DimeMag

Nike Unveils Kyrie 1 & We Test Them On the Court

Kyrie Irving with the Nike KYRIE 1 (photo. Nike)

 

When talking to famed Nike designer Leo Chang on Wednesday night, we were struck by something he said about Kyrie Irving‘s cotinuous movement on the hardwood. After Chang watched film and broke down what Irving was looking for in his first signature shoe, the KYRIE 1, he saw that Irving’s feet would sometimes get almost parallel to the floor on a particularly quick cut. While we don’t have a fraction of the quickness — or really anything else related to Cavs point guard — in our game, we did get to try the Kyrie 1 later in the night.

Before hitting the court at the luxurious school gym on 10th Avenue — the same place where we tried the Kobe 9 Elite’s with Tim Grover — we crowded into a packed Chelsea Gallery. Upon entering we encountered a number of Nike doodads and paraphernalia most would recognize, including the ‘Lil Penny puppet, a framed copy of the iconic Nike Supreme Court photo, a pair of signed Air Jordan 1s, a print of a still from the Charles Barkley vs. Godzilla commercial and a lot more.

Nike KYRIE 1 (photo. Spencer Lund)

 

Nike Kobe Bryant and LeBron James puppets (photo. Spencer Lund)

 

It was there — framed by cameras and security personnel, who all looked like former NFL linebackers — where we got to watch Kenny Smith, Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway and Charles Barkley introduce the man of the hour and the latest Nike signature athlete, Kyrie Irving.

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“As a kid, imagining that I’d be in the Nike family with my own shoe was something that seemed almost unattainable,” said Irving during the presentation and Q&A with former Nike greats.

“Now that I’ve received the KYRIE 1 I’m honored to represent Nike and its next generation of players.”

As for the little nuggets of personal information adorning the new signature shoe, it sports a new Kyrie Irving logo on the shoe’s tongue; hand-written details in Irving’s penmanship including a No. 2 on the upper heel along with his personal signature on the inside of the tongue — something he told us was not included in the first prototype he wore at his summer camp this past offseason.

There’s also a jagged pattern on the wrapped traction near the toe and heel counter with architectural angles inspired by the Sydney Opera House from Kyrie’s homeland of Australia.

The acronym “JBY” also rests beneath Irving’s new logo on the outsole, and stands for “Just Be You,” a tenet Irving hopes inspires kids as they establish their own unique identities. Kyrie is pretty comfortable in his own skin as he said numerous times on stage during the unveiling, and we don’t blame him.

Click to hear how the KYRIE 1 performed on the court, plus pics and release information on the newest signature line from Nike…

Kyrie Irving. Nike Kyrie 1 “Deceptive Red” (photo. Nike)

 

Once things had calmed down while Kyrie thanked Cavs teammates, LeBron James and Tristan Thompson — as well as GM David Griffin — for attending, we headed to the gym.

After dressing in some gear and lacing up the Kyrie 1 “Deceptive Red” pair Nike gifted us, we hit the court and got in a light workout to loosen up for some ball.

Nike Kyrie 1 “Deceptive Red” (photo. Spencer Lund)

 

Before scrimmaging, though, Kyrie — who had been shooting jumpers as we talked with another Nike rep about the sneaker – gave us a little pep talk and thank us for taking the time. Classy move by the star of the night, and the next night it would turn out.

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The gym floor was a tad dusty, so we couldn’t take the deeper angles on our cuts without falling down. That wasn’t the result of the shoe, so much as the playing surface. The gym is excellent, and once we got down to playing we realized the sneakers did offer up a measure of traction that was glaring in its differentiation from other Nike releases.

Kyrie Irving. Nike Kyrie 1 “Deceptive Red” (photo. Nike)

 

They handle really well, and it’s impossible not to look down at them when you’re balling because they really do stand out with that bright red (other media members had the “Dream” pair). Perhaps the craziest part of the sneakers was the incredible high traction that wrapped from the sole to the upper along the entirety of the forefoot. Remember, Chang saw how hard Kyrie cuts in a game, with his foot’s angle to the court approaching 0 degrees, so adding the traction allows him to continue to grip the court even as he’s about to go parallel with the floor.

Kyrie doesn’t like a lot of movement in his forefoot, so the front of the kick is as snug as you’ll find in any performance sneaker. This might make some uncomfortable since they’re used to sliding around a little bit within the shoe, but when you’re playing, it improves your ability to change direction, something Kyrie is obviously one of the best in the world at doing:

The mid-cut on the Kyrie 1 also allows more maneuverability without sacrificing ankle support. We never felt faster — even as we lost every scrimmage.

Because it’s not a high hi-top like the initial Kobe 9 release, there’s no pro- supnation, or in- eversion restriction. However, the spring cushion in the forefoot adds some explosiveness during Plantar flexion, and you could feel it working when you jumped for a shot.

In all, the KYRIE 1 is one of our favorites already as a performance sneaker. Plus, we’re excited to see the colorway storylines that come out as we progress into 2015. Per Nike:

Individual stories come to life on each colorway beginning with the KYRIE 1 Dream. Irving often dreamt of waking up on Christmas morning and lacing up for a game professionally – a dream that will come true when Cleveland plays in Miami on Christmas day. The black-based shoe features geometric, colorful objects specific to Irving’s life journey, including stars from the Australian flag, a skateboard, his jersey number and a brass musical instrument.

The KYRIE 1 Deceptive Red is the lead colorway globally; it takes inspiration from Irving’s phenomenal quickness and accelerated first step.

Style-wise, we like the Dream’s kaleidoscope of colors and the Deceptive Red can be harsh in certain lights, but we’re still not trading our pair for anything.

Kyrie Irving. Nike Kyrie 1 “Deceptive Red” (photo. Nike)

 

Click for pics and release information on the “Dream” and “Deceptive Red” colorways…

The KYRIE 1 is currently available for customization on NIKEiD; the KYRIE 1 Dream colorway will be available in North America on Dec. 23 in adult and kids sizes at nike.com and select retail destinations for $110. The KYRIE 1 Deceptive Red colorway is available globally on Jan. 10, 2015. Along with the shoe, special KYRIE 1 T-shirts, hats and socks will also be available.

(Click pics for larger images)

Nike Kyrie 1 “Deceptive Red” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Deceptive Red” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Deceptive Red” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Deceptive Red” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Deceptive Red” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Deceptive Red” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Deceptive Red” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Deceptive Red” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Deceptive Red” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Deceptive Red” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Deceptive Red” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 Sketches (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 TechSheet (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 outline (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Dream” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Dream” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Dream” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Dream” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Dream” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Dream” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Dream” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Dream” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Dream” (photo. Nike)

 

Nike Kyrie 1 “Dream” (photo. Nike)

 

(NIKE)

What do you think?

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