Archive for the ‘Shoes’ Category

Sometimes there are just things that are very good ideas, then those ideas are executed and the final product is even better than you would have imagined. That’s exactly the case with the Jordan Brand Aero Flight wrestling pack that takes the look of a few of your favorite WWE superstars from back in the day and turns them in to shoes.

The three wrestlers turned in to shoes — Macho Man (above), Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Legion of Doom (after the jump) — all have distinctive looks and are all therefore distinctive shoes. Jordan Brand’s non-signature models don’t get a lot of love even though they are always solid performance sneakers, but maybe that is because they usually aren’t based on looks from when wrestling was at its most hilarious. I don’t know if this will change that perception, but maybe it will lead to more shoes that look like wrestlers, which would be good news for all of us. Plus, if Stephen Jackson wears any of these during the season, even better.

Personally, the Jake the Snake and Macho Man ones are my favorite, mostly because the Legion of Doom shoes just look like normal shoes and are quite obviously lacking the requisite spikes that come along with any thought of LOD. And though this is a great start, I think we’d all love to see these expanded to include such luminaries as Hulk Hogan (red and yellow) and the Ultimate Warrior (pinks and oranges, with outrageously long laces). In fact, I wouldn’t be mad if Jordan Brand decided to make 50 versions of these, just so they could feature guys like Bam Bam Bigelow (all flames) and Tatanka (mostly brown with a red stripe down the middle). Maybe you’re not crazy about the shoe since the Aero Flight isn’t a sneaker that gets people super excited, but you have to admit basing them on wrestlers is still very smart. Ooooohhhhhhh, yeeeeeeaaaaaaah.

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Today is Wonderful Crossovers Day, apparently. First, it was Justin Timberlake and basketball. Now it’s basketball video games and custom shoes. Best day ever? Maybe.

From IGN:

Visual Concepts spent perhaps the most amount of time during my demo showing me their craziest feature yet: the Shoe Creator. Yes, they’ve had a basic version of this before, but the ends of the earth they’ve gone to on this smack of a studio that clearly has no competition to worry about and is free to pursue flights of fancy like this (again, I mean that in a nice way!). 2K13′s Shoe Creator is, essentially, the virtual shoe equivalent of Forza Motorsport 4′s livery system. Except in that game, you can’t click a button when you’re done and order the car you just designed, complete with that custom paint job.

Yes, you can build your own kicks using different materials, colors, patterns, and more. Dozens of layers (45 of them, to be exact) let you highlight every detail you like. You can then upload those to the web, where other users can rate them. Want to go a step farther? Get this: the game syncs with the NikeID website and you can actually have your virtual shoe made real and shipped to your door.

Creating your own shoes in a basketball game is pretty fun in its own right, but being able to actually order those shoes that you just created is incredible. It’s like the exact opposite of what I did with 2K13, when I recreated a pair of custom “Fast and Furious” Nikes for my video game character. This is way, way better.

It is dangerous though. It’s going to take 15 minutes to create a shoe, then you’re going to have a great game in My Player and then you’ll be like, “Well, I should honor this game somehow…” Next thing you know, you’ve got a closet full of shoes you made while playing video games. It’s a slippery slope of special shoes. Trust me.

But still, this is awesome, even if you do end up with way more shoes than you could possibly need. Considering you’re the one who designed them, it’s just like a parent hanging their kids’ drawings on the fridge. At least that’s how I’m going to justify going way overboard with this.

When you really think about it, there is probably no better player-shoe company fit in the NBA than Dwyane Wade wearing Jordan Brand shoes. He’s an elite shooting guard who is capable of making huge, highlight reel plays on both ends of the court, who constantly attacks and who, oh yeah, is from Chicago. Not to mention, he’s spent the entirety of his career thus far playing for a team that wears black, red and white. It is a literally perfect fit, which is exactly why the brand put Wade right alongside MJ to launch the Air Jordan 2010.

Except, as Nick De Paula from Sole Collector magazine tells us in a very interesting post about big name players without shoe deals, it’s not quite as perfect as it may seem.

Despite literally all of the stars aligning, the endorsement deal somehow didn’t end up working out for either party. Wade signed on with the understanding that he would be the lone man to lead the annual Air Jordan shoe each February, a huge undertaking and passing of the torch for a guy who grew up on the south side of Chicago and as a teen idolized MJ during the Bulls’ legendary ’90s run. Once Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and others rocked the Air Jordan 2010 during Wade’s very first All-Star Weekend with the brand, the plan seemed to already be in disarray and the relationship more fractured than anyone wanted to admit at the time.

By all accounts, Wade can certainly be sensitive to work with at times and indecisive when it comes to product feedback. The brand’s efforts to make up and launch his very own signature Fly Wade series for each spring’s playoff run churned out two models that struggled mightily at retail. With an endorsement price tag of nearly $10 million a year and all kinds of athlete service stress to deal with in the form of custom sneaker modifications and extra attention, perhaps Jordan Brand doesn’t see the value in extending Wade’s deal this summer.

As it stands, there isn’t a product plan in place for DWade with his third Fly Wade shoe already scrapped for this season. After starting on such a promising note with so many complementary qualities seemingly working in both Wade and Jordan Brand’s favor, it’s looking like that partnership will come to an end just three years in.

