// : Nike’s Next New Footwear Technology : // Nike Flyweave

By now, anyone that is remotely into sneakers has heard the term Nike Flyknit or knows about the footwear technology. Since debuting on the feet of athletes at the 2012 London Olympic Games, the knitted footwear technology has made its way from originating in running, to going to baseball, basketball, soccer, and training. It is truly one of Nike’s best innovations in years. The technology is made up of yarns that are knitted together to form the upper of a shoe to form to your foot. Flyknit has come a long way since 2012 and has been proven to be a great advancement for footwear, but Nike may have come up with something that could top Flyknit or even be a great substitute for it across a more broad spectrum of categories.

Nike Flyweave, pictured on a sample round of the Nike KD8

Nike Flyweave, pictured on a sample round of the Nike KD8

First debuted on the Jordan XX9 in 2014, Nike Flyweave is a technology that is an upper material of a shoe that is engineered to provide targeted support in areas that need it for specific movements. Depending on your sport, there are different types of Flyweave sneakers that can serve the athlete in different ways that Flyknit may not be able to. Flywave is comprised of an intricate weave of warp and weft threads that can come together as one to make a textile that is extremely durable and flexible, yet still very supportive. The technology was designed by Nike designer Thomas Bell, who was worked on textiles for Nike in the innovation kitchen for over a decade. Four years ago, Bell was inspired by long-lasting textiles used in the aerospace industry which gave him the idea for Flyweave. Pictured below is how Flyweave is created.

Flyweave

Flyweave

“Flyweave is one of the most exciting innovations I’ve seen at Nike – inspired from traditional weaving methods, but with the strength and reliability of aerospace materials,” said Bell. The limitations for Flyweave are endless, especially with the uppers and different colors/designs that the designers can come up with to incorporate into the shoes.

Flyweave, featured on the Jordan XX9

Flyweave, featured on the Jordan XX9

Fellow Nike footwear designer and Nike Basketball design director Leo Chang is also very excited about the future for Flyweave. “Flyweave offers us an amazing technical advantage in basketball to create incredible strength with a precise, comfortable fit. We have some exciting news on the way and the response from athletes has even exceeded our expectations,” Chang said. Chang, who was brought on by Nike in the mid-to-late 2000’s, has been the designer for all of Kevin Durant’s shoes so far all the way up to the KD8, which recently just released. Chang incorporated the use of Flyweave for Durant’s latest shoe, a first for the Nike Basketball category following the incorporation of Nike Flyknit in basketball in 2013.

Flyweave upper featured on the Nike KD8

Flyweave upper featured on the Nike KD8

Flyleaf featured on the Nike Tiger Woods '15

Flyleaf featured on the Nike Tiger Woods ’15

Flyweave featured on the Nike Calvin Johnson Elite and Calvin Johnson Trainer 3

Flyweave featured on the Nike Calvin Johnson Elite and Calvin Johnson Trainer 3

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Nike Calvin Johnson 3 Flyweave trainer

So far, Flyweave has been featured on four Nike shoes over the past year: the Air Jordan XX9 (basketball), Nike KD8 (basketball), Nike Tiger Woods ’15 (golf), Nike CJ Elite TD Cleat (football) and Nike CJ3 Flyweave Trainer (training) all pictured above. Flyweave truly is a incredible footwear innovation from Nike. It offers the ultimate fit, support, and durability for any shoe across the board. Nike can really utilize this technology to their advantage. Since Calvin Johnson is a big guy and plays a high impact sport such as football, Nike designers were able to develop an upper weave that took two years to develop that’s durable enough for his needs on the field for his game cleat and in the gym for his training shoe. The design team can make the weave stronger in certain areas where he may need it and making it a unique fit to his foot. The same is to say about the KD8, made for Kevin Durant. The Flyweave on the upper of the KD8 is the tightest Flyweave to date, all while featuring Dynamic Flawier cables integrated into the weave. The KD8 upper really hugs your foot well, yet offers you the support and flexibility you wouldn’t expect. There is no break in period and the shoe feels great right out of the box. The Flyweave really moves with your foot and feels like an extension of your foot. I honestly couldn’t believe the feeling of the Flyweave on the KD8’s when I tried them on. I believe Flyweave will be better for the sport of basketball rather than Nike Flyknit. From what we’ve seen from Flyknit on basketball, it can be tough to break in and not as uniquely fitting as to the Flyknit used on Nike running shoes. On the Kobe 9 Elite which featured Flyknit, there was a layer of fuse right below the top layer of Flyknit, creating a double layered material that some people didn’t like. with Flyweave, the upper of the shoe moves with you foot so freely, it almost makes more sense to feature it rather than Flyknit. When the KD8 is fully laced, you can actually also feel the extension of the Dynamic Flywire cables as well. Nike has had some issues with the over use of Dyamic Flywire in the past, using the cables on certain shoes that don’t necessarily need it. Hear me out, I do believe that Dynamic Flywire does work on certain shoes and definitely serves a purpose, but sometimes it is layered on top of a mesh on the upper of a shoe can kind of dangles, or on the internal side of the upper  of the shoe and isn’t fully activated. Not the case in the KD8 or even the Calvin Johnson Trainer 3. The fit is so unique that you can actually feel the Flawier cables serving a purpose.

