In 1988, 18-year-old Andre Agassi joined the Nike family, bringing with him prodigious talent and unique charisma. Those intangibles, plus the contribution of legendary sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield, would reignite the sport of tennis and inspire some of the most memorable tennis shoes of all time, including the Nike Air Tech Challenge II.
I began my childhood love for tennis that summer and on a trip to Palm Beach I donned Agassi's stone washed tennis shorts, with built in neon compression shorts, paint splattered polo and sneakers at the infamous The Breakers. A fashion rebellion in a resort steeped with tradition, my youthful exhibit caused a stir on those courts.
Galvanized by Agassi’s forthright aesthetic and style of play, the Air Tech Challenge II’s bold colors sent shockwaves through a world dominated by nondescript low-tops.
Nike pays homage to a seminal era in sport history when the tennis great Andre Agassi dominated the courts of Melbourne in the Air Tech Challenge II. A revamp of the iconic ’90s court shoe worn by “The Punisher” during countless triumphs, the sneaker now boasts bold color blocking and embroidered numerals decipherable to the most fervent tennis fans. True to its original form but revamped using the technology of today, the 2014 release of the Air Tech Challenge II takes a legendary court classic from the archives to the street for everyday wear.
To underscore Agassi’s victorious tenure at the tournament, the rear panel is embroidered with the number 1036, noting the impressive tally of career match wins Agassi accrued at Melbourne Park. The shoe's tongue is coded with the digits 95.00.01.03, representing the years in which Agassi won the tournament.
The Nike Air Tech Challenge II debuts Jan. 31 at 21 Mercer and Dover Street Market in New York.