For 2020, Nike Basketball is evolving the brand’s industry-leading work to improve energy return through footwear innovation. Ross Klein, Senior Creative Director for Nike Basketball footwear, led a team on a mission to evolve Nike Air — our most efficient cushioning platform for energy return — and create the Nike Air Zoom BB NXT.

“The game and the athletes have evolved in this new era of basketball,” says Klein. “We now have athletes that are ‘positionless’ and generate the values of all positions on court. Within the NBA alone these positionless athletes face a grueling journey, starting with the offseason training, then preseason, and into the 82-game season, playoffs, Finals. Fatigue is the enemy and endurance is the goal.”

Staying fresh at the game’s critical, closing moments is key. With that in mind, the Nike Air Zoom BB NXT introduces a unified system of full-length Nike REACT foam, plate and Nike Air Zoom pods to provide basketball players at all levels with impact protection and energy return. 

“The shoe is similar to a car,” says Klein. “There are many parts and pieces, each doing a very specific job, but working in unison.”

The shoe’s three leading performance-driven benefits are outstanding energy return, optimized cushioning and strength. Specific innovations include:

  • Exposed Nike React foam under the heel provides a soft, responsive sensation
  • A thin plate positioned above the foam provides torsional rigidity
  • Two Air Zoom units positioned under the ball of the foot continually absorb an athlete’s energy and provide great responsiveness
  • The upper is a lightweight mesh with a tactile, textured print that provides support and durability where athletes need it
  • A plush foam tongue and padded collar with a notch to support the Achilles tendon provides a comfortable fit

The Nike Air Zoom BB NXT releases July 1.