Zion Williamson entered the NBA with massive expectations. It was the product of being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 Draft and also the fact that he had dominated highlight reels for much of his high school and college career with high-flying dunks and a physically dominant style that was NBA ready at the age of 18.
Injuries meant it took a bit for his career to start, but once he got on the court he proved he belonged and quickly showed why he was deserving of the hype. The dunks are what get everyone talking, but he’s become an elite finisher at and below the rim, bullying opponents to get to the restricted area where he has incredible touch to get the ball up and in the hoop over and around defenders. Williamson’s rise to stardom hasn’t been a surprise, and many have looked to him as one the next great superstars in the NBA. One thing that all NBA superstars have in common is a signature sneaker, and on Tuesday Zion officially joined that group as Jordan unveiled the Zion 1.
The four colorways of the Zion 1 unveiled on Tuesday will release beginning on April 23. The Gen Zion, black and white colorway coming first with a limited release in New Orleans, with other colorways coming in the weeks to follow — the blue ZNA colorway on May 5, the Noah colorway designed by his younger brother on May 19, and the Marion colorway coming May 26.
To be, Zion.
— Jordan (@Jumpman23) April 20, 2021
From a performance standpoint, the goal was to create a shoe that could handle all the various pressures Williamson’s unique combination of size, power, speed, and bounce create. The padded tongue relieves pressure from lacing, while the forefoot strap (seen underneath the mesh upper) looks to add stability for cutting and takeoff. For extra cushioning, the sneaker features a full length Zoom Air strobel stacked on top of a Zoom Air unit for maximum bounce and cushion. The base of the shoe also extends outward to provide more stability, with Nike taking inspiration from the “massive tires on Williamson’s truck” to always keep his feet above the platform even as his powerful frame cuts and moves.
From a design perspective, the Zion 1 wanted to embrace his love of superheros and create a look of superhero armor on the tongue, and also adds the Z he gets cut into the side of his hair on the side of the sneaker as well. As for Zion’s pitch for why you should wear his shoe? Well, that’s pretty simple.