Flyweave featured on the Nike KD8

Flyweave featured on the Nike KD8

With the introduction of Nike Flyweave a litter over a year old and starting to hit retail across different categories from Nike, expect to see the (new)er technology used on Nike footwear from here on out. The 2016 Summer Olympics are just one year away, so you know that Nike has some tricks up their sleeves and have been working on some technologies to debut at the Nike product that features Nike Flyweave, such as the products I mentioned in this post. The most accessible footwear to feature the technology will probably be the KD8, which will be at select retailers across the country now. Try the product on, see how it feels and maybe give it a try. Flyweave is here to stay and will most likely continued to be rolled out on more products from Nike.

Nike KD8

Nike KD8

 

 

 

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// : adidas D Lillard 1 : //

adidas-d-lillard-1-header This Friday (February 6th), adidas Basketball is officially welcoming Portland Trailblazers point guard Damian Lillard to the ‘signature shoe’ family from adidas and is set to release the adidas D Lillard 1 nationwide. Lillard, who had the live launch party for his signature shoe in mid January at adidas America HQ in Portland, Oregon, was all smiles as the brand celebrated the big day with guests such as rapper Future and media from all of your favorite footwear blogs. If you remember, I voiced my opinion about Lillard and how he deserved his own signature shoe from adidas Basketball back in May of 2014 (which you can view HERE) and I’m really glad to see that brand is moving forward with Lillard. Lillard is now the fourth active signature athlete for adidas Basketball, joining John Wall, Derrick Rose, and Dwight Howard. (images via: Sole Collector, adidas Basketball, and Casey Holdahl).

Lillard at the launch party of his signature shoe

Lillard at the launch party of his signature shoe

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 2.47.07 PM   D Lillard 1 Rip City Detail 1 (D68974) Horizontal

For the creation of Lillard’s logo, the design team wanted to represent all four O’s in his life: Oakland, for being Dame’s hometown, Ogden, to represent Ogden, Utah and Weber State where he went to college at, and Oregon, where he currently resides, and to also represent the #0 that he wears.

Lillard 1 Logo

Lillard 1 Logo

 

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As for the design aspects of the D Lillard 1, the shoe comes in a low-top cut form and features a full-length adiprene+ for cushioning and TECHFIT tongue and inner booty for premium comfort and stability. One of the first things you will notice about the shoe is the absence of adidas new wave technology, BOOST. First introduced in the running market of adidas Running, BOOST made its way onto adidas Basketball product in late 2014, being featured on the adidas Crazy Light BOOST, which retailed for $139.99. Although Lillard was the main promoter for the new Crazy Light BOOST and played in it for the beginning of the 2014-2015 NBA season, it was left off of his first signature shoe for pricing. Lillard realized the cost of implementing BOOST on his shoe and decided he wanted to keep the pricing lower for all of his fans to afford his shoe (which is priced at a smooth $105). A respectable move to Lillard and adidas Basketball. Lillard has voiced his love for BOOST on adidas product and expect to see it implemented going forward on his signature products from adidas. His shoe will do just fine without BOOST, in my opinion though. Adiprene+ is a good cushioning setup that adidas has to offer which will give Lilalrd the propulsion and ‘spring’ feel he needs. The technology is used mostly in adidas running footwear and basketball footwear, and has stood the length of time since first introduced by the brand.

