Posts Tagged ‘Basketball’

Beyond the Numbers // The Curry 3 & Changing Times for Basketball Sneakers

Recently in an article published by ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank gave some very candid commentary on the lackluster sales of the Curry 3, which follow up the sensational seasons and upward wave created by Steph and his play in the Curry 1 and 2, respectively. The commentary from Plank came from Under Armour’s company earnings call, with the company reporting its first quarterly loss as a public company.

“Our success in basketball hasn’t been without its learning,” Plank expressed in the call. “As we launched the Curry 3 late last year, our expectations continued to run high. And while the 3 played very well on court for Stephen Curry and our athletes, a sluggish signature market and a warm consumer reception led to softer-than-expected results.”

While Plank is attempting to ease the anxieties of likely worried investors, what he’s saying is far from a fib. Though no longer the talk of the town as he shares the spotlight, Steph is still putting up incredibly strong numbers and his fair share of highlights. On top of that, anybody who’s hooped in the Curry 3 can attest that they play well — this writer and many of his peers included both IRL and online.

True, the Curry 3 hasn’t made waves at retail, but in reality it’s overall sales volume has been near that of the Curry 2 — they just made way more pairs. Around the way, many of the other signature basketball shoes on the market have been far quieter than years priors. How so? This season, Nike dropped the starting retail prices drastically on LeBron, KD and Kobe models, forecasting a shift that had already affected them and the rest of the market. Though critically accepted, the KD 9 would still see discounts, while the LeBron 14 would receive the least amount of marketing or push seen on a King James signature ever. Just the same, the typically tech savvy Kobe line would trim performance features and price, also getting discounted not long after launch.

What’s this mean? Not much really, as performance basketball shoes have always been made for the masses and even the most coveted colorways in retro life were once discounted in OG life form.


photo via Eastbay Blog/The Shoe Game

While MVP candidate-backed shoes like the adidas Harden Vol 1 and Air Jordan XXX1 seem to be doing reasonably well at retail, it still seems price is as big of a catalyst for success as play. Perhaps the biggest takeaway on today’s basketball market in regards to sales is that the Kyrie 2 was the only modern hoop shoe that cracked 2016’s Top 10 Best Sellers List. That was likely much in part because it retailed for less than that of Curry, Kobe, Kyrie or LeBron — though crossover appeal (no pun intended) and strong storytelling and ‘newness’ certainly helped. Kyrie was also top of mind from a moment standpoint, nailing the most memorable shot from this past spring’s NBA Finals.

While the energy Nike created with launches like the “South Beach” LeBron 8, “Grinch” Kobe 6 and countless other colorways after shifted the market to making modern basketball shoes into more lifestyle shoes, this was never quite sustainable. As we’ve seen in recent years, the colorways really have become endless.

What did shift over that same time however was consumer response to a shoe going on sale. A price drop — which was once awesome — suddenly made some shoes undesirable. That’s somewhat fair, everyone wants want they can’t have, and don’t want what they easily can have. More on the mark though when speaking to a mass market product like a basketball shoe, it’s hard to be limited cool and commercially viable at the same time. Somehow though, Nike mastered it for the better part of this for almost over decade, and Under Armour struck gold adopting this same format during sensational seasons for Steph.

As performance basketball shoes continue to become less desirable in the lifestyle market and running takes the cake, it’s clear Nike and Jordan have already started shifting their pricing policy. Plank notes that Under Amour will do the same, as the Curry 3ZER0 retails at $ 120, compared to the $ 140 mark of the Curry 3. Stephen’s latest shoe is already well outpacing the 3 in sell-thru percentages.

In addition, Plank also stated that Under Armour will be sharper regarding future shoe launches, “with respect to number of color offerings, scarcity, exclusivity and cadence of launches to drive more consistent engagement and results,” as reported by ESPN. The article also notes that “nearly 80 percent of the people who wear basketball shoes do so for fashion” and addresses the trend that lower-profile shoes are more popular, which we would translate both on court and off. You can attribute this to Kobe, you can attribute this to running models reigning in sneaker culture, or you can attribute it to joggers shifting fashion. Either way, times change and so do trends.

