Ein Interview mit Nike Basketball Footwear Design Director Leo ChangAn Interview with Nike Basketball Footwear Design Director Leo Chang

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Anlässlich seines Tourstops in Berlin, wurden wir von Nike Basketball eingeladen, den KD8 zu testen. Der Basketball Performanceschuh ist der technisch fortschrittlichste KD bisher und der erste Nike Basketballschuh mit Flyweave-Upper. Damit wir einen realistischen Eindruck des Verhaltens des Schuhs bekommen konnten, durften wir ihn während einer Trainingseinheit mit anschließendem kleinen Turnier testen.

Zuerst schien der Schuh sehr eng zu sitzen, was mit längerem Tragen abnahm. Die durchgehende Zoom-Mittelsohle reagiert stark auf Aufwärtsbewegungen. Am meisten überraschte die hohe Stabilität, die der Schuh trotz seines Low-Top Styles bietet.
Nach der Trainingseinheit sprachen wir mit Leo Chang, dem Designer des Schuhs, über den KD8 und seine Designphilosophie.


What makes the Flyweave technology so special?

The Flyweave really shifted the performance of the shoes to another level. The shoes are more comfortable and lightweight but we try to tune them in a way that they are still stable enough for basketball. The cool thing about Flyweave is that it’s a woven material that’s really good for stability because the yarns go vertical and horizontal. So what goes across the foot from side to side, really helps lock in the foot. What’s unique about this, too is that we can create pockets within the material by weaving it a certain way. In those we can integrate other pieces like Flywire without taking away the seamless feel.

IMG_5044

You are a master at integrating functional elements into designs and keeping it minimalistic. Every thing we see on the shoe is there for a reason and does still flatter its look. How important is it to you to create shoes without any falderal, but keep it as functional and yet as stylish as possible?

First of all thank you. It’s very important to me. I think it’s my design philosophy to keep the designs simple and really show off the technology, innovation and benefits in the most beautiful way. And then I just really try to finish it through small details and textures. That’s important for me and is something I’ve learned from some of the other masters at Nike like Eric Avar. I’ve learned it from talking to him and watching his sketches and his design process. He has always captured iconic form and gestures on the shoe that is based off of innovation. He always shows it off in the most beautiful way.

From a designer point of view – what’s your most favorite basketball performance shoe that isn’t penned by you?

The ones that Eric Avar designed like the Flightposite. I remember seeing that shoe on an old sneaker website in college. That low resolution image and the gold green colorway, made my jaw drop. I used to like the Foamposite because it was so groundbreaking but with the Flightposite they sleeked it out and I couldn’t even understand how they made it. That one was definitely inspiring for me and is one of my favorites.

LEOCHANG

What’s your favorite feature of the KD8?

I probably really love the Zoom. The full-length Zoom is something we haven’t had in a while at Nike Basketball, although it’s such a good cushioning system for a basketball shoe.

Do you play basketball sometimes?

It’s been a while because I’ve been so busy lately but I try to. I know my limits and keep it casual. I’m not the best player, but I love playing with friends and really go down.During Kevin Durant’s tour stop in Berlin we were invited to test the KD8 by Nike Basketball. The basketball performance shoe is the most technically advanced KD so far and also the first Nike shoe to feature Flyweave material. In order to give us a realistic feel of the shoe, we had to test it during a basketball practice and a following little basketball tournament.

At first impact the shoe seemed to be very tight, almost too tight which changed the more we wore them. The full length Zoom makes the sole very responsive and gives a certain bounce while jumping and even while running. What surprised us the most was the huge stability the shoe gives despite its low top cut.  After the practice we sat down with the shoe’s designer and Nike Basketball Footwear Design Director Leo Chang who talked the shoe and his design philosophy with us.


What makes the Flyweave technology so special?

The Flyweave really shifted the performance of the shoes to another level. The shoes are more comfortable and lightweight but we try to tune them in a way that they are still stable enough for basketball. The cool thing about Flyweave is that it’s a woven material that’s really good for stability because the yarns go vertical and horizontal. So what goes across the foot from side to side, really helps lock in the foot. What’s unique about this, too is that we can create pockets within the material by weaving it a certain way. In those we can integrate other pieces like Flywire without taking away the seamless feel.

IMG_5044

You are a master at integrating functional elements into designs and keeping it minimalistic. Everything we see on the shoe is there for a reason and does still flatter its look. How important is it to you to create shoes without any falderal, but keep it as functional and yet as stylish as possible?

First of all thank you. It’s very important to me. I think it’s my design philosophy to keep the designs simple and really show off the technology, innovation and benefits in the most beautiful way. And then I just really try to finish it through small details and textures. That’s important for me and is something I’ve learned from some of the other masters at Nike like Eric Avar. I’ve learned it from talking to him and watching his sketches and his design process. He has always captured iconic form and gestures on the shoe that is based off of innovation. He always shows it off in the most beautiful way.

From a designer point of view – what’s your most favorite basketball performance shoe that isn’t penned by you?

The ones that Eric Avar designed like the Flightposite. I remember seeing that shoe on an old sneaker website in college. That low resolution image and the gold green colorway, made my jaw drop. I used to like the Foamposite because it was so groundbreaking but with the Flightposite they sleeked it out and I couldn’t even understand how they made it. That one was definitely inspiring for me and is one of my favorites.

LEOCHANG

What’s your favorite feature of the KD8?

I probably really love the Zoom. The full-length Zoom is something we haven’t had in a while at Nike Basketball, although it’s such a good cushioning system for a basketball shoe.

Do you play basketball sometimes?

It’s been a while because I’ve been so busy lately but I try to. I know my limits and keep it casual. I’m not the best player, but I love playing with friends and really go down.

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