Nike, adidas prep for late-season push
That Nike and adidas will dominate the basketball landscape with their men's basketball shoes this spring is not news. The shoes with which they’ll do it are.
Later this year, Nike will shuffle its release schedule a bit. The Swoosh will be moving Kevin Durant’s signature “KD” models to July to tip off the “Back to School” season. LeBron James’ signature series will remain in its familiar spot at the front end of the NBA season and will be joined by Kobe Bryant’s, whose line usually launches on Christmas Day.
We spoke with Footlocker.com Basketball Buyer David Gorzek for some insights on these and other shoes that sneaker squeakers can expect to see, whether for the hardwood or just for kicking around.
The most notable trend Gorzek pointed out was the stories emerging behind the colorways on signature shoes.
“LeBron has the diamond theme,” he said, noting that the theme has carried into the Nike Zoom Soldier VI, James’ team shoe. “And Kobe is the ‘Black Mamba,’ so you see snakeskin themes through his shoes. And Kevin Durant has a Gullwing colorway (Ice Blue/Squad Blue/Total Orange/Melon) and one in honor of the University of Texas (Durant’s alma mater).”
The biggest story for spring among men's Nike basketball shoes is the Zoom Hyperdisruptor ($130), has been on players’ feet since it released after New Year’s. Those intrigued by the Hyperfuse upper, the sturdy external heel counter, or the Zoom Air cushioning underfoot, will see more of it on the feet of NCAA athletes, particularly as the schedule progresses into its various postseason tournaments.
“It’s lightweight performance,” Gorzek said. “So most NCAA teams will be wearing these in the (NCAA) Tournament.”
Nike has something for off-court use as well, in the Hyperdunk Low ($120). While this low-cut version of the popular Hyperdunk ($140) offers considerably more ankle flexibility, Gorzek said it figures to play well among those seeking casual/off-court wear as well.
The Jumpman will be among the men's Jordan footwear visible in late-season NCAA play as well, as the Aero Mania ($120) released in early February.
On the NBA level, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook will be seen donning the Jordan XX8 ($250), which released to a quickstrike on Feb. 16.
The big visual story for the Jordan XX8 is the 8-inch proproceptive collar designed to provide a supportive feel and integrate the shoe with the athlete. That it can be zipped up or down lends a distinct visual look.
A newcomer to the Jordan brand, Blake Griffin – formerly a regular in Nike’s Hyperdunk – will be wearing the Super.Fly ($130) that released in summer 2012.
Carmelo Anthony’s Melo M9 ($140) signature sneaker dropped at New Year’s also, the multi-layered upper reflecting Anthony’s obsession with premium wristwatches.
The CP3.VI ($125), the signature kick of Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul, also dropped at New Year’s. The latest edition features a series of diamond-shaped ventilation ports to enhance breathability.
Derrick Rose may not have returned to live fire for his hometown Chicago Bulls yet, but his shoes hit the streets. The adidas Rose 3.5 ($160) first hit the shelves in late January, even while Rose was on the proverbial shelf himself as he progressed through the final stages of rehab from the knee surgery that cut short his playoff run in 2012.
“It’s better looking than the 3,” Gorzek said. “And they’ll have an All-Star colorway and a playoff colorway. They’ll also have a Mr. Chicago (Blue Zest/Pop/Dark Onyx).”
This continues the tradition of nods to Rose’s hometown, following on the Rose 2.0, which featured a map of Chicago’s renowned El train on the insole.
adidas is reaching back into the vault for other signature releases. This includes the T-Mac 1 ($110 or $125, depending on colorway), a retro version of Tracy McGrady’s signature shoe that originally dropped in 2002.
And the Real Deal ($110) reflects on the career of former Boston Celtics star Antoine Walker. This retro features the same sweeping synthetic overlays that graced Walker’s signature kick that released in 1997.
Under Armour drops new colorways of shoes it released in fall. The Spine Bionic ($110) has proven popular as a team shoe, and it gains 10 more colorways through February as it transitions UA’s running-based Spine technology to the hardcourt.
The Micro G Charge ($150), with its ultra-high top, offers ankle support aplenty but has proven popular as a fashion play as well, according to Gorzek.
With increasing crossover appeal from the court to the street, basketball shoes have become a staple wardrobe piece for hardcore competitive athletes, weekend pick-up game players, and followers of street fashion alike. Designed by artists, endorsed by athletes, and worn by superstars and average Joes - basketball shoes have become a culture of their own.
Jordan shoes have been pivotal in blurring the lines between performance and fashion. Creating some of the best performance-enhancing shoes worn by instantly recognizable professional athletes such as Chris Paul and his CP3, Kobe Bryant and the incredible Predator series, and Carmelo Anthony and the Melo M8, Jordan brand is synonymous with elite court performance. But the impact goes beyond the court. Jordan brand basketball shoes are being worn as one of the focal points of modern urban style, taking the trends of the '80s and refining them to be the higher fashion of today. Many modern Jordan basketball and basketball-influenced shoes feature a combination of elements from earlier models and technical upgrades, creating hybrids with enhanced comfort, support, and performance.
No stranger to the shoe game, Nike basketball focuses on elite-level performance with a variety of colors and styles to meet every taste. Utilizing Zoom Air, Flywire, and Hyperfuse technologies, Nike has taken basketball performance footwear to a whole new level. Zoom Air provides a great court feel and increased responsiveness. Durable Flywire provides ultra-lightweight support and comfort for your foot. It holds the foot in place, helping to reduce slippage during activity. Hyperfuse technology reduces layers and provides lightweight strength with increased breathability. Nike's Hyperdunk, Hyperfuse, and Hyperaggressor have all been designed to help the wearer take their game to the next level.
One of the most recognized names in the game is LeBron James. Great things were expected from him and great things he delivered - including a line of shoes befitting an multiple MVP. Showcasing some of Nike's most advanced technology and incorporating LeBron's personal inspirations and design styles, the LeBron line of signature shoes have been seen on the feet of players worldwide.
Celebrating The Return of Chicago's hometown hero, adidas and Derrick Rose have teamed up to bring the most advanced Rose basketball shoe to date. Just as sharp, crafted, and lethal as D-Rose's game, these shoes are what separate an MVP from the others. Lightweight and responsive, the Rose 3.0 is a weapon on the court. The adidas Crazy Light 2 also offers the wearer a lightweight feel with a unique style. These shoes are built to accommodate quick cuts, speed, and lateral motion.
The number one overall pick of the 2010 season, John Wall, has a new signature shoe releasing this year: the Reebok Wall Season 3 ZigEscape. Featuring a ZigNano cushioning element, this lighter, sleeker version of the original ZigSlash offers a closer-to-the-ground sole for increased stability and responsiveness as well as quicker cuts and better handling due to the lower mid-cut upper.
Taking an unconventional approach to basketball shoes, Under Armour brings the Micro G Charge BB to the court with the promise of increased stability and an uninhibited range of motion. This high-top basketball shoe is built to feel like a low-top, allowing the wearer to drive hard and cut quick with the support needed to perform.
Whether you're looking for a classic profile or a new out-of-the-box approach, there is a style, silhouette, color, and performance-level basketball shoe that will meet your needs.