What’s up everyone? Let me start off by saying I apologize for my recent hiatus. October was a hell of a month. Lots of traveling, made a new portfolio, helped get the #SDMR Podcast off the ground, did a few teaching events and a lot of freelance which all led to me not being able to put the effort into the site that I wanted to. I apologize but I am back with a sketchbook drop!
This sketchbook project started from the fact that I had never designed a shoe for my favorite current player Kobe Bryant. I pretty much always design Jordan’s but that will be coming in the next sketchbook drop. So, I wanted to create a shoe for Kobe since he made light that next season may be his last season. I couldn’t let him leave the league without me creating a fictitious design that is suitable enough for his final year.
If you start with the Kobe IV, I believe that the Kobe line could be the most innovative series Nike Basketball has ever created. It is one of the few signature lines that is truly an evolution of performance and not just a shoe that acts as a highly visual product for an elite athlete. I have focused on continuing what Nike has already established by evolving what a low top basketball shoe can be. The main area of focus for me is on the external TPU Heel Counter. Outside of the shape and height of pervious Kobe’s I think one of the most dominating features is the counter and I wanted to look at how to utilize it further.
It is no secret that a major inspiration for the Kobe line has been Kobe’s love of soccer. He sees the game of soccer as very similar to basketball as the players are always moving and in a constant change of direction therefore needing similar attributes to support their foot. And if you have followed this blog you may have heard me discuss my love for the Nike Mercurial line as I feel it is one of the best-constructed shoes in the athletic footwear industry. What I love about the Mercurial line is its bold color combinations with very simple, clean and graphic uppers. The materials are engineered and cut in precise areas to not have to use overlaying pieces, allowing it to be strong but minimal. I believe Nike value engineers the Mercurial perfectly. By keeping those uppers so minimal it allows for them to place their money in the key area of performance: the TPU Cleated Plate.
Nike’s cleats have become a work of art, as they are pieces of sculpture that extend down from your foot. They have dramatic form to them; multiple colors and texture changes that are not only functional but also add another visual level to the plate. My idea is to bring the same level of detail that is in the plate of the Mercurial to the Heel Counter of the Kobe IX as they are the same material and very similar production processes.
Taking what I have learned from the Mercurial, I have evolved the Heel Counter to become a part of the shank plate by wrapping it from the lateral around the medial and under the midfoot. In this form the Heel Counter is not just a stability piece it becomes a fully integrated support system as it also features extensions that cradle the midfoot on the both the lateral and medial uppers for further support. I am close to having the graphic I am looking for and with a few adjustments to the proportions the shoe will be ready to be rendered in the next couple of nights.
Take a look at the sketches below and come back later this week for the final rendering and full story of the design!