched a new revival among rival manufacturers for newer, better technologies. Converse stays in the shoe game but is now owned by Nike. Just where basketball shoes will run with the superstars next, remains to be seen. -Epic Sports Basketball
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