: // Stephen Curry Wins Big for Under Armour : //

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Just this past week it was announced that Warriors guard Stpehen Curry had been named the NBA 2014-2015 MVP. Curry, who has overcome a tremendous amount of doubt since coming into the league in 2010, has really developed himself into a star over the past two seasons. After coming up  with a big win in the Western Conference Semi Finals last night against the Memphis Grizzlies, Curry and Co. tied the series at 2-2 a piece and proved he could bounce back from a bad game on a big stage like the Playoffs. (Images: Under Armour Instagram).

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After wearing Nike in college and for his first three seasons in the NBA, Curry left the brand and signed an endorsement deal with Under Armour in the Fall of 2013 that made him the face of the basketball brand. He then established himself as an elite point guard in the NBA, captured a gold medal once again this past summer at the FIBA Would Cup, started in the last two All-Star games, and on last Monday was named NBA’s Most Valuable Player of the whole league. What seemed like an odd choice to leave Nike, the world’s largest sportswear and apparel brand, for a smaller, yet to be proven footwear company like Under Armour seemed crazy. However, Curry believed in UA and UA believed in Curry. So much, that they designed his own shoe for him and let him be the face of basketball, which hasn’t turned out all that bad.

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With Curry winning the MVP award, Under Armour created a special Curry 1 for him celebrating his award. The shoe, pictured below, features a black-to-white-gold fade on the upper, reminiscent of the color of the MVP trophy. The shoe features gold accents as well as black and gold laces. As for the shoe it self, the Curry 1 is the most advanced basketball shoe Under Armous has created to date. The shoe features an Anaform upper, Charged cushioning set up, and a herringbone outsole for premium court grip. UA is a company known for meshes and foams, so it only made sense for them to include their best meshes and foams for the Curry 1. The Anaform upper really forms to your foot and gives it that locked in feel and hugging your foot for just the right fit. Below the first layer of the Anaform upper is a mesh (see holes on upper for veneration) which gives the shoe breathability and areas to cool the foot down when playing. As for the cushioning, the Charged cushioning system offers a plush soft feel for the foot, offering comfort from tip-off to the final buzzer. The shoe also features an external heel counter in the rear of the shoe to lock in the heel and ankle of the foot for support.

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Although UA Basketball is a growing brand, they do have a small number of athletes in the NBA. Currently, UA Basketball endorses Kent Bazemore of the Atlanata Hawks, Greivis Vasquez of the Toronto Raptors, Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets, Corey Brewer of the Houston Rockets, and Brandon Jennings of the Detroit Pistons, as well as a few more players in the league. With more shoes for Curry to come, that only means that the UA brand will rise, attracting more talent to the brand. UA is also sponsoring more college athletic teams as well. This past spring in the NCAA tournament, Under Armour saw a rise in on-air visibility due to the teams that the brand sponsored in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Currently of the major Division 1 programs they sponsored in the NCAA tournament included the University of Utah, Notre Dame, University of Maryland, and Stephen F. Austin. The brand also reelect acquired the University of Cincinnati from an ending adidas contract.

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As for Curry, he has really elevated himself and the whole company of Under Armour as a brand. He has put UA Basketball on the map. From not having a basketball footwear category a few years ago, to having the NBA MVP on your roster is a big jump, which has made me impressed with UA as a company. With everything that Curry has done and his already perfect image in the league and community, he has attracted so many new consumers to the brand. Teenagers all over the world now know who Stephen Curry is. He is their favorite player, favorite shooter to watch, favorite guy off the court. Teens idolize him and want to be like him. That is all good for UA as a brand and will only help UA continue to grow and to get kids in UA footwear or the Steph Curry 2, Curry 3…

The Baltimore, Maryland based company has made some tremendous strides in the footwear industry and is letting everyone know that they are here to compete now. Most recently, the brand purchased a large office space in Portland, Oregon to go along to compete with some of the best athletic sportswear companies in the U.S, such as Nike, adidas America, Keen, and Columbia Sportswear. Although UA already has a small office space in Portland, the brand is looking to expand on their design and development in Portland, by bringing in fresh, young, hungry, and new faces from the design hot bed that Portland is. Don’t be surprised to see or hear about UA snatching up designers from adidas, Nike, Keen or any other big footwear companies. It’s what a lot of brands in Portland already do, so it’s very common. Under Armous is a very hungry and humble company, yet ready to compete and win. With an athlete like Stephen Curry on their roster, their already growing category for women’s footwear and apparel, and new endorsees on the way, UA is here for good. Be on the lookout!

 

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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

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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.

// : Together | LeBron James : //

// : Together | LeBron James : //

Two minutes. Two minutes was all it took to send chills all throughout my body. Yes, being from the NE part of Ohio and being a Cavs fan played a factor, but this ad done by Portland, Oregon based advertising … Continue reading

// : Just For Kicks x Index PDX : //

// : Just For Kicks x Index PDX : //

This past Thursday, Portland consignment shoe store Index PDX, joined forces to go along side with Design Week here in Portland to put on a sneaker art show. On hand were adidas Superstar lows painted up and customized by various artists … Continue reading

// : Deadstock PDX Kickstarter Party ://

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Some of the shoes on display

Last night I was able to attend the kickstarter party for Deadstock PDX, a fundraiser event for an up-and coming coffee shop that will be featured inside Portand’s own very popular shoe store Index PDX. The event was very laid back, with cool giveaways such as Jason Markk shoe cleaning accessories, cheap drinks, and good people from the Portland area. The idea for Deadstock PDX was created by a mentor of mine, Ian Williams, who works at Nike as a Footwear Developer for mid-priced basketball shoes. His determination and ambition is what made the event possible and which will hopefully lead to a grand opening of Deadstock PDX coffee soon. There were plenty of sneaker heads on hand for the event, as well as many dope art pieces and of course awesome samples of shoes from Nike and Jordan Brand. The event it self was actually held at Pensole Footwear Design Academy in downtown Portland. Check out some of the photos from the event below! All of the elephant print you see in the photos below came directly from Jordan Brand and is the actual material they use on shoes that feature the material.

iside the event

Inside the event

Some Jason Markk goodies that were given away at the door

Some Jason Markk goodies that were given away at the door

Behind the scenes of the Pensole Design studio where students actually design at

Behind the scenes of the Pensole Design studio where students actually design at

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Actual cow hide featuring elephant print used on Jordan Brand shoes that came directly from Jordan Brand for the event

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More elephant print

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Local art for the event from Portland shoe store Index PDX

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Local art for the event from Portland shoe store Index PDX representing Voodoo Donuts in Jordan V form

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Local art for the event from Portland shoe store Index PDX representing Voodoo Donuts in Jordan XI form

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Kobe vs. The Black Mamba