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Design Insight With Brett Golliff: Epic | Elite | NIKE — An Interview With Jason Petrie & Leo Chang

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The elite choose Kevlar, Flywire and Carbon Fiber to help provide them with the chance of writing their names in the rafters and etching their accomplishments out in gold. LeBron James did just that by earning himself his first NBA ring and first Finals MVP. He did it in an elite fashion by placing a tired, injured and overworked Heat team on his back and carrying them to new heights. But he didn’t do it alone. The innovators at Nike Basketball crafted a shoe that would allow him to elevate his game to the next level by being “light like air and stronger than steel.”

From a design standpoint the Nike Elite collection provided a vast amount of inspiration for me. It was refreshing to see lightweight created in the proper way as opposed to just shedding layers to create the lightest weight product possible. The Elite series reengineered materials and proportioned patterns to provide the best fit and feel for the Nike athletes as they embarked on an epic playoff journey.

I sat down to break down the Nike Kobe VII System Elite, the Nike Zoom Hyperdunk 2011 Elite and the championship winning Nike LeBron 9 PS Elite with Nike Basketball designers Leo Chang and Jason Petrie.

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Brought to you by Designer, Blogger and Footwear Extraordinaire Brett Golliff.

One thing that I’ve heard about the Nike Elite Series is that you considered it kind of like a concept car. I think it’s a good comparison. I’ve looked at this like if the signature series for the regular Hyperdunk, the regular Kobe, and the regular LeBron is like the Porsche 911, is it fair to say that the Elite Series is like the Porsche 911 GT3 or the higher version of it?

Leo Chang: Yeah, absolutely. J, you could probably talk to this because it probably started from LeBron the whole notion of going from regular season to the Playoffs. You’re going from an already amazing Mercedes to this AMG kind of version of it. So your analogy is spot on, yeah.

Jason Petrie: You know that literally is kind of how LeBron framed it up to us. He has this separate mindset when he goes into the postseason. For him, that’s the biggest stage, brightest lights, I want the ultimate expression of my shoe to come to life for the playoffs. And so when we’re having that initial discussion decided we wanted to go deeper into the product and obviously LeBron has access to vehicles and things that we can only dream about. He’s had the experience of owning the finest in Mercedes, the AMG version, or whatever car it is, so he started immediately making these correlations to these cars where he could tell the difference between maybe a car he had at one point and now the souped up version that he had that he really wanted that to come to life and that drove the thought process throughout this Elite Collection.

Continue to page 2 of our CounterKicks interview for more Elite details from Chang and Petrie…

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Category : Blogs, CounterKicks, Design Insight, Features, Interviews, Nike

Comments (3)

I strongly disagree that good ol’ encapsulated air is “elite” or “performance” it’s maybe one of the biggest gimmicks of all time and without a doubt on certain bodies it triggers/worsens severe / chronic musculoskeletal problems (yeah, i’ve done my homework)…kevlar, flywire and carbon fiber? well, we all saw that blake griffin incident.

Great interview tough Brett, Chang and Petrie deserve all my respect for getting out nice designs out there but i don’t know…haven’t seen anything from nike lately get even close to “classic” or revolutionary (or from any other brand for that matter)

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Again with the sneaker car analogies, ‘eh? It’s flat out ridiculous to draw that comparison, and it’s self serving for Nike at best. Basketball shoes are not supposed to be luxury items, they are functional pieces of equipment. Hoops shoes are supposed to protect the foot, remaining in tact, doing their job, just as a construction boot are to do for the worker in that field. I am not going to wear a pair of suede Gucci’s to operate a jackhammer on a work site, which is a more appropriate comparison to make, in regard to “performance” footwear.

Also, it is well known that LeBron wears a souped up orthotic, which when placed inside of a shoe, changes the cushioning dynamic, also feel and shape of any sneaker. So to claim that LeBron loves the “fit and feel” of his shoe, really isn’t saying much either. With that sort of insert, LeBron could get it done in a pair of Chucks, without fearing repercussion.

More than once there are thinly veiled snipes at Adidas’s Crazy light shoe throughout the read. Well, if the Elite series is all that, then Jason Petrie would have kept his tweetings to himself.

There is no such hubris now, only a fear that the unthinkable, the unimaginable has happened.

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brett youre design blogs are great they have helped me alot learning more on the industry

the sticky pads really help on the kobe elite i got! want the mia bron 9 elites if i could afford it

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