January 13, 2011 BY Aaron Kr.
SN: So how does the concept of the “lion on the hunt” literally translate into the different versions of the shoe?
JP: Well, that kinda coincided with what we were talking about with breaking up the season into different parts. As we were building that story, we always look for similarities and things that are synonymous with our athletes, and of course with LeBron, it’s the lion – the king of the jungle. That’s something that he takes pride in and has become part of his identity here. So as these kind of organic discussions go on, the notion of the lion on the hunt came about and how there’s really these different parts of that hunt. So the lion is like LeBron on the hunt for that ring and its like, first the lion is stalking its prey, looking out over the savanna to see who he’s gonna go after. And next he spots it and takes off like a bullet, and it’s all straight out performance – eyes on the prize. Then finally, he sinks his claws in and gets what he’s been after – going in for the kill. It just kinda lined up perfectly with the story we were telling and what was going on on-court. And we just thought it was a cool way to deepen the story of LeBron and the notion of the lion, so each of the versions of the shoe represent those moments – the stalk, the chase and the kill.
SN: Aside from just the visual appearance, can you give us a little rundown of the major tech differences between the V1 and the V2 models?
JP: Well, first of all, they’re both built on the same Air bag and midsole unit, but we did a slight little twist on the V2 where we exposed the Air unit on the bottom and opened that window up, as opposed to the synthetic treatment that we had on the V1. I guess that’s not really a tech feature, but the upper on the Version 1 is built around this dress shoe notion – beautiful leathers with these technical parts that lock you into key areas in the forefoot and heel to help keep your foot on the footbed. So it’s like natural materials that have been reinforced in those key areas, so there’s a little more padding in there. The foam’s a little thicker and the performance stuff is still in there. It’s just kinda shrouded and wrapped in this luxurious finish.
So with the V2, it’s like going from that leather lined interior to like a carbon-fiber interior. Like a normal seat in a Cadillac to a Recaro seat in a Porsche. The leather goes away and you’re really stripping away and seeing the performance skeleton of the shoe a little bit more. Now that’s not what was really under the V1, but you’re now seeing through this more breathable composite material, and you can see that it’s an all-technical upper as opposed to just those technical zones. The entire upper has been constructed in this monocot way where it’s all pressed together into one unibody composite, so you lose a lot of weight and bulk by just using the Flywire composite throughout the entire shoe instead of just in certain zones. That’s really where you get most of the weight loss and the different feel and look of the shoe.