Earlier this week, we got the chance to head down to Jordan Brand‘s showroom in New York City to get a preview of what’s in store from the sneaker giant for the holiday and spring. Fans of the new CP3.VI, as well as the upcoming Melo M9 are going to be in store for a treat…
We also got a chance to sit down and chat up two of the designers. Andre Doxey gave us the 411 on Chris Paul‘s latest signature sneaker – which is already released, just not in all of these colorways including the Nitro pack’s eye-popping colorway – and Justin Taylor went into details about Carmelo Anthony‘s Melo M9, which won’t be releasing until the winter.
Check out the Q&As and photos below.
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Dime: How does the CP3.VI compare to the previous CP3.V?
Andre Doxey: Well every season we try to make sure that we’re doing something newer and better. Last year, we made the CP3.V 20 percent lighter than the previous CP3.IVs. So that’s usually the main focus, and we’ve been able to make the CP3.VI even lighter. We were able to make a huge leap from the IV to the V, and now we’ve made an even bigger leap from the V to the VI. So we’ve made the shoe a lot lighter and much of that has to do with the overall construction.
Dime: Tell me a little about the design construction and how you’ve managed to make it even lighter.
AD: Well what we have is a one-piece Hyperfuse upper. However, the Hyperfuse we use on Jordan shoes are slightly different from what you would see on a Nike shoe. Historically we’ve always shared innovations and platforms between Nike and Jordan, but how we put it together is what makes it unique for Jordan. So you see the one-piece Hyperfuse upper here, but it’s put in what we call a Dragonfly layout. The whole idea here was to make the shoe as light as possible but still have the right fit for CP3. So one of the inspiration points we had with him and ideating was the dragonfly. The dragonfly is light and fast, which is the way Chris wants to move on the court, so we drew inspiration from that on the upper. Then when you look at the midsole, you might notice that it’s inspired by the Air Jordan 13. It’s a different sole but is really similar. We took inspiration from the cheetah paw, which is the fastest land animal, and on the upper we have the dragonfly, which is the fastest insect. So we put that those two together and that’s how we came up with the design.
Dime: So when making a shoe for CP3 as opposed to ‘Melo, he asks for a lower cut fit?
AD: Yeah he does, he wants to be low to the ground and he wants to be nimble. His style of play is very much sharp cutting, change of direction, with a lot of crossovers, and starting and stopping. So it’s really about making sure he has a lot of ankle mobility. You don’t want his ankles tied up or restricted with all the movement he’s making.
Dime: What about the technology on the outsole?
AD: On the outsole, we have both longitudinal flex screws and the lateral flex screws. We’re also using the Podulon, which is a dual foam system to give him really lightweight but responsive foam. The white area you see on the bottom of the shoe highlights where the Podulon is located which goes from the heel to the toe.
Dime: Was the Podulon system in the previous CP3 models?
AD: There was Podulon in the previous models, but this time we were looking to make the shoe even lighter and Podulon is a little denser than other foams so it adds weight. We want to make the shoe as light as we can make it for CP’s game, that’s always the goal. So we were looking at the perfect balance of Podulon and where it can be most effective for him. We wanted to cut as much weight as possible, but still provide him with all the cushion and support he needs.
Dime: What details does the shoe have that you might not see at first glance?
AD: Well there’s the six hash marks on the lace lock, CP3.VI. On the lace tips we have his area codes. Another cool detail is we mark the size of each shoe on the sole because of his love for bowling. So there’s a ton of detail on the shoe. There’s an andodized patent leather which allows it to still be a stylish shoe. It’s designed for playing but when you look at the other colorways we have, you can wear some of this stuff off court too. For example, we have the Nitro pack which is kind of a step from the Jeckyl and Hyde pack we had. The shoes will release together on the same date.
Dime: Special boxing?
AD: Not sure about the boxing, we won’t do a two-shoe pack but they’ll come out on the same date. These are meant to be more of a limited release so these drop October 21st. The home and away stuff drops October 3rd and the college colors drop in the spring.
Dime: The Melo M9 looks significantly different than the previous models, what exactly did you do differently in terms of design this time around?
Justin Taylor: Well, the first thing that jumps out at you when you take a look at these is the unique fit system that we built into the shoe. It’s actually called the Dynamic Fit System. It’s just a real thin synthetic reinforced with Flywire. So it’s ultra strong yet ultra light. Now, these Flywire bands actually wrap under the foot for lateral support, and it also wraps around the back for heel and ankle support. It ties into the full-length inner booty and really gives you that supreme lockdown, so it’s 360 degrees of support all the way around just from this Flywire piece.
Dime: How did you come up with the Dynamic Fit System?
JT: It’s actually pretty interesting. ‘Melo had been in town for a good amount of time during the lockout. He was actually there with a bunch of other Nike athletes and they were doing a training camp at the Nike HQ, so we got a chance to spend a lot more time up front with him than we usually do. So we were able to bring him back down to the research lab and do a full body scan as well as a full foot scan. So we had up-to-date scans of his body and his foot. The foot scan is obviously what we’re more interested in. So that gave us an idea of what we need to put around his foot in particular. We know he has a narrow foot, but having that scan really allowed us to see where we can enhance fit for him. So that’s kind of what lead to this system.
