NikeLab Kobe X Elite Low HTM

The NikeLab Kobe X Elite Low HTM is the latest collaboration between three super designers: Hiroshi Fujiwara, Tinker Hatfield and Mark Parker. They may have outdone themselves here.

There are 3 colorways set for release, and revealed today in the slideshow above. My favorite is the first one: this white/black/ice blue hybrid. It’s simply a beautiful use and placement of the colors and the materials amplify the aesthetic even more. Even the laces have a next-level edge to them. No knock on the other 2 colorways too, they’re sleek as well.

With every new version of the Kobes (love the IX’s too), I’m more convinced to try these lows, even with my propensity for high ankle sprains. To help comfort anyone else like me obsessing about performance, these NikeLab Elite HTM versions will combine the newest of the new NikeLab technology, described below via Hypebeast.

Combining HTM’s aesthetic and Nike’s artillery of performance technologies, careful detailing has been applied to all aspects of the shoe — most notable is that each colorway comes equipped with two different sets of screw-in aglets in varying metallic finish color and HTM branding. Nike-Free inspired flex grooves are highlighted along the outsole with a combination of Nike Lunarlon cushioning, Nike Zoom Air and Nike-Free inspired sipping coming together to form a special hybrid cushioning system for the Kobe X Elite Low HTM. The Flyknit upper is complemented by an advanced traction system and a flexible midsole for optimum grip on court. To read more about Nike HTM’s latest project, click here.

ICYMI: The Kobe Bryant x Eric Avar podcast on the Kobe XKobe Bryant’s Muse (Full Documentary)

Power Laces coming in 2015

Earlier today, Tinker Hatfield spoke at #AgendaEmerge in Long Beach, CA about design, innovation, and this news bomb: the Nike MAG is coming in 2015, complete with the technology for Power Laces.

Need a reminder? Hatfield designed these for Back to the Future II.

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Via Nice Kicks:

Tinker confirmed that his team is working as hard as possible to deliver the Nike MAG in 2015 with Power Laces, but also reminded us all that we still have “11 and two-thirds months left in 2015″.

Up next: the Cubs win the World Series this year!? Why stop with power laces, I say.

Tinker Hatfield talks Kobe IX Elite

Legendary Air Jordan shoe designer Tinker Hatfield is simply one of the most inspiring designers for me personally. In fact, I did a presentation on him when I got my architecture degree (the path Hatfield also chose in college). Got an A on it, too!

But naturally, I’m curious about any new interview with Hatfield and today, I get to catch up with his new multi-part sit-down with Complex’s Quickstrike (Russ Bengtson & DJ Clark Kent) at Nike HQ.

Part 4, above, shows the roundtable talking about the beautiful Kobe IX, with perhaps the juiciest tidbit being Hatfield’s desire to have worked on a shoe like the Kobe IX. It’s cool to see the peer-to-peer respect at the table throughout.

The timing of seeing this is crazy too. I was ballin’ last nite in some old D. Rose’s and decided I’m in the market for some new sneaks. My close friend G is a loyal customer of the Kobe line since the 3s and swears by the Kobe 9s as the best one yet. So now I’m seriously pondering the brand switch (I’m a loyal adidas and D. Rose fan) as well as the switch from hi tops to the more affordable lows. Having said that, I’m becoming increasingly sold, especially after seeing the interview above.

You know I had to screencap the cool blueprint too.
You know I had to screencap the cool blueprint too.

Tinker Hatfield e-mails Kanye

In contrast to the funny previous Kanye post, here’s one that carries an extreme amount of weight considering it’s the G.O.A.T. of sneaker design: Tinker Hatfield. The architect turned shoe designer of many of your favorite Js attended a Kanye West show (in 2008… so Glow In The Dark, not Yeezus — it should be noted.) and e-mailed his review to ‘Ye. Seen below:

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What powerful words. I love the idea of a “performance designer”. And seeing Tinker’s insight into “design” vs. “art” and the extra level the former takes is inspiring for anyone. And if you’re Kanye reading this, wow. What. A. Compliment.

Air Jordan XX9 revealed

*cues “Today Was A Good Day”*

Today was the big Air Jordan XX9 reveal as Michael Jordan and legendary Air Jordan designer Tinker Hatfield presented two colorways of the 29th version of the signature shoe. You have your classic Bulls black/red combo and a black/team orange combo prime for Jordan signature athletes Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook.

MJ & Tinker revealed a lot of juicy tidbits about the design process in today’s press conference. For starters, the XX9 is the first shoe in the world to have a “performance-woven upper”. Hatfield says,

This year, our inspiration and challenge to ourselves was to create the best performance basketball shoe ever—and I think the XX9 and the performance-woven upper pay that off.

The AJ XX9 performance-woven upper.
The AJ XX9 performance-woven upper.

The sock-like fit was initially inspired by an everyday airbag. Hatfield continued with the design on a 3D shell to experiment with the different materials, which is different than his usual process of starting the design on an iPad! An iPad, yup. The design process took a total of 2 years, including a personal visit to MJ’s house from Hatfield along the way. Perhaps capitalizing on the plaid trend, Hatfield originally wanted a plaid upper with numerical significance seen below.

A design of the originally intended plaid upper, with 23, 45, and 6 guiding the pattern.
A design of the originally intended plaid upper, with 23, 45, and 6 guiding the pattern.

I am not about the plaid trend myself, so I am glad to see the pattern is signature Jordan elephant print instead. But I am about numerology and to see the attempted incorporation of 23, 45, and 6 (three numbers no Jordan fan needs an explanation about) is inspiring.

As you can scroll through in the gallery, you can get a sense of the two different colorways. My personal opinion is that first, the black/red version jumped out to me as a copy/paste of signature Jordan elements (the elephant print, patent leather) but upon closer examination, I like the fusion of the two chief features. I think I’m just used to seeing both the print and the leather on their own, which I’ve always absolutely loved.

As I warmed to the black/red colorway, I still have yet to do the same on the black/team orange. I appreciate that the accentuated Jumpman logo stands the two colorways apart, but it doesn’t quite do it for me aesthetically (even if I were to imagine it in classic black/red).

Hatfield delivered one last bold statement on the XX9 design:

The Jordan XI was my favorite design. It was always one of our biggest leaps forward. The XX9 is in that league since the XI. It’s my opinion.

In the league of the XI? I need to see the XX9 Black/Red in person before I commit to agreeing. I, along with all of us, will get that chance sometime this September at the rumored price of $225.

What do you think of the XX9?

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