Yesterday, the Jordan Brand unveiled its newest shoe, the Jordan Fly Wade, the first Jordan signature shoe named after the Miami Heat guard.
The lightest Jordan shoe to date features the very recognizable elephant crackle print, a staple of one of the most famous Jordans, the Air Jordan III.
The shoes will hit stores on May 5 for $140 and unlike many Jordan releases, will actually be available for NIKEiD customization on May 29.
I talked to Dwyane Wade and Jordan creative director Mark Smith about the shoe, which is the first new Jordan I actually like.
Darren: What are you happy about with this shoe?
Wade: At 13 ounces, this is the lightest shoe I’ve ever worn. The key for me was being able to be quick, but also have a shoe that’s very comfortable.
Darren: You are now part of the Jordan brand. Do you feel more pressure?
Wade: Not more pressure. I actually had more pressure at Converse when I was the face of the brand and I was really the only one. Now I have a great opportunity to bring my marketability to the great Jordan brand. To be a kid from Chicago, who grew up with Jordans, it’s just so amazing to be a part of.
Darren: After about six years with Converse, you switched to the Jordan brand in July 2009. More than 3 out four of readers, who voted in a poll, thought this was a good move for you. Why did you do it?
Wade: I’m so happy and thankful for Converse. When I was drafted, even though I was picked fifth, no one was knocking down the door to sign me to a shoe deal. They gave me a chance and helped me accomplish a lifelong dream, which was to have a signature shoe. But after a while, I did feel like it was time for a change. And since Nike bought Converse, the decision to come over to Jordan was supported by Nike Inc. MJ wanted me too and that was obviously a big honor.
Darren: How close is the shoe you wear to the actual shoe someone can get off the shelf?
Wade: It’s close. It’s not like it looks the same, but it’s a totally different shoe. I make a couple adjustments during the season to make it fit to me.
Darren: Mark, why do this shoe now?
Smith: Originally, we were going to make the Air Jordan 2011 the lightest shoe to date, but Tinker (Hatfield, Nike’s chief designer) saw the opportunity to build a shoe with quick explosive midsoles and work with Dwyane to unveil it as a late season shoe.
Darren: You always hear that kids wear Jordans with their jeans, but not necessarily on the court.
Smith: Jordan has had the reputation of being more of a fashion shoe, a bit heavier, so this is an opportunity for us to fly in the face of that.
Darren: With lighter materials and upgraded technology, we still have a shoe that cost $140. Break it down for me.
Smith: Consumers might think that because it weighs less and we use less material, that it costs less. To be honest, the new materials cost more. Carbon fiber costs a lot of money. But we designers do care about prices and we want to make the best shoe for the best price.
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