Nike called in reinforcements for Zion Williamson’s shoes, literally. Williamson’s Kyrie 4’s, the signature shoe of Kyrie Irving, feature special reinforcements to withstand the movement of his 285-pound frame. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski noted Nike flew down people to Durham to start the process of a custom-design for Williamson.
“Nike flew in their top people to Durham the day after the shoe blew out,” Krzyzewski told Sports Illustrated. “Those people then flew to China to oversee the manufacturing of a stronger, more stable shoe. They came back to Duke a week later with the shoe.”
The shoes must have worked because Williamson went a perfect 13-of-13 in his return against Syracuse.
“The shoes were incredible this game,” Williamson joked, per CBS Sports. “I couldn’t really specifically tell you if I wanted to [about the shoe specifications]. I just know they’re a little stronger than the regular Kyrie 4’s, so I want to thank Nike for making these, but, yeah, they felt very comfortable.”
Zion Williamson Switched from Paul George Models to Kyrie Irving’s Shoes
Williamson was wearing the PG 2.5’s when his shoe blew out, the signature shoe of Paul George. Williamson is now wearing the Kyrie 4’s. Nike design director Leo Chang detailed the thought process behind the design of the Kyrie 4’s on Nike.com.
“Kyrie is all over the court, cutting and turning.” Ben says. How to keep him stable was the question that drove the design process. The team tried a new approach — splitting the sole down the middle so the shoe could deliver support at every angle. “Now, Kyrie’s able to keep his foot at a 45-degree angle when he cuts and explodes into his next move…
For Kyrie, quick movements are a source of power — and ultimately points. With speed in mind, Ben and his team created an outsole that would mimic the way a tire supports a turning car. “We want him to be quick around the corner,” he says. “The new curvature allows him to operate efficiently when he’s on a lean.” By rounding out the shape of the outsole, his momentum doesn’t get stopped short by sharp angles. Instead, that energy is transferred into his next move, and none of the power is wasted.
Williamson Is Expected to Switch Out His Shoes More Often
According to Yahoo Sports, Duke believes part of the reason Williamson’s shoe blew out was from wear and tear. Williamson is expected to switch out his shoes more often.
Williamson is likely to earn at least $5 million per season when he is eligible to sign an endorsement deal once he declares for the NBA draft, per Yahoo Sports.
Now that Zion is back on the court and obviously healthy, the biggest sneaker subplot will be who he signs with after the season. A source told Yahoo earlier this year that he’ll easily make more than $5 million a season, an outlandish number for a rookie. There’s no other prospect in the same timezone of Williamson’s marketability, which means all the major shoe companies will be bidding for him.
“All they want to hear about is Zion,” a shoe company executive told Yahoo earlier this year. “There’s no silver. Zion is the gold.”