adidas D Lillard 1 tech info

adidas D Lillard 1 tech info

The shoe was designed by adidas Basketball Design Director Robbie Fuller, who has been with the brand for some years and has a previous record for designing some of Derrick Rose’s shoes from adidas Basketball. The shoe was designed by Dame’s relentless attitude and love for the game. “We designed every aspect of this shoe to compliment Dame’s play on the court,” said Robbie Fuller, adidas Basketball Design Director (SoleCollector, 1/13/15). With Lillard playing for the Portland Trailblazers, and adidas having their adidas America Head Quarters in Portland, Lillard was able to have a very hands on feel during the whole design process. Usually what happens is when adidas signature Basketball athletes are in town to play the Trailblazers, designers will often have to set up times to meet up while the player is in town very briefly, maybe a day or two (outside of the the already scheduled meetings the athlete has with the brand ahead of time). That wasn’t the case with Lillard though, who was very vocal with his designers and would often go over to the brands HQ before/after practice and text his team of designers about anything he felt would help the process of his shoe. adidas is very lucky to have a guy like Lillard to be right in the same city as their HQ’s, which makes for an all around easier process from all aspects of creating a signature shoe for a big time athlete.

Robbie Fuller's initial sketch of the D Lillard 1 for Damian Lillard.

Robbie Fuller’s initial sketch of the D Lillard 1 for Damian Lillard.

Robbie Fuller D Lillard 1 sketch

Robbie Fuller D Lillard 1 sketch

Robbie Fuller D Lillard 1 sketch

Robbie Fuller D Lillard 1 sketch

Another cool aspect of the D Lillard 1 was how Lillard himself debuted the shoe on social media. Unlike other shoe brands who often times try to keep their signature shoes ‘under wraps’ and away from being leaked, adidas Basketball let Dame leak the shoe in mid October, four months ahead of the official launch and debut it on his personal Instagram with his famous #4barFriday posts where he raps a few lines and posts it to Instagram with the hashtag #4barfriday to interact with his fans. Instagram has become the common platform for brands to connect and interact with their fans and adidas wanted to give Lillard the ‘ultimate amount of control’ when it came time to show off the shoe to his fans. A very unconventional route, but will this be a new way we see brands interact in 2015?

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Lilllard wearing the D Lillard 1 in white/red for warmups of a Trailblazers home game

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Lilllard wearing the D Lillard 1 in white/red for warmups of a Trailblazers home game

The D Lillard 1 will hit retail February 6th for $105 at adidas.com and at Foot Locker in three different colorways. The shoe is also available for purchase on miadidas.com, adidas very own custom platform and will sell for $125.

// : adidas J Wall 1 : //

// : adidas J Wall 1 : //

After a disappointing signature line with Reebok Basketball, combo guard for the Washington Wizards joined forces with adidas Basketball in early January of 2013. After wearing special makeups of adidas Basketball footwear such as the Crazy Quick and Crazy 1 last season, … Continue reading

// : Nike Zoom Kyrie I : // Footwear Design Product Brief

// : Nike Zoom Kyrie I : // Footwear Design Product Brief

A few weeks back, I made a post about how rising NBA star and current Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving deserves his own signature shoe from Nike Basketball, which you can read HERE. Following that post and designing a shoe that … Continue reading

// : The Shock Heard Around the Sneaker World : //

The Big /// From left-right, Mark Miner, Denis Dekovic, and Marc Dolce. All three of these footwear designers played a pivotal role in different divisions at Nike HQ in Beaverton, Oregon.

The Big /// From left-right, Mark Miner, Denis Dekovic, and Marc Dolce. All three of these footwear designers played a pivotal role in different divisions at Nike HQ in Beaverton, Oregon and now will be heading to adidas.

This past Wednesday, it was announced that three of Nike’s biggest designers (as of late) were leaving Nike and jumping ship to work over for arch-rival and cross-town foe, adidas America, who is also based in Portland, Oregon. adidas America is opening a Design Studio in Brooklyn, NY where all three of these designers will call home and work on the future of adidas. The three footwear designers pictured above are Mark Miner, Denis Dekovic, and Marc Dolce.

