by Lang Whitaker | @langwhitaker

LOS ANGELES — “I actually feel like I’m cheating when I play in my shoe,” Chris Paul said, holding aloft his latest signature kick, the Jordan CP3.V.

Paul was speaking this afternoon to a crowd of media gathered in downtown Los Angeles at the Cooper Tower. Jordan Brand transformed an empty loft space atop the building into a temporary showroom for the CP3.V, with several installations showing different parts of Paul’s life: his childhood in North Carolina, his high school, college and pro careers. Chris talked fondly about growing up in North Carolina and playing basketball with his brother, and losing basketballs that bounced into the woods where snakes hid in the weeds, making the Paul brothers afraid to reach for the ball.

CP3 classifies himself as “a shoe fanatic, a shoe freak,” and he said he spends time nearly every day on all the sneaker websites looking for the latest info. Jordan designer Tom Luedecke said he and Paul met “six or seven times” last year, brainstorming ideas and tweaking the designs. As for their work process, Paul said, “I talk, Tom sketches.”

Where other shoes are built for interior players or a power game, the CP3.V was designed to allow Paul to take advantage of his quickness and speed. According to Jordan designer Tim Luedecke, the aim of the shoe was “crystal clear: sprint and cut.” While the shoe was being designed, Chris went out to Portland and spent about four hours in Nike’s labs, “running, cutting, jumping… everything.”

If you want to get technical about the CP3.V, the shoe has Flywire construction throughout the upper, which makes it twenty percent lighter than previous models. Something called “Podulon Technology” gives a cushioning pillar in the midsole, and strategically placed on the heel to be responsive. Dual-density cushioning in the forefoot features Cushlon ST II on the medial side, to be responsive at push-off, and compressed molded phylon on the lateral side to enhance stability when making hard cuts. The shoe has a bit of give when you cut inside or outside—Luedecke compared the cushioning to the way cars on racetracks “bank” when going around curves.

All the guts aside, Paul clearly enjoyed talking about all the hidden hits in the shoe that nod to his life. For instance:

• There are triangles all over the shoe, but if you actually stop and count, there are 61 of them, a tribute to Chris’s grandfather, Nathaniel Jones, who was murdered at age 61.

• Somewhere along the side are five small slashes, to represent the fifth shoe.

• On the heel of the left shoe, there are a series of dots — nine, then ten, then eleven. A reference to the date of Chris’s wedding, 9/10/11.

• On the heel of the right shoe are a different series of dots — five, two, four, nine. That is for Chris’s son’s birthday, 5/24/09.

• Because Chris is so into bowling, he wanted some sort of tribute. So in a nod to the way bowling shoes have the size on the back of each shoe, each pair of CP3.V’s have the size printed on the sole.

• The tip of each shoelace has 336 printed on it — the area code from North Carolina where Chris grew up. He suggested that the CP3.VI could go with 310.

The CP3.V will drop January 11, and retail for $120.