Was NASA responsible for the greatness of Michael Jordan? It had to be the shoes, right? Nah…MJ was great because he practiced for hours on end, but you can bet that he athletic shoes each time he played some of his most memorable games.
Surprisingly, suit construction technology developed by NASA helped set the stage for these types of shoes. This started with something known as “blow rubber molding”. This type of molding helped create hollow athletic shoes that came equipped with shock absorption.
Just Do It, NASA: A NASA engineer named Frank Rudy introduced an idea for a shock absorber that would go well with shoes. Rudy designed a concept that used a pad made of interconnected cells placed under the heel and forefoot. These were designed to soften the impact while your feet would hit the ground (for example, after taking a jump shot). The idea took off thanks to none other than Nike. And thus, Nike Air was born.