Chang: With the Kobe VII Elite, again, the TPU counter turns into carbon fiber. Then you’ve got the Kurem pattern, this cast urethane pattern on the outer that we said, hey, let’s even reengineer that one. Opening up new tooling on that is an expensive thing to do for the limited pairs that we actually are releasing of this of 10,000 to 15,000. So we kind of went back to the Mamba notion of it’s Playoff time and it’s time to bring the Mamba back out and be more aggressive and deadly. We obviously did the Mamba on the Kobe VI, and I didn’t want to re-do that in the same way. The VI was cool but it was very organic and fluid, kind of more like pebbles, right?
Chang: So I wanted this one to be really precise and engineered so that when you actually look at it it’s a lot more condensed and tighter spaced in the areas of the shoe that you need more support like in the forefoot area, around the metatarsal head. As you get across the vamp in that flex area, we actually spread those scales apart so that they were more flexible. So really using basketball specific needs and applying that to this — somebody would think it’s just a graphic, but we’re making that graphic really functional. And then the other topper on that was just with this cast urethane process you can get really conventional with it and so with every scale being really sharp now, I was like let’s just make it even feel a little bit more deadly and even each scale kind of perks up in the back so it definitely looks like snakeskin where you can feel it and it has some bite to it which you can do with Kurem or the cast urethane which is cool.
That is really cool. Were you basically just sitting in Adobe Illustrator moving each one of those scales around or how were you doing that?
Chang: Yeah, there was some fine tuning of each of those for sure in Illustrator and just cross-sections making sure that even on the medial side — a lot of people might scuff their heels or bring the medial sides together or hit their ankles a bit so I wanted to make sure it wasn’t sticking up as much in the medial area so that you don’t cut your ankles or something. You want it to cut other people, you don’t want it to cut yourself you know? [Laughs]. Well, not literally — you know what I mean.
[Laughs]. Yeah, I know what you mean.
Chang: We also took the modularity thing with the Kobe System of being able to swap in and out midsoles and took advantage of that and said, alright well it’s Playoff time so let’s make sure he’s as quick and responsive as he can be and let’s go with the full-length Zoom midsole in that one. So there was an upgrade in terms of cushioning and responsiveness. You know for us, like me and Jason — I’m doing a lot of talking here, sorry J — he’s probably not even on the phone anymore, he’s probably in the bathroom or something.
Chang: But across the board we weren’t just looking at making these products uber-lightweight. It was about lightweight but also maintaining cushioning, stability, protection, fit, like a dynamic fit – all that stuff was really important to us and not just scraping every ounce out of it.
I think that’s a good point. Obviously lightweight has dominated the footwear industry in all categories for the past like five to seven years, right? And for me it’s like, you do lightweight when it’s necessary. There’s a point in having the lightest product, that’s fine, I don’t really feel like that’s that hard of a goal to achieve – it’s doing it properly and still having the performance elements that need to be there and still being lightweight is a success, if that makes sense. And I feel like you guys have accomplished that, you know? So that’s very respectable.
Chang: Absolutely, yeah.