The Air Jordan 2011 Is Here!

by January 26, 2011

Q: Clearly this started after Dwyane had signed with Jordan, as opposed to the 2010, which he wore but was clearly in the works before he signed. So this is the first shoe designed that you knew he’d be wearing. I’m curious how that impacted you and Tinker, and also when Dwyane got involved and what he had to say about everything.
TL: So one of the first sketches out of that series from November already said “For DWade” in one of the sketches. So Tinker definitely was thinking of him as an athlete—his style of play really lends itself to the concept well, and vice versa: the concept really lends itself to his style of play. He was the athlete that we were thinking about, along with the entire stable of Jordan athletes, so definitely part of the plan there. We always check with MJ on the game shoe, because that’s a key inspiration point for us, and we want to make sure the concept is thoroughly gone through at that point, and we have an agreeance as a team, because MJ is a part of our team. But [the sneaker was designed] definitely with Dwyane in mind. So Dwyane’s a great closer, for example, and his style of play now is sort of how I described before. The first three quarters you might see him on the perimeter; fourth quarter, a closer, he goes in and goes in the paint and plays a quicker style of basketball than the first three quarters. That’s what people know him for, that’s what he’s respected for in the game of basketball. We’re trying to serve him this product.

Q: When did you guys show Dwyane and what did he have to say about it?
TL: He’s practicing with the product as we speak, and we had a couple checkpoints to make sure his fit is right and he trusts the product, and we had some feedback that we needed to include, more on the technical side. But the product’s beautiful; he loves the product from an aesthetic perspective. There were some tweaks we had to do to the product in order to make sure it fits him right, and his mechanics are addressed. So definitely had to check in, probably in August.

Q: The performance aspects are clear, as always with Jordan, but what will make it a success is if non-players wear it. What do you think makes it stand out for the guy who’s gonna play in it once or is never gonna play in it? For collecting, or wearing it to school or work…
TL: It’s extremely iconic, even when we were wear-testing, we get players on the court wearing the shoe, giving us feedback, [and] some wanted to wear it to the side and take pictures of it. We have other products mixed in so there’s a balance of the proper testing with some of the controls. And [the sneaker is] extremely iconic. So 50 yards—where you can sit two courts away, three courts away, and can tell it’s a Jordan. You can call this out on the ground like no other shoe, quite honestly. It’s very sophisticated, very bold, graphically bold. And it’s very unique, in its distance read. You get up close and all these beautiful details—every surface is paid attention to and taken care of. Every thing you touch is there for a reason, attention to craft. So from a distance something you ironically are drawn to, and up close something you start loving. You get into it just because of the finishing details of it. So I’d say that, on the aesthetic side, a lot of energy was spent to make sure every single part of that shoe was beautifully crafted and finished.

Here’s a nice video clip from today:

The Jordan-inspired fun continues tomorrow, when I’ll get to wear test the shoes on the court at Madison Square Garden. I’ll then come to the office and get another post up about how they play and probably post some more photos and video, too. So be sure and come back then. And of course, if you want more on the shoe—right from the brand—you should check out Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to learn how the shoe plays and get more photos and video.