Like any trend though, the upcoming result could be good for a core consumer that isn’t swayed by sales — the actual hoopers. While signature shoes built for basketball have somewhat suffered due to chasing denim and gaining weight, it may be time for a new wave of performance product that’s all about play. If there’s one thing Under Armour is good at, it’s focusing on competition and caring less about crossover. If there’s one thing Nike reigns at, it’s innovation. As adidas and Jordan Brand duke it out for MVP honors this summer, here’s to hoping the Curry 4, Harden Vol 2, LeBron 15 and AJ XXX2 are all hoop and no hype.

Lead image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images via Zimbio

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Alexander Wang’s Avant Garde adidas Basketball Sneaker Features Boost

New York-based designer Alexander Wang continues his new partnership with adidas extending his widely varied collection to different genres of sport. Today, we get a closer inspection at his upcoming adidas Originals AW BBall sneaker.

The expressive model reflects a layered, mixed material high-top upper. Stylized paneling is stacked on top of itself from the eyelets, to the tongue, then down to partially exposed Boost cushioning. An elastic collar continues the avant-garde aesthetic as is appears like cuffs on your favorite joggers or nylon jacket sleeve. Perforations at the toe resemble that of the iconic Top Ten, which allows Wang to pool inspiration from the 80’s while maneuvering contemporary styling in addition.

Take a closer look at the adidas Originals AW BBall Sneaker below and calendar the April 1 release date.

adidas Originals AW BBall

Release Date: April 1, 2017
Price: $ 260

adidas Originals AW BBall
adidas Orignals AW BBall

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Converse Launches the Pro Leather ’76 – A Lifestyle Sneaker with Basketball Roots

Drawing from the sneaker’s past while pushing the shoe into the future, the Converse Pro Leather returns in two monochromatic colorways. The “Triple Black” and “Triple White” iterations of the newly upgraded Converse Pro Leather ‘76 merge the classic style with a Nike Lunarlon sockliner for added comfort and cushion. The result is a lifestyle sneaker that is at home on the streets of the city, while still maintaining its vintage basketball roots.

Shot in black and white to fuse an old-school vibe with contemporary urban fashion, the Pro Leather ’76 lookbook sees the sneaker photographed against the backdrop of iconic New York City basketball courts. The photos start at the storied Rucker Park, Sarah D. Roosevelt Park and Rutgers Park locations, where you might have expected to see the sneakers when they first dropped 40 years ago, before moving out into the sprawl of the city where you’d expect to see them today.

Take a look at the complete photo story from HYPEBEAST below to see the sneaker transition from its roots on the court to its future in the streets and shop the style for $ 70-$ 75 USD at Foot Locker or on the official Converse webstore.

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Converse Launches the Pro Leather ’76 – A Lifestyle Sneaker with Basketball Roots

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The Buscemi B-Court Basketball Shoe is Available Now

Back in February, sneaker free agent John Wall made headlines by warming up in a pair Buscemi basketball shoes at the 2016 NBA All-Star Game. Well, that shoe has arrived at retail. Dropping in red, white and black colorways, the very baller shoe in every interpretation of that word is officially titled the Buscemi B-Court. Running for over a grand and decked out in calfskin leather with gold detailing, this Made in Italy model is available now at Buscemi.

Buscemi B-Court

Buscemi B-Court

Buscemi B-Court

Buscemi B-Court

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Nike Basketball Celebrates #MambaDay on Twitter

This week we have dedicated to Kobe Bryant as we celebrate #KobeWeek.  The hashtag game is even stronger today on Twitter as Nike Basketball has promoted a special hashtag for Kobe Bryant’s final game.

Use the hashtag #MambaDay today on Twitter to share your favorite Kobe moments and bid one of the greatest of all time a final farewell.

Thank you, Kobe.

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Nike Basketball Eulogizes Kobe Bryant’s Career with Upcoming Nike Kobe 11

Tonight Kobe Bryant takes on Tim Duncan for the last time in his legendary career. Two players whose NBA tenure features similar accolades and achievements, square off one final time – a matchup two decades in the making.

There are endless stories like this one that makeup Kobe Bryant’s iconic career. Nike Basketball, by way of the Nike Kobe 11 “Eulogy,” gives the Los Angeles great a proper sendoff for a legacy unparalleled. His tenancy, prowess and determination are all encapsulated in this Lakers purple Kobe 11, which also features “8” and “24” at the heel – chronicling both chapters of his triumphant run.

Putting to bed Bryant’s career on February 27, give the Nike Kobe 11 “Eulogy” an official look below.

