That makes sense. How have the players responded to it. Has there been a noticeable difference in them and how they feel about legit carbon fiber being on the side and have they noticed a different fit and feel?
Petrie: LeBron has been like it’s his best shoe yet as far as performance goes and the feedback from him has just been phenomenal. He hasn’t broken it down like all the carbon fiber wings is what’s doing it, but all he knows is it fits great, it feels great, it performs great, it looks great, and it represents him on that big stage. You know, I’ve been excited about the shoe but seeing him see the iterations — and he was excited at first — but by the time we showed him that final one it was all “woooo!” and “shit!” and all those responses that you want to get from your guy, so that’s the greatest reward.
Chang: With the Hyperdunk, obviously it’s not a signature shoe, but it’s a shoe that’s really versatile that a lot of players of all shapes and sizes and positions wear so we went through our regular wear test program to get the best durability test and feedback on those and the thing we got out of that was 80-90 percent of the players who wore them were like “these are phenomenal, these are amazing, the fit is incredible, lockdown is great,” and some of them were like “can we buy these right now?” off our own feet. That was like a really great kind of feedback that we got out of the Hyperdunk was just how much they loved it and they didn’t want to give them back. That was some of the earlier or middle of the process kind of sample that we were learning about at the time. They weren’t even the finished sample and to have that kind of feedback that early was just this resounding, positive thing about just how much they loved it was awesome to hear. That definitely was cool.
Was it the usual 18 month design to production process on this? A little shorter, a little longer?
Chang: Like I said earlier with the different seasons of each of the regular shoes it’s a little bit different for each. With the LeBron, that probably had the most time to execute because J started from the get-go. The Kobe was moving along the process with the regular inline one so that one probably didn’t have as much at the time but again, it’s a season out and so we were taking advantage of the ability to swap in and out components with the modular system, so it was really shortened but we knew we could pull it off. It was different timelines for each.
Petrie: We actually started the 9 P.S. slightly after we started the 9 which was literally right after “The Decision” a little bit later that summer so it’s almost been two years now that we’ve been working on it. You know 18 months is the standard and we got a couple of months jump on that just because we knew we needed a little bit of extra time to work with the carbon and test it the right way and all that. It’s a luxury that we don’t always have but it was nice to have it for these, or for that particular project.
Brett Golliff is a Lead Designer at General Motors and former Designer at New Balance.