The first glimpse of the upcoming Nike Zoom LeBron VI came from the Kicks Magazine cover, that leaked early this month. LeBron James has already earned his way on to seven SLAM covers thanks to his revolutionary game and commanding personality, but it took a few years before everyone could agree to switch lanes and put the shoe industry’s best hope for a ball-playing salesman on KICKS’ front page. With the LeBron VI on deck, dude is more than deserving. If you wanna know what’s inside please continue reading…
Timing has generally been the biggest issue: With LeBron’s signature kicks not dropping until the fall each year, Kicks late-summer publishing date has always been just a little too early to fit the specifics of Nike’s marketing plans. What changed? The Olympics helped push things up – Bron has already rocked the VIs in the Olympic run-up – allowing Kicks to give the VI its official worldwide semi-exclusive unveiling. Here’s an excerpt of all the info available inside Kicks #11:Inspiration & Design – it’s all about casual appeal with this one:
Performance & Technology – not only the looks are Air-Force-One-inspired:
Kicks previewThe sixth incarnation of LeBron’s signature line is easily the most accessible since the first-and as both the shoe’s senior designer will tell you that’s no accident. “We want to make performance footwear live in the real world,” says Ken Link, lead designer of LeBron’s line. “The first five years were really about setting the benchmark, about excellence in the product. Now we’re starting to open up the arms and inviting more people to be a part of it.” LeBron, as is his style, puts it more directly: “We always talk about how people buy shoes for off-court first. I think the Is were off-court friendly, and we finally got back to it with the VI.” Let the words echo what the photos show. the VI is easily the cleanest, least-adorned LeBron shoe since the Air Zoom Generation (aka the “I”) dropped back in 2003. Without question, Link and Co. have succeeded in establishing a distinctive and often groundbreaking signature line, all while maintaining the performance necessary to meet the uniquely demanding standards of LeBron’s game. Reference points are always an issue with signature sleds, and from the hints of Humvee inspiration on the Air Zoom Generation to the “milkcrate” technology featured on the V, that truth has applied to LeBron from the get. With the VI, though, those references have been dialed back a bit; they seem less specific and more about a general look and feel.
Q&A – LeBron talks about his favorite shoe from inside and outside his line:
Kicks previewWith the VI, Nike and LeBron are leaning the other way. “Technology is expected from Nike, so we don’t have to scream it as much,” says Link. “In the past, we wanted to scream about that. Now we feel we can pull back a little bit.” The result? Gone are the utilitarian strap that dominated the II and the V, the multi-textured sleekness of the III, and the audacious rebirth of Foamposite that defined the IV. Instead the Zoom LeBron VI keeps it simple on the outside while focusing as intently as ever on the shoe’s heart and guts. Says Link, “We’re gonna get a lot simpler design-wise, but it’ll still be all about performance. We just wanna open performance back up to the rest of the world that just loves basketball.” Even if, he might added, they don’t spend much time on the court. On the tech front, the priority remains the same as it has all of LeBron’s joints: accommodating “the culmination of speed and power” – a phrase Link and his design team repeat like mantra – that defines LeBron’s game. The challenge of creating a shoe for a 6-8, 250-pounder with running back quickness is a substantial one, and it’s always on Link’s mind. With the VI, Link emphasizes two design elements, both of which are geared toward comfort and performance. One is the continuation of the fit sleeve, featured in the IV and V among others, that aims to find the balance between cozy and constricting. Link refers to a “dual layer of lockdown and comfort” that makes the VI “probably the most comfortable LeBron we’ve done,” while still capable of holding up to intense on court stress. The other tech touch is a bit of a throwback: a reintroduction of the cup sole, the same comparatively low-tech support mechanism that has helped the Air Force 1 remain a standard for damn near three decades. Why would Nike choose such a retro approach for such a next-level player? Simple: it works. “Lateral motion on the cup soles in unsurpassed, so we took the best of that and applied it here,” Link says. “It’s the same reason we chose Posit for him with the IV-anything to help maximize that combination speed and power.”
Be sure to pick up KICKS 11 issue, which includes the full story and behind the scenes from LeBron’s KICKS cover shoot, and is the official debut of the Nike Zoom LeBron VI. Source KICKS | SLAMONLINE.