Eric Avar

Class of 1990

Vice President of Design Innovation at Nike



Eric Avar is the Vice President of Design Innovation for Nike, overseeing projects in an extension of Nike’s Innovation Kitchen. Avar joined Nike in 1991 and has helped create some of Nike’s most innovative and award-winning designs of the past 20 years, including products within the Nike Basketball, Nike Free, Lunar and Kobe Bryant series of footwear. Mr. Avar’s partnership with Kobe Bryant began as soon as Bryant signed with Nike in 2003. Since then he has served as the chief creator of all of Bryant’s signature footwear.

Born in New York City and raised in Connecticut, he cites his parents and legendary Nike footwear designer Tinker Hatfield as his inspiration and mentors. Early in his career with Nike, Mr. Avar spent time in the Outdoor/ACG, Men’s Training and Kids’ before moving to Basketball. He spent eight years in that category before moving to the Innovation Kitchen. He lives in the Portland area with his wife Sue and two children.

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Nike Kobe 9 Elite

The Kobe 9 is a departure from last year’s low-cut model and they mark the first high-top design for Bryant since 2007. The “Kobe 9” fully wraps around the ankle, and the back of the shoe sports nine red detailed lines which are meant to symbolize Bryant’s Achilles sutures following his April surgery. Another personal detail: the shoe’s sole design is based on a “pressure mapping” of Bryant’s feet


Honors & Awards

8 Shoe Dog Awards
3 Maxim Awards
1 Bowerman Award
3 ISDA Awards

The above awards are a few of an extensive list of awards that were received