How much of these findings and the work that went into these three Elite shoes in particular is going to have kind of a trickle down effect? You guys have spent a lot of money on three shoes here. Do these findings and these learnings go mainstream on say the next coming line of shoes? Obviously I’ve seen the new Hyperdunk for the Olympic collection, it doesn’t look like it has as much, but how does all this affect the product line from here on out?
Petrie: I guess the most direct answer is we don’t know specifically how it will play out but we took a ton of learning away from it and a lot of knowledge of composites. I think there was a lot of learning on the production side as well. We’re having a great time just experimenting with new composites and finding really new solutions to these tried and true problems that basketball players have. So whether it’s carbon fiber or it’s carbon glass or a wing made of a totally different composite that we don’t even know yet, or it’s Pro Combat that evolves into a different form or location based on what we did with these shoes — I think all of those are certainly informing us now as we’re building projects for the future. I really love that concept car notion because that’s what it felt like building it, you know being told as a designer: “The shackles are off, there’s literally no price point, go crazy.” I don’t know how many times you’ve heard that in your design career but that would be the one and only time I’ve ever heard it. [Laughs].
Yeah, I’ve heard it zero. [Laughs].
Petrie: It was very freeing, as you can imagine. And that I think these are materials and processes that we have right now, but freeing the shackles and allowing you to look into other industries. You know, it could be titanium, it could be…graphene. Who knows what it’ll be as we go forward. It’s just kind of like starting to think outside of the box a little bit more and being allowed to go grab things outside of the box that you normally wouldn’t have in your normal toolbox of materials and processes and stuff because you know you’ll design whatever it is cost, time, yada, yada, yada.
Chang: And I think with that too is the shackles are off, but then it’s up to the designers also to show a little bit of restraint too, not just literally throwing the whole entire kitchen sink in there with the door and the fridge and everthing. There’s a point of just finding the right balance of what’s really appropriate for the performance of the shoe. You look at the P.S. – you look at all these shoes – you can tell why they’re there. The materials are there for this purpose.
It definitely has a holistic read to it, it’s not just “hey, I got a chance to use carbon fiber so I put it everywhere.”
Was that in itself probably the greatest challenge of the project, was that you had no shackles? Sometimes for me, as designers we definitely want to say “I don’t like limitations” but having just like 15 to 20 percent limitations is sometimes helpful where it’s like you know what you’re trying to solve. So was that a challenge at all not having any limitations?
Petrie: You know kind of the hardest thing to do sometimes is edit down. We worked as a team to make sure we stayed on each other because we do feel a responsibility to make sure that these are still accessible to most people. So yeah — I mean, we knew we didn’t want to do a whole carbon fiber shoe it just doesn’t make sense — but to be honest with you, if we would have built the LeBron P.S. the way my kind of initial stuff started coming back it probably would have been $300-350 not because we had carbon fiber everywhere but it was more like a little more Zoom over the Max and I just kind of went way out. But then as we started getting shoes back and realized, hey, we probably don’t need that, we can combine these two things, or we’re not getting any added benefits of this design so why put it in there and charge people for it, you know what I mean? It wasn’t just to use a technology just to say you used it if it didn’t really provide any extra benefits. We’re validating everything we do all along the way whether it be through testing or talking to the athlete or just talking to kids and they can help you get an answer with that challenge very easily.
Chang: When we started the process it was a lot of great ideas and filtering it down to the great ones. Across the board we also have some things that tied them all together like the Kevlar laces, the sockliner with the graphic on it, the sticky print on there, the carbon counters — all these things holistically brought everything together too because they applied to everything. It wasn’t just appropriate for one shoe. It was like these are great things that we can do on more than that. So that was kind of a great moment where we started editing down like “these are the ones that we can keep, these are the ones that we can just put on the LeBron P.S., and we can make them different but then have some tying threads, you know?