From the Lab: Nike Kyrie 1

Today, the latest colorway of the Nike Kyrie 1 released at Champs Sports. Commemorating his short time at Duke, where injuries and the draw of the NBA combined to limit Kyrie Irving to just 11 games in uniform as a Blue Devil — he still averaged 17.5 points and 4.3 assists per game — the “Brotherhood” colorway features a black upper with white accenting on the branding and KI logo, with hits of royal blue throughout. It’s another in a line of dope colorways for the new shoe, and is helping to further separate this sneaker from the barrage of new point guard signature sneakers we’ve seen over the past few months.

The Nike Kyrie 1 is the best new basketball sneaker on the market. Period. It has virtually everything you’d ever need in a basketball shoe and is definitely one of this spring’s most noteworthy releases.

Designed by Leo Chang, the Kyrie 1 is a strong step forward for the line that could carry Nike into the next generation, what with Zoom Air cushioning in the forefoot, a Hyperfuse upper to create breathability without shedding support, and even a 360-degree traction pattern wrapping along the sidewalls for dynamic grip on the outsole. Those three characteristics became the basis of the sneaker over long months of designing. Chang believed the shoe needed to match Irving’s incredible first step, the one that constantly gets him into the lane in the NBA.

On top of that, the team worked to incorporate much of Irving’s personal history into the sneaker, including direct call-backs to his Australian heritage, as well as his recently-constructed logo and personal mottos that he tries to live by. That’s something that’s consistent with all of Nike’s signature athletes. For Kevin Durant, every KD sneaker release will incorporate many of his childhood interests in the DMV area, including his one-time obsession with becoming a weatherman. For LeBron James, he has always identified with the lion, the king of the jungle. That’s a theme that’s been running throughout his line since the very beginning. Even Kobe Bryant, who goes through more transitions than any other athlete alive, always finds inspiration in the world’s greatest predators, and thus his sneakers come to represent the same characteristics.

With the Kyrie 1, Chang and the Nike team took that aspect to another level, including details drawn in Irving’s own hand, like the #2 and his personal signature on the final product’s upper heel and inner lining. The penchant for catering the final designs to a player’s most intimate traits also factored into the creation of Kyrie’s personal logo. In the end, it came to represent his inner strength, his confidence, and his hunger to learn.

“As a kid, imagining that I’d be in the Nike family with my own shoe was something that seemed almost unattainable,” Irving said at the shoe’s unveiling in early December. He meant it too. That’s because for Nike, the depth is always in the details. See for yourself.

Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney

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Nike Kyrie 1
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Nike Kyrie 1
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Nike Kyrie 1
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Nike Kyrie 1
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