April 26, 2012 BY Aaron Kr.
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!
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