Kyrie Irving and Nike Basketball have officially unveiled his 5th signature shoe with the brand today, the Nike Kyrie 5. So what does the Kyrie 5 entail? First it starts off with a new Nike Air Zoom unit engineered to help the All-Star guard play quicker and sharper. Benjamin Nethongkome, designer of the KYRIE 5, breaks down its three critical elements:
1. An articulated forefoot zoom bag This is a huge technological unlock for supporting guard play. Why? Because of its unique properties, the Air Zoom Turbo unit curves to wrap the bottom and sides of the foot. “In the Kyrie 5, it is distributed across the entire forefoot footbed, working with his quick-change-of-direction style of play. When he’s banking, cutting, or attacking in drastic degrees, his foot will engage the Air Zoom Turbo unit providing responsiveness at all directions,” explains Nethongkome.
2. A new containment system Inspired by a Venus Flytrap, this feature creates optimal containment above the Air Zoom Turbo unit. “The Flywire is arranged so that it locks the foot into the Air Zoom Turbo unit, and this amplifies the responsiveness of Zoom in the forefoot,” says Nethongkome. “We wanted it to be both beautiful and improve on fit and feel.”
3. A new traction pattern This draws direct inspiration from Irving. “The traction system for the Kyrie 5 creates stability through discreet geometries,” says Nethongkome. “Have you seen the Hamsa hand tattoo on his left arm? It’s a symbol of protection for him, it kind of shields him from all the bad juju, and so it became the jump-off point for the shaping of the outsole patterns. He wants to have more than just a basketball shoe. And this allows us to apply more of his spirit throughout the shoe.”
The Kyrie 5’s design and lifespan — every colorway through the season — all bare Irving’s stamp of approval. Some of the changes from early prototypes include a shifting of the Swoosh placement and a re-sculpting of the collar. Beyond that, and as Irving stresses above, he is beginning to embrace the value of using his signature line as a platform for more diverse storytelling. He’s also become more vocal about creating what he wants in terms of driving color and overall design, regularly noting thoughts and sharing them with Nethongkome.
To find the right balance of honesty and style, Irving asks himself a series of questions: “What are you willing to try? What are you willing to push forward? What are you willing to go see? What are you willing to bring into the influence of what you’re creating?”
These questions will be answered throughout the season. Look out for a series of special edition KYRIE 5 colorways that tap into both Irving’s past passions and the contemporary creative forces that are inspiring him today.
The Nike Kyrie 5 launches November 22 in the Black Magic colorway. The shoe will release December 6 in China.
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