CounterKicks was on hand at the event in Chicago and got a chance to pick the brain of Rob Lee, Creative Director for adidas America, who along with the project’s lead designer Kohei Kanata helped guide the D Rose 4 to the shoe you’ve come to know. Get the inside scoop on the D Rose 4’s duality theme, how they incorporated the brand’s new Crazyquick platform, Derrick’s feedback on the design, and more ahead.
CounterKicks: The concept for a signature shoe is always is several months ahead of its successor. With all the time to focus on the Rose 4 and get Derrick’s thoughts, how did the Rose 4 come to be what we see today?
Rob Lee: We have a whole concept process. Since Derrick is our icon, it takes 18 months, minimum to think about an idea for Derrick that we can bring to the court and what it’s going to be like 18 months from a style standpoint. So we think about that and from the experience of working with Derrick, we need that much time be able to integrate his feedback as well.
When we do concepts, we kind of go way out in bringing in a lot of [ideas]. Kohei did the [Rose] 3, the 3.5 and now the 4. He’s got this desire to build the best shoe for Derrick to win championships and to bring out Derrick’s personality. Derrick is heavily involved in his collection and what does it that mean, how is it authentic.
So we had a sea of sketches on the table and this one was just – the idea of duality for us and this difference of Derrick’s style of play as well as his off-court personality. Nobody is perceived the same way, nobody has that same thing to him, so how do we exploit that. How do we bring that to life in the shoe? There was this shoe and Kohei just did a thumbnail sketch, just a hardline sketch and everyone just [got drawn] to that. There was this big concept meeting in Germany and there’s just this sea of sketches and there’s just this little, small sketch on this page – not even the one that we had drawn up as the real thing – and everyone ran towards this small thing.
It was based off the iconic-ness and this unapologetic view of splitting something in two and having two different personalities to it.
CK: We all know Derrick’s game is built on speed. With him sitting out all of last year, he talked last season about not knowing how his game would be different. Did that factor into any decisions on material, extra cushioning or more stability?
Lee: We want to bring the best technology we have into this shoe. We knew that, based on studying Derrick’s film and understanding the way he moves on the court, we knew that this would have an immediate advantage for him. Whether he’s hurt or not, we’re confident that this is the best shoe for him from a fit-standpoint to being locked into his shoe and be able do what he needs to do on the court. We learn every day from things … how he plays, how he trains and all of that stuff. I can’t say that there’s one thing with Derrick being injured that was [incorporated] into this shoe.
He’s got the best of technology that we develop for him. It’s custom to him, so he’s definitely active in those traits [of the shoe].
Click the next page to find out how many people worked on the D Rose 4 project…