Nike Designer Leo Chang Gives the Inside Scoop on the KD V

December 7th, 2012 by

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SN:  Thanks in part to some of those crazy colorways on the KD IV, it had some huge crossover appeal as a street wearable shoe in addition to the basketball court. Do you think the V can have as much off court appeal as the IV and is that something that’s on your mind during the design process?

LC:  Absolutely. I think that’s what KD wants. He wants kids to wear the shoes to and from the court and have as much integration into everyday life as possible. That’s definitely something I look into and the shoe this time is pretty clean, you know? You see people – KD even wears the tongue real crazy. He laces them out to here and then just has the tongue flap down and stuff. People find a way to wear it. Like on the KD IV, people early on struggled trying to figure out how to wear that strap, because it was coming out of performance – this adaptive strap.

And you see people with that strap real tight or laying all over and they just have fun with that and that’s the thing. I don’t wanna tell somebody how to wear the shoe. They should find their own creative way to wear it.

That’s the best part. I had a lot of fun just watching how different people wore the IV. So I could see the same thing happening with the V. And for us on the performance side, we have a whole NSW world – you’ve seen with the Cork LeBron X’s and stuff. We’ll always focus on making sure that what we do with graphics and color and stuff don’t take away from performance so you can play and walk off the court with it. But the Cork stuff takes it to a whole nother level where it may not be for the court at all.

SN:  That brings up a good question. We’ve seen some previews of upcoming Nike Sportswear designed lifestyle versions of the LeBron and Kobe. Moving into the future, is that something we’ll see for KD shoes as well?

LC:  Potentially, yeah. We’re looking into the whole entire lifestyle of the athlete and their everyday, like what’s their life 365? So I think there will be elements of that for sure.

SN:  We heard rumors and then eventually caught a glimpse of the Elite version of the KD IV. Why didn’t it ever see a retail release alongside the others and will we see some type of postseason version of the KD V this year?

LC:  I don’t think we’re ready to talk about the Elite Series yet, but ultimately, when we gave him the shoes (KD IV Elite), he was already doing so well in the (standard) IV, I don’t know if he was ready to have that drastic of a change in the upper. We stripped it out to be pretty minimal and somehow it changed the ride for him, so he just wasn’t quite comfortable in it and we didn’t want him to be screwed up by it.

SN: The old if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?

LC: Yeah, and if we couldn’t make him feel more confident and better, than there’s no point of having him in it. That was the whole point of the Elite Series – to make the best of the best and make our product even better. So if we didn’t achieve that, then don’t change something that isn’t broken.

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