Giannis Antetokounmpo

History of Nike Giannis Sneakers: Zoom Freak & More


Giannis Antetokounmpo, frequently known among basketball fans as the “Greek Freak” for his skill and 6′ 11″ height, is one of the NBA’s most valuable players. However, he had a humble beginning in 2013 when he was the number 15 pick by the Milwaukee Bucks, who he still plays for now. This article digs into Antetokounmpo’s NBA career and the history of his signature shoe line.

Who is Giannis Antetokounmpo?

Giannis Antetokounmpo started his basketball career in Greece, quickly becoming one of the most sought-after basketball players in the country as a power forward and shooting guard.

Once he had gained quite a bit of notoriety, representatives from many major leagues from all over the world came to Greece to see the star playing. As a result, the Milwaukee Bucks ended up signing him in the 2013 NBA draft. In the 2016-2017 season, Antetokounmpo led his team in all five major statistical categories. During this season, he became the first NBA player to finish the regular season within the top 20 of these five categories, including the number of assists and total rebounds. 

The excellent start to his early career has led to a successful overall run in the NBA. He has now become the 11th player in the league’s history to have won the combined honor of awards, including:

He shares this list of honors plus the Defensive Player of the Year Award with only one other player: Michael Jordan.

History of the Nike Giannis Basketball Shoes

Giannis Antetokounmpo has had a remarkable career, catching the eyes of fans, basketball teams, and even Nike since even before he gained his MVP status. He signed his first deal with Nike in late 2017, and he met with Nike repeatedly to help design his signature footwear and create the first shoe in his signature series. 

Air Zoom Freak 1: The Defending Debut Sneaker

The Air Zoom Freak 1 wasn’t just the start of Antetokounmpo’s signature line of shoes; it was also the beginning of his entire brand. These shoes set the stage for a series of designs involving apparel, logos, and, of course, footwear. That makes these shoes stand out amongst the subsequent two iterations of the shoe. 

The Nike Air Zoom Freak 1 is well-matched for Antetokounmpo’s range of movement. He often uses lengthy strides to get around defenders in unexpected ways. The multidirectional traction pattern perfects the position of extreme lateral strides, supporting both the big toe and pinkie toe, giving it a sound defensive stance. Altogether, it is buttressed with a containment system inside the shoe that keeps the foot safely in place.

There are also key aspects to the exterior aesthetic of the shoe. One of these is the featured double-stacked unit in the heel. It gives the inside of the shoe extra cushioning and balance and a thick, graphic layer on the exterior. It was this double-stacked feature that opened the way for Antetokounmpo’s Coming to America collection, which launched on August 2, 2019 — a series that functioned as an ode to his favorite film.

Zoom Freak 2: On the Offense

The signature shoe released in the Zoom Freak series was the Zoom Freak 2. The first shoe was designed for his defending methods, and this shoe was made to support the instant offensive methods Antetokounmpo is known to use. When on the offensive, the player uses long, powerful strides like the Eurostep to propel him forward with support around the toe. 

These shoes support his iconic Eurostep, which allows him to use his stride to create space while still moving at full speed. The shoe allows him to unlock this step by helping with fluid movement using a decoupled outsole with two separate areas that allow him to be grounded when he drives from the forefoot and lands in an unorthodox way on the heel safer than in a typical sneaker. There is extra support in the heel to cushion against the enormous amount of physical force he uses to get into play. In addition, increased flexibility is allowed in critical areas so he can move as naturally as possible.

Zoom Freak 3: Taking Space, Making Names

The last shoe in this series currently is the Zoom Freak 3. This shoe focuses on another critical feature of Antetokounmpo’s playstyle while also progressing his Eurostep. The setup of the Zoom Freak 3 allows the foot to be closer to the floor, giving the player better control on downhill attacks. On all these shoes, the upper is engineered to keep the foot contained, locking down the forefoot of the foot to stop the foot’s center of gravity.

The shoe’s interior allows it to work at a variety of angles while constantly supporting those movements to better enable him to transition from step to step. The Zoom Air units stacked under the heel of the shoe enhance this feature of the shoe to absorb the step’s energy and give it a responsive reaction.

The shoe was initially released globally on July 1, 2021, featuring multiple colorways like the black and purple Project 34 colorway and the defining orange Freak colorway.

Immortality Sneakers

The Giannis Immortality Sneakers are one of the newest shoes in his line, this time offered outside of the Zoom Freak series. These shoes were released on November 8, 2021, and feature his “A” logo on the tongue of the shoe and “34” on the outsole. The shoe was made with excellent traction and cushion meant to stop too much impact from traveling up the leg through the foot. 

Zoom Freak 4 

                              Giannis Zoom Freak 4 Black and White basketball shoe

Made to support the long strides, lightning-quick agility, and physical game of its namesake, the Giannis Zoom Freak 4 prioritized quick changes of direction and side-to-side stability to enhance Antetekokounmpo’s two-way game and supernatural ability to always be near the action on the court. The Freak 4 features two Zoom Air units underfoot, compressing under the weight for even more energy return to propel forward, like a 100-meter sprinter picking up steam off the starting blocks, an ideal weapon for the incessant rim attacks and chase-down block attempts that Giannis has made a nightly ritual.

Breaking Records Starts With the Right Sneakers

Have you ever watched Antetokounmpo and realized similarities between your styles of play? Maybe you use long lateral strides to get past defending players or could use some extra spring in your step to propel you forward. Whatever the case, Giannis’ sneakers have been case studies in player observation and go to show how much of a difference wearing the right shoe can make for your game. Cop your favorite pair today at Finish Line.