4 years ago by in Fashion, Products, Products, Star

The Reebok Pump is a line of athletic shoes that was popular in the early 1990s. It was the first shoe to have an internal inflation mechanism that regulated a unique fitting cushion in two versions: the lower tongue; and also in the upper to provide locking around the ankle.



The original Reebok Pump was made as a collaboration between Reebok’s Paul Litchfield and industrial design firm Design Continuum. It was released in 1989, as a basketball high-top shoe. The shoe was quite expensive compared to other retail athletic shoes at the time, often costing as much as 150% more than the next most expensive athletic shoe on the market. It became something of a status symbol on urban basketball courts and eventually in suburban high schools.The shoe itself was designed by Paul Brown the head of Footwear Design for Reebok.

After the success of the basketball shoe, Reebok designed pump shoes for association football, gridiron football, tennis, and track. Some models used a standard CO2cylinder instead of the pump for weight considerations.

Dominique Wilkins wore the Reebok Pump original from 1989 on. The original Pump is now known as the Pump Bringback.

Dee Brown won the 1991 all star weekend dunk competition while wearing a pair of Pumps. Before his most crowd-pleasing dunk, Brown stopped to inflate the internal bladder a few times, much to the delight of fans.

Michael Chang wore the Reebok Court Victory Pumps.

CCM briefly offered a hockey skate with The Pump in it circa 1995; however, it was derided for its poor durability. The Pump did not make a return to hockey until 2006, when Reebok (now the owner of CCM) brought out the 9K, 7K and 5K ice, goalie, and 8K inline model which used The Pump as a customizable heel-fit mechanism.

WWE wrestler John Cena wore Reebok Pumps as part of his old-school, hip hop gimmick. He would often stop to “pump up” when he was gaining momentum towards the end of matches.

Rawlings offered a Pump-equipped baseball glove.

The patent for the pump mechanism is USPTO #5113599.


There were two competitors for the Reebok Pumps. One was the LA Gear Regulators and the Nike Air Pressure. Later on, Nike would use a similar inflation mechanism in their “Shox” models available as basketball or cross-training sneakers.


Pump technology is making a small comeback. For instance, DC Shoe Company introduced a series of snowboarding boots with Pump-style liners. 2006 / 2007 models include the Judge, Graphix and Ghost boots. Reebok has also brought back this line, with current shoes being the ATR and The Pump 2.0, which automatically pump as the user walks. They also have the original manually operated pump mechanism shoe available. Outside of athletic shoes, Reebok continues to sell the resurrected pump for use in its high-end hockey skates (sold under the “Rbk Hockey” banner) to improve heel lock and fill the negative space inside of the skate. Sidney Crosby and former NHL hockey player Alexei Kovalev have both worn Reebok skates featuring the pump.


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