Nike Kobe 11 “Eulogy”

Colorway: Hyper Grape/White-Black-University Gold
Style #: 822675-510
Release Date: February 27, 2016
Price: $ 200

Nike Kobe 11 Eulogy

Nike Kobe 11 Eulogy

Nike Kobe 11 Eulogy

Nike Kobe 11 Eulogy

Nike Kobe 11 Eulogy

Nike Kobe 11 Eulogy

Nike Kobe 11 Eulogy

Nike Kobe 11 Eulogy

Nike Kobe 11 Eulogy

Nike Kobe 11 Eulogy

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The Nike Basketball “BHM” Signature Collection Drops on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

A pioneering figure in the African-American community and a leader during the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrated every January marking one of the first major national holiday’s each year. Thus, Nike Basketball chose to release their annual “Black History Month” signature collection on that very day.

Consisting of the Nike LeBron 13, Nike Kyrie 2, Nike KD 8 and the newly released Nike Kobe 11, indigenous multicolor patterning makes its presence felt across each look while a black base acts as the foundation for the collection. Check out every look in the Nike Basketball “BHM” Collection and mark next Monday, January 18, for the release date.

Nike Kobe 11 BHM

Nike Kobe 11 BHM

Nike LeBron 13 BHM

Nike LeBron 13 BHM

Nike KD 8 BHM

Nike KD 8 BHM

Nike Kyrie 2 BHM

Nike Kyrie 2 BHM

Source: Heist NY

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First Look // Nike Basketball “Christmas” Pack 2015

The Christmas holiday has become a pivotal time marker for a variety of brands as the consumer rush tends to bring about some of the newest and most innovative sneakers on the market. This couldn’t have been anymore evident then with the subtle first look we’ve garnered at the Nike Basketball “Christmas” Pack 2015.

Featuring four distinct silhouettes and colorways from four of Nike Basketball’s biggest endorsers, this year’s Christmas collection utilizes iterations of the Nike Kyrie 2, Nike LeBron 13, Nike KD 8, and the Nike Kobe X Elite Low. All signs points to additional information being released soon, but for now, check out the images below to get a perspective of the models at hand.

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Interview // Nike Basketball Design Director Leo Chang Details The Hyperdunk 2015

words & interview // Nick DePaula

When the original Hyperdunk launched in 2008, the shoe marked a new era in many ways. It weighed just 13.0 ounces, which at the time Nike’s CEO Mark Parker said was the lightest basketball shoe to date. (I remember a couple sneakers listed on Eastbay at a shade under 13 ounces before then, but who’s counting, right?) These were real light, even with an all-new high cut silhouette that was new to hoops footwear. They also incorporated Nike’s new Flywire technology, an upper panel simply made of plastic and fabric strands that mostly looked really cool, but also became a marketing dream for the company across all categories. The shoe single-handedly moved the industry towards a focus on lighter weights, with synthetic materials a new focus and leathers a thing of the past.

Nike was so damn confident in the shoe that they even invited media to their sprawling Beaverton, Oregon campus during the summer of 2008 for a detailed walkthrough of the model’s design and development process, along with a “media weartest” of the shoe. Every single brand holds media run events now — but it was unheard of to that point — as sneaker blogs weren’t yet an established presence then and brands were reluctant to host a real-time on-court feedback session. They’d rather just tell you how great the shoes were and have writers relay those claims in their stories.

Kobe Hyperdunk 2008 Nike Launch 600I’ll never forget the then-head of Nike Basketball turning to us after our interview and saying, “I can talk these up all day long, but what better way to judge them than to lace them up yourselves and give them a run?”

So that’s exactly what we did. With Nike execs and Kobe Bryant himself standing right on the sideline watching us.

As expected, the shoe was an absolute beast, and it featured a combination of what Nike loved to call “lightweight containment” that was entirely new to the game. In the mid-2000s, shoes were beginning to get clunky as hell (see: Shox Bomber), and the Hyperdunk shifted the industry completely away from the two ever-present styles at the time: overly retro-driven models like the Air Force 25 and overly-complex mechanical cushioning setups like the many full-length Shox bricks and adidas’ $ 250 “computer shoe”, the adidas 1, which quite literally bricked.

“You’ve been with us for the journey, and we always talk about the Hyperdunk in 2008 being a defining moment for us and a new era for innovation in basketball,” Nike Basketball Design Director Leo Chang told me last week. “Before, it was always a leather or a synthetic leather upper on a crazy innovative bottom. The explosion in innovation throughout the whole shoe started with the Hyperdunk in 2008.”

