words // Nick DePaula:
Back in 2008, there was a phenomenon taking over basketball sneakers. Thanks to the “McFly” Hyperdunk, an entirely new era for footwear was upon us.
Prior to that, signature sneakers followed a fairly standard formula: The player’s namesake shoe featured the colors of the player’s team. It was a formulaic but basic principle that footwear had followed pretty much since the days of Magic and Bird’s dueling Weapons. Of course, there were three or four colorways of a signature shoe that released per year.
Then the “McFly” Hyperdunk happened. Then “South Beach.” Then “NERF,” “Brenda,” “What The” and so much more. Everything began to have a story even a red shoe for a guy on the Bulls, or a yellow shoe for a guy on the Lakers.
Just a few years ago, a friend at Nike summed it up perfectly when I asked about the shift in approach.
“Less team. More theme.”
Now that it’s actually 2015, has the themed approach by sneaker brands looking to tell stories about the lives, triumphs and greatest accomplishments of their signature athletes ran its course? Would you rather see more straightforward and clean colorways instead of having a graphic on every release?
It’s not enough to celebrate KD’s love for the Oklahoma City Thunder or his home state of Maryland — this year we saw a sneaker that literally had Peanut Butter & Jelly on the side of the shoe. Because KD loved PB &J as a kid.
That might be an extreme example of just how far reaching some of the themed stories have become these days, and it’s definitely worth pointing out that the KD 7 “PB & J” was only released in kid’s sizes, but as brands continue to expand the number of colorways they’re dropping for each player, where do you draw the line on what makes for a good story?
Let us know in the comments section below in our latest weekly NK Conversation.