In the early 90’s Reebok was Nike’s biggest competitor in pretty much all sports, but basketball was always the toughest competition all the way. After introducing a great line of basketball shoes in the face of the Omni series and having quite a few stars in their house, Reebok really stepped up real high with their next basketball line, the Vertical. Right around 1992, Reebok created the different line names for different sports, there was the Preseason, Blacktop, Hard Court, Cross Training, Running, others as well, and of course the Above The Rim. Under the line of the Above The Rim, Reebok created some of the most legendary and desirable kicks in their whole history. Naturally the first shoe, at least the one I remember, to carry the name Above The Rim was the first PE Reebok created for Dee Brown, a model called D-Time, the letters to form the Above The Rim were placed below the Pump for the first time to replace the previous Reebok – Basketball.

Around the same time Reebok created the first Vertical. Vertical were a very performance orientated basketball sneakers that always had the Pump and the cushioning was Hexalite. Players like Shawn Kemp, Dennis Rodman, Victor Alexander, Dominique Wilkins, Olden Polynice, Chris King  and many more rocked the Vertical proudly on court at that time. The mid cut shoe came with many different color combinations, but the most memorable ones were the Black/White and the reverse White/Black ones. The Pump what in the midfoot section and Hexalite in the hill, materials used were Nubuk and Full Grain leather, quality only known for the kicks made in the 90’s and before. There was also a low version of the Vertical and the Pump chamber was allocated in the hill. A new logo for the Above the Rim line was introduced as well along with the original triangle shaped one, the new one was the silhouette of basketball player.

The Vertical ll was a natural progression from the first one, the changes were not significant, but noticeable. Reebok started use the full vector logo on almost all of their models at that time and the Vertical ll was no different. The Pump was again in the midfoot section and there was Hexalite in the hill. Again the sneakers were produced in many different colorways but the most memorable was the Black/White one. Materials were again nubuk and leather, a small mesh was added right under the ankle area for improved breath-ability. Vertical ll was the first one from the series to feature the Insta Pump system.

Vertical lll was introduced very shortly after the ll and l, in fact all the three models were added to the market in less than 2 years. The Vertical lll changes compared the previous two were mostly visual appearance. Many different colorways were created, and the combination of Black and White was spiced a little bit with Purple, Orange, Red and other colors. This time around Reebok added the name of the shoe on the tongue and right under the Pump it was written Vert 3. Speaking of the Pump, it was again in the midfoot section and Hexalite was still present in the hill. Another addition was the pull tab with Above The Rim written on it, which added functionality and style to the series. Materials were again, nubuk and full grain leather.

The most famous of the Vertical series I personally consider the Vertical lV, it was on the feet of so many players in season 94-95 and in so many color combinations, that felt like everyone that had a contract with Reebok was wearing a pair of Vertical lV.  The changes made to the new model were the added hill lock inner liner booty, and probably the most significant one was the new placement of the Hexalite, that was now moved above the midsole, right under the insole, which made a big change in the comfort. The outsole had a big front to back Reebok vector logo, that was the signature for that model. The Pump was again in the midfoot and the materials were nubuk and leather. Vertical lV had a mid cut version, which was the most popular one, and a high version for some of the NBA players that actually liked a little bit better ankle support.

The last one from this glories line in the first part of the 90’s was the Vertical V. Vertical V was very different shoe, especially compared with the previous models from the series. It was very lightweight, it had the new slim Insta Pump midfoot tongue, similar to Pump Fury, the midsole was the same as the one on Reebok Swingman made with Purelight material, and the Hexalite was the new Ultra Hexalite, which had bigger hexagon shaped chambers than the original Hexalite. Additional velcro strap was included in the midfoot section and the end of it was actually the middle part of the Reebok Vector logo on the lateral side of the shoe.

Please have a look at the below images and let me know, would you cop those if the ever released? I know, I will!

Stay tuned for more history of the Reebok lines.

Vertical l



Vertical ll



Vertical lll


Vertical lV

pump5 pump4

Vertical V