Very weird that this isn’t working out. I talked to Wade right after he signed up with Jordan Brand and he told me that getting a call from Michael Jordan to wear his shoes was “one of the unbelievable moments in my entire life, and it’s something I take with pride. Because I got the call from Michael Jordan himself. His brand is his name. It’s his logo. So it really means a lot.” Less than two years later, that relationship is over?

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Pretty cool last few months for LeBron James. He got his third MVP trophy, won his first NBA championship, got his first Finals MVP, and yesterday, led Team USA to the gold medal under the watchful and approving eye of international action star Vin Diesel. As Chris Paul said, “It’s the best summer ever.” So naturally, Nike is hooking one of their signature athletes up with some special shoes, as yesterday’s game against Spain gave us the first glimpse of LeBron’s 10th signature shoe, the LeBron X.

As you can see, these LeBrons are the latest in a series of gradually changing sneakers that started with the LeBron 7, which were the first of LBJ’s shoes that we saw with the drastic heel-to-tongue angle that has become a mainstay of the line. As usual, LeBron’s getting the best technical stuff the Swoosh has to offer: Flywire, Hyperfuse, the brand’s first full-length visible Zoom Air cushioning, Nike+ sensors that send information to an app that tracks your performance and cetera. Also as usual, the shoes look really comfortable, though I imagine they’d be bulky on little guys. It’s hard to design a shoe that looks right on a guy the size of LeBron, while also still making sense for a guy the size of Tom Cruise. I like them though, and the tiny United States flag is a particularly nice touch.

In particular, these remind me a lot of the LeBron 8 PS, which are one of my favorite shoes to ever play in and are still out on my balcony, just in case I ever need some comfort food shoes. The upper, the triangles, the red sole all feel familiar. The big difference is on the left shoe, where the swoosh is facing the wrong way, as the fat part is usually towards the front of the shoe. You don’t often see that on Nike shoes, and while it may seem minor, it’s the kind of thing people notice. Doesn’t bother me personally, but I can definitely see how some people don’t like it.

So yeah, new shoes for LeBron James at a pivotal moment in his career. No surprise there. The shoes are due to release in January, with the standard model going for a standard $180 and the super technological Nike+ ones going for a rumored whopping $315. Hit the jump for more shots, including some of a golded-out version that reminds me of the “Watch the Throne” cover and are probably LeBron-only. Let’s hear what you think in the comments.

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I mentioned this in last night’s podcast, but since it’s been the most 1992 moment of this year’s Olympics, it’s worth elaborating upon. As I am about to prove to Tas Moleas, this is far more than a cool story bro.

Up there, wearing No. 9 for Tunisia, is Mohamed Hadidane. On his feet, as you can see, are one pair of Team USA Nike Elite socks and one pair of Team USA Nike Zoom Kobe VIIs, both of which were made specially for these Olympics for the United States team. As I’m sure you guessed, this is exactly what Kobe Bryant wears during games.

I noticed this during the second quarter of yesterday’s Tunisia-USA game, thanks to that telltale star on the socks. It wasn’t surprising that another player was wearing a pair of Kobes, since that happens all the time. But it was pretty funny that a player from another country would be wearing such specifically American stuff. It just seems so fanboy-ish.

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I am going to go out on a limb that Jordan Crawford doesn’t always keep his shoes in the fridge, but that he’s certainly down to throw some Kevin Durant kicks on the shelves when KD’s really rolling. I haven’t decided if that’s a metaphor for a) Kevin Durant being cold as ice or b) Kevin Durant heating up and needing to cool down, but I’m confident that either of those are as good of an explanation as you can hope to receive.

Or maybe Jordan Crawford just has a really weird form of pica. I guess that’s feasible, but I’ve never known him to wear chewed up shoes.

(via Bullets Forever)

When you are both the Most Valuable Player of a major sports league and the Most Valuable Endorser of a major shoe company, you’re going to get special shoes when you take home a trophy. We’ve seen it in the past and that’s just how it works. Strike while the iron is hot and all that. Yesterday, LeBron James and Nike struck while the iron was super duper skin-melty hot, lacing LBJ with a special edition of his LeBron 9 kicks for Game 1 of the Heat’s second round series with the Indiana Pacers.

As you can see in the pictures after the jump, there are a bunch of little MVP-y flourishes to these sneakers. You’ve got the fancy diamondish MVP plate on the back, some very cool nods to LeBron’s other MVPs in the shoe’s liner and a faded colorway we’ve never seen on this shoe. Pretty cool look, says me.

Peculiarly, however, is that LeBron only wore these for the first half of yesterday’s game, switching to the LeBron 9 Elite in the second half. I guess he prefers the updated technologies and tougher shoe he gets from his playoffs kicks to flossing another MVP trophy which he says means nothing if the Heat don’t win the title. Suit yourself, but I like the pop LeBron gets from the MVP shoe. Very flashy, which is perfect for Miami.

Rumor has it that a limited number of these MVP kicks are going to hit retail, though no release details are available. Let’s just assume they’re going to be costly and hard to get a hold of, just like an MVP trophy. Sure, LeBron gets ‘em all the time, but us normal people won’t ever have a chance.

Detailed photos after the jump.

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