April 26, 2012 BY Aaron Kr. / 19
Inside the Nike Basketball design studios, performance is everything. Every move and decision is made with maximum performance in mind, including the actual visual look of the shoes created within. The pursuit of ultimate functionality determines not only how a shoe performs and feels on your foot, but in many cases, it also dictates a lot of the aesthetic choices as well. Once the shoe has been fully developed and engineered to it’s full potential, it’s time for the color, graphics and materials team to further bring the products to life with a variety of color splashes and palettes to help to tell certain stories and give some additional identity to each colorway.
Yesterday, in part 1 of our Nike Basketball Elite Series interview with Nike Bball designers Jason Petrie and Leo Chang, we got the full lowdown on the technical updates made to each of the three models to upgrade from their original forms into this super premium postseason-inspired collection. Now we take a deeper look at why the Elite Series looks the way it does, from its shapes, lines and materials to the various color schemes and the stories behind them. Continue reading for all you wanted to know about the Nike Basketball Elite Series aesthetics and colorways, and be on the look out for the home and away versions of all three models hitting retailers this Saturday, April 28th.
SN: As far as the aesthetics of the Elite Series, the Hyperdunk and Kobe VII stay fairly true to the original form and design, while the LeBron 9 takes on a more radical transformation. What factors led to how much or little the look of the shoes changed along with the Elite upgrades, and how much does one affect the other?
LC: I think a lot. It’s definitely form follows function.
JP: Speaking for the LeBron, the whole reason it changed was because of the materials and benefits we wanted to provide. Otherwise, we could have just slapped carbon fiber in that wing, but it wouldn’t have worked the way we wanted it to work. So that drove everything about the aesthetic. As with all of our shoes at Nike Basketball. I think with the performance characteristics, it has to work first, and I think shoes look best when form follows function and that’s how you get into the aesthetics and that’s how you push things. We’re trying to make the best basketball shoes on the planet and they’re gonna look like what they look like to be those shoes.
LC: Yeah, like a lot of people don’t know that the Flywire patterns that we create are based on the dynamic movements of the foot in basketball. So a lot of people think that it’s just stitched in any random pattern, but those are actually very technical things that we’ve analyzed through years of research in our labs.
SN: So people need to realize that every little detail is considered for performance and nothing just gets thrown in simply because it looks cool?
JP: A detail or a finish might be on there just to tell a story, but everything has to function and work. We pride ourselves on that and we’ll get called out if we put some gimmicky stuff on there.
SN: We’ve seen multiple LeBron 9 Elite colorways leak out, but only the black and white “home/away” versions of the others. Can we expect more colorway options on the way for the Kobe and the Hyperdunk?
LC: Not for the Hyperdunk and the Kobe. The premise between the white and black with the gold hit is – going into the Playoffs, we just wanted to cleanse the palette in some ways. We’ve been going crazy with bright colors everywhere, so let’s go back to the fundamentals of home and away and then the aspirational goal of that gold trophy is why we added the gold Swoosh. So retail versions for those two will just come in black and white.
What you’ll see on court though, is we won’t be able to use the gold hits until the Finals. It’s league rules, so you’ll see players wearing black and white with their team color hits on the Swoosh and laces and stuff, but whoever is in the Finals will get to wear the gold!
SN: We’ve seen multiple LeBron 9 Elite colorways leak out, but only the black and white “home/away” versions of the others. Can we expect more colorway options on the way for the Kobe and the Hyperdunk? LC: Not for the Hyperdunk and the Kobe. The premise between the white and black with the gold hit is – going into the Playoffs, we just wanted to cleanse the palette in some ways. We’ve been going crazy with bright colors everywhere, so let’s go back to the fundamentals of home and away and then the aspirational goal of that gold trophy is why we added the gold Swoosh. So retail versions for those two will just come in black and white. Then why there are other cw on Lebron???
they call it elites because it is so elite in prices... at the end, it will all go down on how you play and the skills and hard work you do inside the court....
the most insightful thing about this article is that the og lebron 8 south beach is probably going to increase in value based on what was said in the interview. the varsity maize lebron elite looked kind of like a bruce lee version due to the red speckles on the air unit, but i guess that was not the inspiration. these elites are interesting because they definitely aren't worth the added money (175 vs 250, 150 vs 200), but people will buy them anyway, which paves the way for more premium releases; which will hopefully get better and be worth the extra cheddar.
What do you expect? They [players] don't give a shit that they are "Elite"... Look at the marketing campaign that Nike is spending so much money on. Where do you think that money is coming from? That's right, all you idiots paying a premium for a shoe that costs next to nothing to produce. Oh well, your money to waste however you want to.
Really wished they had created KD IV elites b/c they would be awesome and about $100 less than the other elites
All I hav heard any1 talk about is the lebrons and kobes... is any1 gonna get the hyperdunks? Hah i might idk I had tb black and white hyperdunks for my high school team shoes this year and theyre great shoes to play in very lightweight but i mean I hate to pay for an "elite version" of those thats like twice as much $$$... even if they are my school colors... i would hav to get hyperdunks cuz i aint givin lebron or kobe any $$$. Is there a KD 4 playoffs colorway? Cuz i would definitely cop that over any of these i love kd
durant doesnt want his shoe over a 100 bucks... so kd will never have an elite shoe.. unlike bron & kobe, kevin durant cares about da people & da money they spend
No Elite KD IV's unfortunately. Nike is really revolutionizing basketball technology with the Elite Hyperdunk 2011's but also with the Hyperdunk 2012. I'm gonna wait for the 2012's but it will be tempting to not pick up the Elite Hyperdunks