This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Wade discusses the collaboration ahead of the Li-Ning Way of Wade 11 release.

Dwyane Wade‘s partnership with Li-Ning began in 2012 after he parted ways with Jordan Brand. The move marked a significant shift in the sneaker industry, highlighting the Chinese company’s ambition to compete on a global stage with one of the game’s greatest guards.

Wade debuted his first signature shoe with Li-Ning, the Li-Ning Way of Wade 1, in October 2012. The collaboration brought fresh designs and innovative technology, establishing Wade as a prominent figure in the global sneaker community.

In 2013, Wade extended his contract with Li-Ning, solidifying his long-term commitment. The extension was followed with the release of the Way of Wade 2, which received acclaim for its performance features and stylish aesthetics.

The partnership continued to thrive, and by 2015, the Way of Wade 4 was introduced, showcasing enhanced materials and construction. Li-Ning’s strategic marketing and Wade’s star power helped the brand gain a foothold in the competitive sneaker market.

In 2018, Wade and Li-Ning celebrated the launch of the Way of Wade 7, a testament to their successful collaboration. The line expanded, featuring limited editions and collaborations with artists and designers. The partnership evolved as Wade signed a lifetime deal with the company, further solidifying the relationship and innovation throughout the years.

Ahead of the 2024-2025 NBA season, Li-Ning and Wade have announced the all-new Li-Ning Way of Wade 11, an ode to his past and future and inspired by Afrofuturism, his storied career, and his life journey.

As the Way of Wade line continues to blossom, we spoke with Wade about his signature shoe line, partnering with KICKS CREW for the launch of his sneakers, and the legacy he leaves behind on and off the court.

Read what the Hall of Famer had to say below.

Nice Kicks: Your relationship with Li-Ning trailblazed a lot for the sneaker industry and high-level athletes with signature shoes. Reflecting on the success, how does it feel to be on the Way of Wade 11 as the brand continues to grow?

Dwyane Wade: I feel tremendous pride with the latest Way of Wade 11 release as the personal storytelling of the sneakers represents my past and future journey. I’m blessed to have my partnership with Li-Ning extend beyond my basketball career, which I know is rare for athletes. It’s been a thrill to see the Way of Wade brand continue to evolve and grow over the years in both sneakers and apparel. It’s amazing to see how far we have come and I’m excited for what is coming next.

NK: There’s been plenty of innovation within Li-Ning. What tech specs can basketball fans and players look forward to in the new model?

DW: Carbon Core Drive System Midsole is a midsole craft innovation, which is an integrated molding processing technology that places carbon plates in the midsole material. It improves the stability and energy return of the Boom material. The innovation has four structures to solve the demand for basketball games: quick start-up, all-around, speed, and power. The WOW 11 uses an all-around structure and provides end-to-end responsiveness to help players dominate the game.

NK: What are some of the colorway stories that fans can expect with the new model?

DW: The classic Way of Wade series colorway will be back including Overtown, Team No Sleep, and Announcement. In addition, some colorways will use a different upper material to fit a different style.

What’s the wear-testing/feedback process like for a shoe that you’re not wearing on the court but still has your name and DNA attached? In that same vein, what’s the on-court debut strategy for the Way of Wade 11? How involved are you in those processes?

My first impression when I held it was that it was very light. The product team invited different level players to test it and make it the best ever in the WOW series. WOW 10 already has a solid reputation among consumers, but we wanted to do better. We hope to have the WOW11 on court next season with some special PE colorways planned.

NK: What’s the legacy you want to leave behind in the sport and how’s your continued partnership with Li-Ning and the launch of the Way of Wade 11 helping with that mission?

The Way of Wade 11 is enriched with personal details from my life that represent my past and future journey. Li-Ning has been very supportive of the path I’ve taken and where my future journey will lead. I want to inspire the next generation to Make Your Own Way, which is Way of Wade’s motto. As a reflection of my own journey, I hope Way of Wade 11 motivates fans to carve their own path by pushing boundaries and taking risks.

NK: It’s been five years since you and Li-Ning made history with the lifetime deal. What’s it been like and where do you see it going?

DW: Building a family brand was always my main focus with Way of Wade. I love seeing my son Zaire performance test and provide valuable feedback as a young player starting his pro career. I see Way of Wade as not only a great launch pad for my son, but also for the next generation of basketball players. It’s exciting to see these athletes carry the torch into the second decade of the brand as we continue to innovate to stay on the cutting edge and give our fans what they want.

NK: What’s it been like partnering with KICKS CREW Crew to ensure your fans can get ahold of your shoes? How important is a platform like KICKS CREW for not only your brand but performance basketball as a whole?

DW: I’m thrilled to partner with KICKS CREW given our shared vision and commitment to push boundaries. I’m excited to reach more fans globally with the Way of Wade brand on their platform. 

Keep it locked to Nice Kicks on Instagram and the sneaker release dates page to stay on top of the latest news and drops.

Related Posts