Each year since, the Hyperdunk has become Nike Basketball’s marquee team franchise model, providing players of all sizes with an all-around product that looks to offer up a blend of protection, versatility, traction and cushioning. The newest version, the Hyperdunk 2015, looks to combine the best of each model. There’s the protective higher cut, the midfoot support wedge, tried and true herringbone traction, and most importantly — in my opinion — a return to both heel and forefoot Zoom Air.

To hear all about the latest addition to the editions, I recently caught up with Leo Chang for a full breakdown of the new Hyperdunk 2015.

Hyperdunk 2008_2015 Lineup 3

Nick DePaula: The first Hyperdunk in 2008 was such a landmark shoe. You then did the 2009 on the Hyperize, and then the 2010 and 2011 too. Olivier Henrichot did the 2012 and Peter Fogg did the 2013 and 2014 after that. Once Foggy retired, how’d you decide to take the Hyperdunk series back on?

LC: In my current job, obviously I can’t do everything. [laughs] As the Design Director, I have to overlook all of the line in footwear, and I have a great team of designers that are amazing, so I’m not going to hog all of the projects. Foggy was a great designer and he’d done some pretty legendary stuff, so I trusted him to take it somewhere new. For the ’15 in particular, it was an interesting time, because Foggy had decided to retire from Nike and go ride motorcycles or do whatever the hell he wanted to. [laughs] So, it was a weird transition and we needed someone to design the shoe, so I just hopped back in there.

NDP: With the original Hyperdunk taking some inspiration from the Mag, and this being the 2015 edition, how much did that come into play in terms of offering some inspiration?

Leo Chang H 2LC: That was Avar’s vision from the beginning, and I always thought it was cool to start from there from an aesthetic standpoint. I just love the Mag, and it’s one of my favorite sneakers of all time. It’s just such a cool silhouette, and to this day, it’s still such a futuristic shoe. I wanted to kind of go back to that.

When we did the Hyperize, it was still there, and then 2010 was there through the collar. Then from the ’11, it shifted a bit, but there were components here and there. Through the Foggy era, it diminished a little more, and I felt like being that it was 2015, it’d be a good time to go back to that, but not be too literal.

From an aesthetic standpoint, the idea was around, “What would I do to modernize the 2008 Hyperdunk?” It’s kind of like in iconic cars like Porsches, you see the lineage of the gesture for models like the 911. You see how they evolve, and it’s really iconic and they just modernize it every time. It’s like an iPhone too. Each time, it’s more refined. I wanted to take that approach, and looking at the original Hyperdunk, you had the very iconic triangular shape in the lateral foam stockfit component that was a stability feature on the first one. Then, you had the floating heel clip.

At the time, it was also a very new collar silhouette, and it had the high to low hybrid height. That wasn’t really a thing until the Hyperdunk, and now it’s everywhere. I wanted to look at the silhouette as a point of doing what the Hyperdunk did in having a high collar, but still articulating where it needs to. From there, just cleaning it up and letting the upper be more simple. It felt right to do that. To me, it was a more modernized and sophisticated styling of the original Hyperdunk when you look at it iconically. That all goes back to the Mag too.

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NDP: The shoe is really bold in the way it can be blocked, and the NIKEiD options on it are really cool in how versatile it can be blocked.

LC: Yeah, and I had a lot of fun on there! I went a little crazy and got like three colorways on iD. I thought they did a good job of letting you call out those blocks really boldly.

NDP: It’s real good. Did you have specific ways to block it in mind when you were designing it, or were there some alternate blocks along the way that you were toying with?

HD Paul George IGLC: I wanted to create options, since the Hyperdunk is such a universal shoe. I think it needed to adapt. Sometimes, I love to see the whole triangle wedge plus the heel part blocked as one. And other times I think it’s cool when just the triangle alone is. Or you could also do the heel and triangle in colors separately. You could have those options and that can help to extend the life of it. It was always about keeping the toolbox open.

NDP: I haven’t played in these yet, but I’m real excited to. It seems like a “Best Practices” Hyperdunk to me combining the best of all of the models through the years. You’ve got the protective top line, the clean upper, herringbone traction and you brought Zoom Air back into the fold. I’m definitely most excited about that. The last Hyperdunk to have Zoom was also the last one you designed. Why’d you decide to bring it back after the shoe featured Lunar for three years in a row?

