Scottie Pippen Shoes: A Complete Guide
Michael Jordan’s ability to overshadow even his fiercest competitors on the court transferred off the court as well. His name was like a Midas touch and no other signature line of shoes from that time period even came close to the popularity of the Jordan line. Barkleys, Pennys, Shaqs, and other were all great in their own way. But Jordan reigned supreme.
Sneakerheads are familiar with Scottie Pippen shoes. But casual fans might not realize that Scottie had his own signature line. And the fact is, Scottie Pippen’s shoes weren’t bad, or a flop with fans, or anything like that. It’s just hard to stand out when you’re playing next to the GOAT, even in the shoe game.
That being said, let’s show Pippen some love and remember the shoes used by one of the most overlooked players of all time.
Scottie Pippen and Avia
Scottie Pippen was drafted 5th in the 1987 NBA Draft out of the smaller University of Central Arkansas. When Pippen finally stepped on court in an NBA game, he did so in a pair of low top Avia 855.
Avia is an American shoe brand from Oregon that was actually a big player in the performance basketball shoe market in the 1980s. Avia had a solid roster of NBA talent including Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, John Stockton, and Pippen himself. Pippen would wear Avias from 1987 to 1991, as he molded himself into one of the most versatile players in the NBA and one of its toughest defenders.
In 1990, we saw Pippen strap on some Nike Air Flights, but he wouldn’t make the permanent switch to Nike until 1991.
Scottie Pippen and Nike
In 1991, Pippen switched over permanently to Nike. During the regular season, his go-to model was the Nike Air Flight Lite low in a white and red colorway. We have seen this particular model retro over the years as a lifestyle model, though they are still a playable shoe. They feature an air unit in the heel. They’re lightweight as well, although they don’t look it.
When the playoffs rolled around, Pippen switched to a black and white version of the same shoe. He rode the Air Flights all the way to the NBA Finals where the Bulls would take down the Magic Johnson-led LA Lakers.
During the 1992 season, Pippen would stick to the Nike Air Flight shoe line, this time going with the 2, which was a popular model in the NBA that season. Pippen wore three different colorways of the Air Flight Lite 2: a white and red version for the regular season, a black and white version for the playoffs, and a red, white, and blue version that he broke out as one of the members of the Dream Team during the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona, Spain.
Another standout model that Pippen sported during the 1992 season was the Nike Air Flight Huarache in the classic white/purple/royal/black colorway. Pippen slipped on this pair during the 1992 NBA All-Star game in Orlando, Florida. The game is famed as Magic Johnson’s farewell game after contracting HIV.
Nike Air Maestro and Nike Air Swift
The 1992-93 season was a weird one for Pippen’s shoe game. Pippen was supposed to wear the Nike Air Dynamic Flight, a Huarache-esque performance basketball model that was a follow up to the previous year’s Air Flight Huarache.
The Air Flight Huarache was a smash hit, thanks to Chris Webber and Michigan’s Fab Five. The Huaraches were originally a running shoe designed by Tinker Hatfield, that was retooled to become the basketball model known as the Air Flight Huarache.
Pippen must not have liked the changes from the Air Flight Huarache to the Nike Air Dynamic Flight, however, because he never wore them on court. Interestingly, he was the face of the shoe’s ad campaign and a Pippen PE was even released.
Pippen would instead lace up that year’s Nike Air Maestro for the regular season and playoffs. The Air Maestro must have been a model Pippen liked because it would become his go-to shoe for the next season as well.
1993-94 was Pippen’s best statistical season and sneaker fans got two of the most iconic models Pippen ever wore. This was also the year that Michael Jordan announced his first retirement and Pippen was at the helm of the Bulls team the whole year. It was a great year for Pippen fans.
The 1994 iteration of the Air Maestro, the Air Maestro 2, is surprisingly still a playable shoe to this day. If you are looking for a moderately cushioned shoe built with raw materials and packing serious traction, the Air Maestro 2 has you covered.
For the regular season, Pippen would wear the Air Maestro 2 in a basic Bulls colorway. But during the 1994 All Star Game, Pippen broke out a vibrant red and black pair that caught everyone’s eye and became an instant classic. Oh yeah! And Pippen was also named the All-Star MVP, no biggie.
During the playoffs, Pippen switched from the Maestro 2 to another classic Pippen shoe, a black, red, and white version of the Nike Air Swift. These are near and dear to Pippen’s heart because while wearing them he almost murdered Patrick Ewing with a thunderous dunk during the conference finals.
The Bulls 1994-95 season began without MJ and with Pippen rocking the Nike Air Up in two PE colorways. But it was actually Penny Hardaway that popularized the model. Penny also got his own, now iconic, PE of the Air Up and became the new rising star in the NBA.
Pippen’s biggest sneaker moment of that season was actually not in his own shoes, but in a pair of Jordans, the Jordan 10 to be exact. As rumors started to fly about Michael Jordan’s return to basketball, his teammates started “campaigning” to get Michael back on the court. Pippen famously wore a pair of the Air Jordan 10 and beckoned MJ to come back.