This is big news for the adidas brand, just following the acquisitions of Kanye West, Pharell Williams, and former BAPE designer Nigo this past sumer. Big things are happening for adidas, but something needed to be done. The brand didn’t have a very good year in 2014 and recently got passed by rival Under Armour in U.S. sportswear sales, making Nike #1, Under Armour #2, and adidas now #3 in the U.S. With the likes of Kanye and co. on board, as well as the pick-up of these three young designers from Nike, adidas is now coming for Nike’s throat. Although these three won’t be able to officially design for adidas for at least a year due to design clause rights (they’ll have to sit out a year before any of their designs can go into production), it does create more of a positive buzz for adidas as a company.

Some people may ask themselves, why would anyone want to leave a company like Nike for adidas, based on how big the rivalry is. However, each designer has at least 20+ years of experience in footwear design in the industry and know when to move on. When a new opportunity to create and design for a new company comes up, who could turn that down?

One of these designers is responsible for at least one Nike shoe you may own. Mark Parker was the senior footwear designer for Nike Running and had been with the brand for 6 years, coming from designing at adidas two years prior in 2006. While at Nike, Miner was the lead designer for the Nike Free Run line and the Nike Pegasus. He put Nike Running back on the map with some revolutionary designs and will look to do the same with the adidas performance line, which definitely needs improvements. I look forward to see what kind of amazing silhouettes he creates for adidas performance running.

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Mark Miner, designer of Nike Free Run

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Mark Miner, designer of Nike Free Run

Denis Dekovic was the lead designer behind Nike Football (soccer) the last couple of years, including this years World Cup, and was the senior designer of the Nike Magista, Nike Hypervenom, and Nike Mercical Superfly (Nike’s first Flyknit soccer boot). He played an instrumental role and innovating for Nike Football and getting Nike more recognition for Soccer in the U.S., with many people believing that adidas has the edge over Nike in Soccer. Although adidas may have won the World Cup this summer, (both teams in the championship match were sponsored by adidas, Germany and Argentina), the player that scored the go-ahead winning goal for Germany to defeat Argentina was wearing the Nike Soccer boots pictured below, designed by Dekovic.

Denis Dekovic, Senior Footwear designer, Nike Soccer

Denis Dekovic, Senior Footwear designer, Nike Soccer

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Denis Dekovic, Senior Footwear designer, Nike Soccer, Nike Hypervenom in hand.

The last designer of the trio to leave Nike for adidas is footwear designer Marc Dolce. Dolce had also been with the brand for some years now and had created some very innovative shoes for former NBA player Penny Hardaway and led the design team for the recent redesign of the Lunar Air Force 1. If you follow Dolce’s Instagram feed, you will see all Nike-porn pictures he has posted, showcasing shoes from Jordans to classic Nike Basketball silhouettes all over. This was the hardest for me to believe, just because he has been so close with the brand and the rejuvenation of the Penny Hardaway line and Nike Sportswear.

Marc Dolce, Footwear Designer, Nike Basketball and Nike Sportswear.

Marc Dolce, Footwear Designer, Nike Basketball and Nike Sportswear.

Marc Dolce, Footwear Designer, Nike Basketball and Nike Sportswear.

Marc Dolce, Footwear Designer, Nike Basketball and Nike Sportswear.

Now what does this mean for Nike, with these three designers gone? Not much. Nike still has some heavy hitters on their roster, with the likes of Tinker Hatfield, Jason Petrie, Nathan VanHook, and Leo Chang. The departure of these three also leaves room for up-and-coming designers and new talent for Nike, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Nike is always looking to innovate and it is in the brands genes to do so. They are always one step ahead of the competition and have the reputation of being the best footwear brand ever. Although these three designers did a lot for Nike, their time has come to move on. The next flock of designers will be in soon enough to innovate and create for Nike.

// : The Evolution of Zoom Air for the LeBron Signature Series : //

// : The Evolution of Zoom Air for the LeBron Signature Series : //

The LeBron James Nike Basketball line has come a long way since the release of his signature shoe, the Air Zoom Generation, back in 2003 (yes, it has been that many years). Along the way, Nike has incorporated a different … Continue reading