When you think of Pete Sampras, you envision his scalpel-sharp serve first. Even second attempts could turn into aces. His body was always fluid and relaxed — he could teach the world something about string theory. But thinking about Sampras's serve without thinking about his volley, without remembering that mid-air smash he all but invented, would be criminal. Those slam dunk points were glorious. Sampras in all-white, in mid-air, coming down on the ground like he was jumping onto a cloud.
The all-white outfit was as perennial a feature of Sampras's preppy elegance as his cool head and technique, and no imitation would be complete without the Nike Air Oscillate, the shoe designed by Tinker Hatfield (who designed the first Air Jordans featuring the Jumpman logo) that Sampras started wearing at the beginning of the 1997 slam season and would go on to wear as he won the last four of his seven Wimbledon titles, closing out the decade as one of the all-time greats in the sport.
Nike is bringing back the Air Oscillate starting August 29, just in time for the US Open, and after rereleasing Andre Agassi's Air Tech Challenge III. Unlike his rival's flashier, more colorful sneaker, and much like Sampras himself, the Air Oscillate's iconic, minimal design is just like the champion they were made for: worth the worship.
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