LC: From a performance standpoint, it was kind of a reset. I wasn’t in love with Lunar. Most people were neither here nor there with it, in terms of players. They couldn’t really feel the difference of it, and over time, it just didn’t evolve enough for me. I just felt like it got more vanilla over time, and I want there to be a feel of something. The responsiveness of Zoom is something that basketball players love all around. To bring that back into the shoe was, I think, a no brainer. That doesn’t mean we’re off of Lunar altogether, but I think when we get the right formulation of that, we’ll use it again. It just felt like the right time to get away from it.

NDP: Other than being used in the insole of the Kobes, is it not in the line otherwise as an embedded unit for this upcoming season?

LC: It works great as a drop-in configuration on the Kobes, and it’ll be around. For me, Zoom is a great basketball technology though.

Zoom Air BagsNDP: For the separate heel and forefoot Zoom units here, are they a 14 and 8 mm size, or what are they?

LC: Yeah, it’s exactly that.

NDP: With the shoe being such a universal shoe for players of all sizes, what kind of feedback have you been getting from all of the guys that’ve been playing in it?

LC: There’s a few things on the tooling that we did after hearing feedback from the past. One, is we switched to Zoom, as I mentioned, which is a step towards where we were in the ’11 and is great to get that responsiveness back. Another thing is we used a Phylite midsole, similar to the HyperRev, and on the lateral side it wraps over the outsole.

The reason why we did that is because the Hyperdunk is such a big team shoe, and durability was something that was important. We wanted to make sure it was fairly bullet proof. Typically, what we see from our college players and elite players who are doing two-a-days and just going so hard, is that on the lateral side, the outsole rubber wrap can peel out. When you look at all of the defectives that we get back, the common area for issues is on the rubber wraps through the forefoot on the lateral side. Most consumers who aren’t at that elite college level don’t ever experience that. Fa15_BB_HD15_749561-100_B_native_1200

NDP: Yeah, I’ve never quite had a peel out [laughs], but I’ve got a friend with a 40” inch vert that’s crazy explosive and it’s happened to him a few times.

LC: Some guys will just shred their shoes, so that was an area to look at. We wanted to bring in a foam that was ground-contactable, like a Phylite material, and wrap the outsole on the lateral side to protect it, so that you’d eliminate some of the delamming that would happen with rubber. It makes it more durable, and more flexible.

NDP: When the first Hyperdunk was launched, it was always bounced around between Vectran, Kevlar and ultimately Nylon for the Flywire strand material. What are you guys using here?

LC: The original one used a poly-based core, and we ended up using the Kevlar in the 2011 Elite, which reduced the stretch even more, which was great.

NDP: Man, that’s the best playing shoe of the last five years for me.

LC: Yeah, that was a great shoe. The 2015 edition now has a little bit of a wider cable in it, it’s about a 2 mm width, and we’re using less cables, but each one is a little wider and tougher. We sandwiched it between bonded mesh layers so that you get that feel of it conforming better, and it’s less boardy than synthetics. We just wanted the shoe to have that natural feel and also be contained around that.

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image above courtesy Jeremy Rincon

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Event Reminder: Kick & Roll Classic 3-on-3 Basketball Event 2015

Our very own George Kiel and his nonprofit Kiel Colon Cancer Foundation’s Kick & Roll Classic 3-on-3 Basketball Event 2015 takes place tomorrow in Austin, Texas at the Round Rock Sports Center from 12 PM-6 PM. The sneaker-themed basketball tournament – sponsored by the Josh Childress Foundation – is put on to help raise awareness of the colon cancer, honor colon cancer survivors, educate the youth about the affliction, generate revenue for the Texas State University colon cancer research program, and encourage people to live a healthy lifestyle.

If you’re in the Central Texas area, don’t hesitate to stop by and check out some cool sneakers being worn on court at the Kick & Roll Classic. Below is a video recap footage last summer’s Kick & Roll Classic 3-on-3 Basketball Event event.

 

IMG_8828_MG_3338_MG_3376Kick & Roll Classic 3-on-3 Basketball Event 2015_MG_3485_MG_3489WU3A5546

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For more information, visit kielcoloncaner.org or email them at info@kielcoloncancer.org. Also, follow them on Instagram/Twitter at @KielColonCancer and @KickRollClassic.

 

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