Earlier this week, Jordan introduced the Jordan Fly Wade, Dwyane Wade's first signature shoe with the Jordan Brand and the lightest-ever Jordan basketball shoe. With four colorways scheduled in the first two months, this is a big rollout. So let's anticipate and answer some of your questions.
1) WHO DESIGNED IT? This was a joint effort between Tom Luedecke (designer of the Hyperdunk, the Kobe VI and the Air Jordan 2011, among other projects) and longtime Nike designer and Jordan Creative Director Mark Smith, who worked with Tinker Hatfield on the Air Jordan 2010. Also, Dwyane Wade may have had some input.
2) WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WHOLE INTERCHANGABLE MIDSOLE THING? Nothing happened to it. In fact, in a parallel universe, the Jordan Fly Wade IS the Air Jordan 2011. Smith had concepted the Fly Wade as the Air Jordan 2011 before Tinker had his "Choose Your Flight" eureka moment. Once he did, the Air Jordan 2011 and what would become the Fly Wade diverged. The Air Jordan 2011 went lux, and the Fly Wade went light. Besides, the Fly Wade utilizes both EXPLOSIVE and QUICK with Max Air in the heel and Zoom Air up front. The whole best of both worlds kind of thing you could find in old Pennys.
3) SO WHY DOES DWYANE WADE NEED A SIGNATURE SHOE ANYWAY? It's not like it's unprecedented — he had a couple sigs with Converse before moving over to Jordan — and it's not like he's occupying ground otherwise taken by other Jordan athletes. Wade actually slots neatly in between Melo and Chris Paul as a solid but quick player who needs a lightweight shoe that he'll still be able to, in Smith's words, "beat the sh*t out of."
4) JUST HOW LIGHT IS LIGHTWEIGHT ANYWAY? The Fly Wade comes in at a touch over 13 ounces, which makes it the lightest Jordan basketball shoe ever. (A title held briefly by the Air Jordan 2011 at 14.6 ounces.) Is that light enough for you?
5) MAYBE. WOULDN'T IT HAVE BEEN EVEN LIGHTER IF IT WAS A LOWTOP? WHY NOT DO A LOW? Dwyane explains that better than we can, so just watch this video:
6) OH. THANKS. HOW MUCH DID THESE CHANGE FROM THE INITIAL SKETCH? Quite a bit, actually. (The initial sketch is the TKth photo.) And actually, Smith mentioned to Wade that he still wants to build that shoe. So maybe the initial sketch of what was supposed to be the Air Jordan 2011 will re-emerge as the Jordan Fly Wade II. That makes sense, right?
7) SORT OF. SO WHAT SHOE WOULD YOU COMPARE THESE TO? It's hard to say. Obviously they're Jordans, so you don't want to compare them to Nikes. (God forbid.) But the welded uppers, lightweight construction and external heel counter screams "Hyperdunk!" while the colorblocking possibilities yell "Air Max 95!" Honestly, sometimes we just wish they'd quiet down. At the same time, they use a cement-print based outsole that's a lot like the Air Jordan 2011, and an assymmetrical ankle collar that goes back to the Air Jordan V.
8) IS EVERYONE GETTING LIGHTER SHOES FOR THE PLAYOFFS NOW OR WHAT? Well, LeBron James and Wade certainly are. Not sure whether Kobe could get a lighter playoff shoe unless he starts playing in sandals — and we probably shouldn't give him any ideas.
9) WE HEAR THESE ARE GOING TO BE ON ID? Yeah, probably from us. There will be a ton of options, so you'll be able to re-create your favorite classic Air Jordan colorway, or do something completely heretical like we did. (Whaddya mean neon green and purple aren't traditional Jordan colors?) And you'll be able to tweak the cushioning a bit via the sockliner.
10) SO HOW MUCH AND WHEN? The Jordan Fly Wade will retail for $140, and hit shelves on May 5th. If the initial two colorways (the Heat-friendly black/red and white/red) don't suit you, the shoe hits ID on Sunday, May 29th, and two more colorways (the green and blue) hit in June. If you like the orange ones, so sorry, those were just an early sample. Here's one more video of Mark Smith talking tech: