As I spoke on in this video and this video, I spent the last few days up in Beaverton, Oregon with the team from Jordan Brand as well as a few other writers from around the country. The purpose of the trip was to get us familiar with the signature sneakers from the Jordan Brand line, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade, and to give our honest opinion on the shoes both on and off court. This process included talks with product managers, creative directors, designers, a look at upcoming colorways, and a chance to play in a version of all three.
For our first stop, we were treated to a highlight film of Michael Jordan. I must say that after all these years, it is still incredible to see some of the moves that he made. How explosive his jumping was, how quick he was, and how high he would get up, all contributed to him being one of the world’s greatest athletes. Each of these areas factor into every athlete’s game, however, Jordan Brand has created a signature series that treats each as a silo. Separated into Fly Around (Chris Paul), Fly Over (Dwyane Wade), and Fly Through (Carmelo Anthony), Jordan Brand’s signature basketball line will enable players of all styles to rock a performance based sneaker that caters to their style of play.
Chris Paul #FlyAround – CP3.V
There is no question about Chris Paul’s speed on the court. What Jordan Brand has done to compliment this style of play is create a low to the ground sneaker with several key area; weight, responsiveness, and build, that adapt to his skillset.
As described by Jordan Brand Creative Director, Andre Doxey, the CP3.V features a Flywire integrated upper with give the model strength, but also keeps it lightweight. Additionally, the model features a lower cut at the ankle which also shaves off some weight and enables a greater range of motion at the ankle. In practice, this keeps Chris light on his feet and allows him to make those quick cuts back and forth across the court.
As much as the next generation Flywire keeps the CP3.V light, it also adds to its build. Breathability is a major factor in basketball sneaker design and the Flywire allows the Jordan Brand team to reduce constrain in other area of the sneaker while “opening” up the sneaker for better air flow. For instance, the upper contains 61 triangles that represent Paul’s highest scoring game as well as the age of his grandfather when he died. These “triangles” improve the air flow of the sneaker as well as the mesh tongue.
With such a high level of impact on Chris’ feet, it was important for Jordan Brand to incorporate additional comfort to his signature sneaker. A new Jordan Brand specific technology, Podulon, has been incorporated into the heel and big toe area of the shoe and it gives a better response than previously seen in Chris’ line. The tech sits slightly above/below the outsole and in addition to the cushioning, provides additional impact protection for a lighter quicker player.
Chris Paul Specific Attributes:
In addition to the updates to CP3.V, Jordan Brand has included a few attributes that are specific to the Chris. He really liked the feel of an Achilles pad and requested one for this model. Additionally, Jordan Brand has included a “lip” at the 30 and 80 position on the lateral outsole to assist with stability when cutting and slashing through on the court.
Dwyane Wade #FlyOver – Jordan Fly Wade 2
For the Jordan Fly Wade 2, the signature shoe for Dwyane Wade, Jordan Brand was faced with updating a relatively new silhouette that just launched earlier this year and matching the performance of one of the games most explosive players. Speaking with Jordan Brand Designer Mark Smith, we found that focus for the model can be separated into three area: Comfort, Traction, and Style.
Comfort is key in all basketball sneakers, and Jordan Brand has expanded on the original Fly Wade with the famous Lunar Foam often spotted in the runners Nike produces. The Lunar Foam extends the full length of the midsole and is known for its ultra-plush cushioning and responsiveness. According to Mark, this helped increase the court feel and bounce.
Though it is often over-looked, traction can make the difference between a killer cross-over and stolen basketball heading the other way on the court. For the Fly Wade 2, Jordan Brand designers incorporated a three-point herringbone. The herringbone design has proven a staple in the Nike camp and the multi-directional version used on the Fly Wade 2 is incorporated in different sizes on different areas of the outsole.
Playing in Miami, it is not only important that your shoe can perform, it has to also look nice. For the Flywade 2 Jordan Brand followed the advice of Wade and stayed away from the glossy finish and focused more on bolder anodized finishes. Additionally, you can see how Jordan Brand drew from the Air Jordan 13 for the side panels.
Mark Smith also introduced us to Wade’s new logo. Like the shoe, Jordan Brand wanted to go with something functional, yet simple. The result is a “W” shaped just oddly enough so that if it is turned on its side, it is a “3”, Wade’s jersey number, and if placed upside down, it looks like an “M”, for Miami.
Carmelo Anthony #FlyThrough – Melo M8
The Melo M8 by Jordan Brand hit the web a few weeks ago and has already started to receive praise from the sneaker community. For the last leg of our trip, we spoke with Jordan Brand designer Justine Taylor, who gave us the 411 on the tech behind the Knicks newest addition. Like the others, Jordan Brand focused on specific attributes of the shoe to elevate Melo game.
As a bigger player, Carmelo’s requirements on a sneaker are a little different from the other signature athletes. Melo needed something that was strong enough to support his power plays in the post, and also allow him the ability to move freely on the wing; the answer was Flywire. Jordan Brand incorporated Flywire into the upper to keep the model light, but also give the strength needed for a powerful player like Melo. They also added an internal heel counter to support those post moves as well as TPU overlays for durability and support.
Big men abuse their feet on the court, so JB focused a lot of attention on the comfort and responsiveness of the sole on the M8. A Max Air Unit sits in the heel to provide the added protection need when coming down from a powerful dunk. The forefoot has been updated to include a Nike Zoom unit to keep the model light and responsive while Melo is in that three-point stance and ready to blow by someone on the wing. Finally, a full length injected phylon midsole provides an additional layer of cushioning and support. Style: Of course being in New York, it is necessary for the M8 to look great as well. Patent leather is used along the side panels, while TPU overlays and mesh are used over the rest of the design. The patent leather rand is actually modeled after Melo’s style of play with the dip representing when Melo kind of dips down and sizes his opponent before making his move, and the “moment of truth”, a moment when Melo looks down and sizes up his opponents.
Overall, Jordan Brand has put together a series of sneakers that should cater to your style of play, no matter what it is. If you are quick, the improvements made to the CP3.V will definitely help you #flyaround your defender, if your game is more focused on the #flyover style, the new Fly Wade 2 is both light and responsive enough to keep your game tight. Finally, if you are a bigger more s explosive player, the Melo M8 has both strong and comfortable enough for you to take you game from the wing to the post. So the only question that remains, is how will you take Flight?