JB Designer Tom Luedecke Discusses the Air Jordan 2011
SN: Moving over to the aesthetics, the mismatched tongue logos have been seen on a lot of the recent Air Jordan signature models. Is this something we’ll continue to see and is there a story behind why this has become so prevalent?
TL: For this model, it was just keeping in mind reverential points in Michael’s life. So he is the owner of a motor racing team and this is definitely something that comes from that world – that type of graphic and application. So that’s something we wanted to keep alive on the shoe. Going forward… we’ll see on the next shoe how it turns out.
SN: The grid patterned texture covering the midsole bears a strong resemblance to the classic mesh netting that was used on the Air Jordan IV. Is there something to that or is it just a coincidence entirely?
TL: We actually original came with the upper on a fairy clean midsole, and we were thinking about what kind of texture and finish we wanted on it. Tinker in a meeting just said ‘Hey, I really like what this (ankle mesh) does, especially how it juxtaposes with the very organic hand-crafted finish of the upper. Is there a way to bring that in somewhere else on the shoe ?’ And we were like, that’s a great idea for the midsole texture. I think aesthetically, it gives it the quality of strength and also ties the upper to the bottom which is always a great thing. You have the organic nature of the emboss and the outsole pattern, and then you have some tech elements in the midsole, so it ties the shoe together. It’s not just an upper on a bottom. It’s an entire product.
SN: Going inside the shoe, can you give us a little rundown of the dual-layered insole construction and the function of the two different interchangeable insole options?
TL: Sure. We’ll start with the “Explosive.” The Explosive midsole is a Cushlon foam which is very soft and it houses a full-length Air bag and has an Ortholite sockliner, which is more of an impact protection compound. The “Quick” has a compression molded Phylon carrier which is a firmer foam. It has Zoom technology under the foot, so this is engineered and built for side to side play, lateral movements on the perimeter of the court using quickness and speed to beat your opponent – that style of play. Where this (Explosive) is built for under the basket, in the paint, going up and down for rebounds and blocks and protecting your foot when it comes down.
They’re absolutely different platforms and we’re putting the left shoe as the Explosive, right shoe as the Quick in the box, so it gives you the opportunity right in the store to see which feels right for you. When we put them on D-Wade, without being asked, he went (rocking side to side) left, right, left, right – and he said, ‘I’m gonna start with the Explosive. That’s my choice from the gate.’ I think it’s unique as a product experience. It really makes you wanna get them on your feet to see which one of the technologies feels right for you and that makes it a more holistic experience.
SN: Can’t wait to try them out for ourselves. Thanks Tom!