Chris Paul is one of the best point guards in the game, and he's coming up on his fourth All Star game next weekend. This will be Chris' second game in the starting five, a great accomplishment and something we'll be looking to check out. A little while back, we got a chance to catch up with Chris and the lead designer behind his signature shoe, Jayson Mayden. Jayson Mayden has worked on all four of Chris' shoes, and the CP3.IV is the duo's greatest accomplishment yet. Read below to check out Chris and Jayson's thoughts on the shoe, and some of the inspiration that went into designing the Jordan CP3.IV.
What is it like working with Chris Paul?
Jayson Mayden: It’s been amazing. Working with Chris has been like sitting with one of my closest friends, imagining what we would be one day when we grew up. Every conversation starts with trying to figure out what’s never been done before, but also always trying to make a shoe that kids want to wear on court. It really is one long continuous meeting that we’ve had over the past four and a half years. I’ve worked with Chris straight through on the CP3, CP3.II, CP3.III, and now the CP3.IV.
Chris Paul: I think what has made my relationship with J-May work is that we talk holidays, non-holidays, and it’s not always business, not always the shoe. He’ll text me, “Great game” and that’s why we work so well together. He always has my back, and I know he’s going to make me good shoes.
Can you describe the overall inspiration for the IV? What has it been?
Jayson Mayden: About two years ago, I was in Japan and I saw this giant robot that the city of Tokyo had made as part of its Olympic bid. I saw it and I was like, this is Chris. Chris is that guy—he’s the guy that transforms on court, he’s the motorcycle amongst cars. He’s the most mechanical, most receptive person on court when he gets the ball in his hands, so I wanted to create something that gave me a focal aesthetic point, but also grounded in hardcore performance and in being the baddest point guard on court.
Chris Paul: J-May is crazy with it. The sneakerheads know, but it’s crazy to see an evolution through shoes, and this being the fourth, it’s unreal. My first shoe came out, and I thought it was the best thing ever, that you couldn’t top it. Then the second, and I thought the same thing. It just keeps on happening now, it’s amazing. I think a lot of times, guys think you’re just playing, that the shoes don’t matter, but the way we work together, the shoes get better every year.
How did you build on quickness with this shoe?
Jayson Mayden: Chris doesn’t run straight down the court to the basket, he moves. To make the shoe quicker, we worked on weight and fit. The upper is new, and the shoe is broken down into zones. We noticed during training that the midfoot bunched up a little when Chris was flexing, so we made it more form fitting in that area, and we also worked to make the sneaker more breathable. We still kept a lot of performance aspects from previous shoes, the outrigger, the sculpted forefoot on the medial side, all elements that have made this franchise quick.
What else makes this one stand out?
Jayson Mayden: If you look at the bottom and how the podulons are constructed (a Jordan independent cushioning technology), you see the shoe is a whole system in itself. You have it in the heel, which gives you a nice smooth transition, and other points of cushioning where Chris needs it. In the arch, we noticed that a lot of injuries in the NBA happen here when guys land on other guys’ feet. And there’s nothing you can really do about it, especially when you’re a smaller guy like Chris, going to the basket, trying to weave around people. This rubber piece in the arch gives him some traction to get out of that situation. He can correct himself. It allows him to react quicker, right himself, and continue onto the basket hard.
These shoes resemble the Jordan XIII lows, and we’ve heard that the asymmetrical collar on the CP3.4 is modeled after this shoe. Chris, that’s your favorite Jordan?
Chris Paul: Yup. The XIIIs came out when I was in sixth grade, and someone stole them. I went to go play intramural basketball and when I came back, someone had stolen them out of my locker. I remember because that was one of the worst butt whoopings ever. I got whooped because somebody stole my Jordans.
Do you ever walk away from a meeting and think about the connection between a sixth grader who got his shoes stolen to now, being one of the signature faces of the brand?
Chris Paul: I can’t describe what it’s like to actually like to have your own shoe on the brand. It’s something you never get used to. It’s crazy. You have no idea. For me to look at my Twitter, and for people to write, you know, “Just copped those new CP3s,” I still get excited. It’s crazy. If I’m watching a college game on TV and I see a kid wearing my shoes, or if I’m in the city and I see a kid with my shoes or my jersey on, it’s something special that you never get used to. It never gets old. I’m blessed and thankful every time I see it.
How many pairs of sneakers do you own?
Chris Paul: I’ve never counted. I get boxes of shoes like crazy. You have no idea what my closet looks like now. Like, I get to wear Jordans every single day.
You have a pair of Jordan bowling shoes even, right?
Chris Paul: Yeah, I do. All I need is for Jordan to coming out with some church shoes. Haha.
Do you get insight from MJ himself?
Chris Paul: Yeah definitely. I was at a Jordan game (in a year we didn’t make the playoffs), but I remember walking past MJ, and he was talking about one of my shots. He was like, “You gotta get lower. You’re a guard, you gotta get quicker, you got to do that.” So yeah, he does give a lot of insight, you know, he’s the best to ever do it, so it’s always helpful.
If you can describe your sneaker in one word, what would it be?
Chris Paul: Quick.