The Nike Zoom Rookie is Back From 2011 in ‘Matte Black’

As YouTuber MKBHD is known for saying, “Matte black all the things.” However, I don’t know if he had the Nike Zoom Rookie in mind.

Back from 2011-12 — an era that saw several Zoom Rookie builds drop including the ‘Dynamic Blue’, ‘Glow in the Dark’, and the coveted ‘Galaxy’ (which may return in 2019 if leakers are to be believed) — the Zoom Rookie was a bulky basketball shoe from a different time.

Designed by Marc Dolce and Zach Hull for Nike Basketball, the shoe was inspired by Penny Hardaway’s Air Foamposite One and the Air Flight One. It was heavy, supportive, and durable thanks to its Foamposite panels, carbon fiber shank plate, and synthetic build.

Dubbed “most disappointing” shoe of 2011 by WearTesters captain Nightwing2303 back in 2012, you can learn more by checking out his Zoom Rookie Performance Review. When it first released the shoe featured a small rectangular Zoom Air unit at the heel for cushioning (there was nothing except foam up front), but there is no word on what cushioning the new 2018 retro will use.

Now, the Nike Zoom Rookie is back at retail for $210. Available in a blacked-out ‘Matte Black’ colorway, the shoe is stocked in sizes 8-13 at KixSquare.

Is the Zoom Rookie one of your favorite early-2010s Nike Basketball models? Let us know in the comments below. What would you like to see done to this shoe in 2018?

nike zoom rookie 2018

nike zoom rookie matte black release date

nike zoom rookie matte black 2018

nike zoom rookie matte black


Images courtesy of KixSquare


  1. loved the look of these and the Alpha Project shoes, I didn’t know the cushioning was ass on these :< for $210 these are a no way

  2. I hope the Zoom bag is bigger this time. They do look good, but I want to see what else is out before I consider purchasing this colorway.

      1. It is a great shoe with pants, isn’t it? This does feel like a prelude to the return of either the Galaxy colorway the Big Bang follow-up we got this year with Foamposites.

  3. So Penny Hardaway never wore these during his playing career? I thought these released during his time and not recently like 2011..

        1. I’m from Brooklyn, and I’ve watched dudes ball in Tims, and that makes more sense than playing in Zoom Rookies. Damn near the same amount of cushioning and comfort.

  4. I love the design and was buying them like crazy when they first came out, but damn, they’re uncomfortable. Not only that, but it’s heel only Zoom that’s the size of your thumb. I expect Nike to continue to make the upper feel like plastic instead of the old Foamposite material.

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