Nike Air Max Uptempo and Nike Air More Uptempo
From 1995 onward, fans saw the most iconic shoes Pippen ever wore. During the 1995-96 season, Pippen strapped on the Nike Air Wayup, the Nike Penny 1’s little brother, and the Nike Air Max Uptempo, which was popular among the Bulls’ players that year. But during the 1996 Playoffs, Pippen would bring show sneaker world one of the most iconic shoes of all time, and definitely one of the most “90s things” ever: the Nike Air More Uptempo.
Since their release, the Air More Uptempo has had a million different colorways and re-imaginings, but nothing beats the original black and white model. The synthetic upper, the jeweled logos, the bungee cords, the full-length air, and (of course) the giant AIR lettering on the sides that make this one of the most nostalgic shoes in sneakerdom.
Unfortunately, performance-wise they haven’t stood the test of time. But they sure are pretty to look at.
When the 1996 Olympics rolled around, the world got the second-best colorway of this shoe with all-white lettering, navy background, red highlights, and Pippen’s Olympic number 8 on the heel. Freshness!
The Air More Uptempo wasn’t a “Pippen” shoe, nor was it even a PE of his, but he was the player that popularized it. So hats off to you Mr. Pippen!
The Pippen Line
During the 1996-97 NBA season, Pippen wore a couple of different Nike models including the Nike Air Flight Maestro III, the Nike Air Max Flight and, the Nike Air Max Uptempo III, a classic shoe in its own right. The Nike Air Max Uptempo III is featured prominently in Spike Lee’s hoop movie, He Got Game on the feet of one Jesus Shuttlesworth, aka Ray Allen.
There have been several retro releases of the shoe, which differ greatly from the original. They are still playable, if you’re looking for a rigid type of ride as far as flexibility and transition are concerned. They do also offer decent cushion and traction.
Towards the end of the season, Pippen would get his first signature shoe, not a PE, but an official Pippen shoe with his own logo and everything: The Nike Air Pippen 1.
They offered full-length, Uptempo Air (beefed up 90s Air that is), jeweled details, and all the chunky wonderfulness you can handle. They were an excellent on-court performer and are just a classic 90s shoe. They actually rivaled that year’s Jordan in popularity (which was no easy task).
The Pippen line was off to a great start.
The Pippen 2 would arrive the next year (1998) and built on the popularity of the 1. A sleeker, more elegant model, the Pippen 2 released in three original colorways: white and royal, white and red, and a black and white playoff colorway.
The shoe featured full-length herringbone traction, Zoom Air units in the forefoot and the heel, and a premium leather upper. As for the lockdown, the Pippen 2 featured a neoprene interior bootie and traditional external lacing as well as internal lacing. Even by today’s standards, this shoe is a durable and beastly performer on court.
This shoe carried Pippen to his sixth and final NBA championship and would be his last shoe as a Chicago Bull. Pippen would be traded the next year to the Houston Rockets to join Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon.
The Air Pippen 3 may be the blandest of all the shoes Scottie used on court, but it was also one of the best performers. They originally released in three colorways: white and navy, a white, black, and red colorway, and a black out version.
The Pippen 3 featured a premium leather upper, a neoprene interior bootie, a phylon midsole, forefoot Air, and full-length herringbone traction.
After just one year playing for the Houston Rockets, Pippen was then traded to the Portland Trail Blazers. He would get two more signature models as a player, the Pippen 4 and the Pippen 5. Both were very interesting models, especially the Pippen 5.
The Pippen 5 was part of the Air Morph series. The idea behind the series was to have an interchangeable shell that surrounded the actual shoe, so theoretically you could just switch out the shell and have a completely different sneaker. The featured athletes of the Morph series were Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, and Scottie Pippen. The idea didn’t fully pan out, but it was one of the more outlandish Nike Basketball series ever seen.
Nike would release one last Pippen Model after Scottie retired: the Pippen 6. The shoe was released in 2015 and was a tribute model, like the Chuckposites or the Air Penny 5 and 6.
The Air Pippen 6 was designed by Marc Dolce and they feature design inspirations from other classic Pippen models. The main colorway of the Pippen 6 features a black and white-based leather upper with red accents and a speckled midsole. Pippen branding can be found on the front of the tongue tag as well as the back heel pull tab. His jersey number ’33’ is stitched on the inside of the tongue with the phrase ‘Six-Time World Champ’ written on the insoles.
Scottie retired as a Chicago Bull in 2004. Over his 17 year career he was named to seven All-Star teams, seven All-NBA teams, and ten All-Defense teams. He also won six championships and one All-Star MVP trophy. He rocked some of the most iconic 90s kicks and even had his own excellent signature line.
Sadly, it seems that the Jumpman will forever overshadow everything that happened in basketball during the 1990s, which is ok, but, hey, just for today… let’s hear it for Pip!