Dime: Did ‘Melo have his own input on how he wanted the shoe to fit?
JT: Well, while he was in town we had a lot of time to talk about inspiration ideas, and he said to me he wanted his shoe to feel like Iron Man’s suit. So we got the idea that he wanted the shoe to be super sleek and lightweight. We wanted it to be tight and protective but yet still super sleek. When you look at Iron Man’s suit it’s not super bulky, it’s very fit but still allows him to have fluid movement.
Dime: So that had a lot to do with the inspiration for the fit, but what about the actual visual inspiration?
JT: After talking with ‘Melo and really brainstorming ideas, one thing he told me he was really into at the time was really high-end watches, So that’s where we drew the visual inspiration from. Particularly from watches that have what you call a tourbillon movement. If you’ve ever looked at high-end watches they have a secondary piece in the face called a tourbillon. It’s a tiny piece moving separately from the watch that’s made to keep it precisely on time. Because overtime, gravity can have an effect on how the gears move on the watch, so that little piece negates the effect of gravity on it. So when thinking about the design of the shoe, I thought that was super cool, because just like the tourbillon piece would negate the effects of gravity on a watch, in a dream world this would negate the effects of gravity for ‘Melo. So that’s kind of where the visual inspiration came from.
Dime: So how would you relate the actual shoe to a high-end watch?
JT: Well the fact that you get a leather synthetic material touch on the heel and toe kind of hints at the watch bands, how they come off the sides of the watch. Then the middle of the shoe is sort of like the watch base. So you get the three layers with the inner booty, the Dynamic Fit system, and the quarter and they all interlock and interweave similar to the way the pieces on a watch face do. So all these pieces fit together to create a supreme fitting piece of footwear. Also, each lace loop works independently. So you can tighten up the shoe from any angle to support any foot shape just like you can adjust a watch to fit your wrist specifically.
Dime: Tell me about the technology that went into the actually sole of the shoe.
JT: What we used on the sole of the shoe is a Max Volume Zoom bag. So it’s a typical Zoom Air unit, but just a bigger sturdier bag than what we normally would use.
Dime: So it’s not an Air Max shoe?
JT: No it’s still a zoom shoe, but it’s what we call Zoom Max. It’s different than the Zoom Max that’s coming out on LeBron‘s shoe. That’s a different system. This is actually an older Zoom Max. LeBron’s got the brand new one. The Zoom bags look similar in the LeBrons because that’s how zoom technology is built. So any Zoom bag will always have those little cables going down, whether you see them or not they’re always there.
Dime: So how does Zoom technology really work?
JT: The way Zoom works is there’s a gas inside the bag that’s expanding the bag, but then there’s also those fibers that are pulling it back together at the same time. It’s sort of a system that’s built to defeat itself, so when you push on it, it automatically wants to jump back, but even as it’s jumping back that energy is still being stored in the bag. So it’s super responsive. The LeBron X will have those same little cables in it, that’s just a trait of Zoom Air technology.
Dime: What about the cushioning setup in the forefoot? I see that there’s a little extension on the bottom of the shoe.
JT: So what we did here, we actually put a zoom bag in the forefoot also. But it’s a smaller one and it’s actually the same shape. So the pod you see on the bottom is a one-to-one fit with the actual Zoom bag. We built the smaller Zoom bag to extend out of the foot bed exactly one and 1/2 millimeters further out. It works as a Podular mechanic system. So as you step down, you hit that small Zoom bag first and feel that first impact protection, then you get the responsiveness from the actual Zoom bag in that extends to the heel. So this gives you a really unique cushioning feel in the shoe.
Dime: What about the patent leather on the toe box? That seems like a reoccurring theme from the Melo M8.
JT: Yeah I mean that’s kind of just a Jordan thing. As much as we try to push and do something different, it’s always just a good easy win for Jordan. It speaks to our heritage and is something that’s just a timeless fashionable theme. But we do explore. The base models that ‘Melo will wear on the court will have patent leather on the toe panel, but the materials differ on different colors. Some have more of a flat matte leather, and even some have a 3M material. So we’re going in a couple different routes, but the patent leather is something that’s just true Jordan so we just can’t say no to it.
Dime: So with there be a Melo M9 Advance that’s slightly different from the base Melo M9 model?
JT: At the moment, we’re looking at concepts that could work for it. Whether or not we go there depends on how things play out with the base model 9, but we’ve looked at a couple concepts and when the time comes well see what the decision is for that.
Dime: Do you have any special colors or limited models releasing?
JT: Okay well the on-court stuff is what you’ll see in Foot Locker and Champs. These all launch January 9th. As far as the special colors go, we thought it would be a good idea to have colors that represent some of ‘Melo’s biggest opponents. So it’s like formidable foes for ‘Melo. So he’ll wear this red and grey color when he plays the Heat. Then there’s an exterminator inspired color that he’ll wear when he plays Oklahoma City. So it’s like the exterminator against the Durantula. So those are much more unique and will probably be more limited. Look out for those.
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