After much anticipation, Under Armour has announced the release date and details to their latest training sneaker with Carolina Panthers QB, Cam Newton.
The UA Cam Highlight Trainer will drop December 8th at $150 in two colorways, a predictable "Blue Heat" makeup and a bolder "Red / Black" with an eye catching yellow liner. As Cam's first ever signature sneaker, a collection of apparel and accessories named "CN1" will be available as well, including graphic tee's, performance socks, and a snapback to finish off the look.
Sneaker Report sat down with Under Armour designer Dave Dombrow this morning to discuss the design and inspiration behind this trailblazer of a training shoe for the Baltimore brand. Take a peek into the process behind the UA Cam Highlight Trainer:
How much has Cam Newton been involved with the design process to his first signature sneaker?
Dave Dombrow: The main thing with this collection specifically is that Cam has been involved from the start, which is actually a big deal because alot of brands do collections for players that aren't all that involved with the process. With Cam, he's been involved with every detail. Certain things like where this logo is located on the tongue, it was Cam's idea to put it there. Typically you don't see a logo there, but it's where your pants hit so it's actually a really cool place for a logo. So with his input, he had alot to do with the way it looks, as with the large logo on the side as well.
Beyond all that, we want to capture his personality in the shoes, so you see the rich suede which is directly from the look of the Ferrari car seats. This is something you don't really see in training shoes, this kind of quality isn't even a normal suede, it's an up spec so it really starts to capture the same material you would see in the interior of a Ferrari. And then a lot of the other details, like the composite shank you'll notice matches the back of the seat as well.
We mentioned this "GQ" sensibility, I was in his house in Charlotte and in his closet he had these Prada sneakers, so we thought it was a cool fusion to go back and forth and try to capture that and still keep it athletic. When you see this shoe and the overall proportions you can see how it links together. It definitely has more of a "fashion" proportion than a trainer or a basketball shoe does.
Can you speak a little about the lower profile of the shoe?
One way we were able to do that was to eliminate the sockliner, this takes away a certain amount of general dimension, so we integrated the sockliner into the actual side of it so we were actually able to drop the height and lower the shoe.
"At the end of the day it's all about high performance, but it's also somehow about high end style and the clash of these two worlds, and this is how we see Cam."
That did two things, it not only got the toebox lower but it got the whole shoe to sit lower to the ground, which is exactly what you want for a training shoe, you want a really stable platform for lateral moves. And this makes to the shoe lighter. At the end of the day, it's all about high performance, but it's also somehow about high end style and the clash of these two worlds, and this is how we see Cam. You see it hasn't changed too much from the original rendering (above).
What are the performance benefits to this neoprene sleeve?
It's not exactly neoprene, we call it "COMPFit", it's a compression material. And the reason for that goes back to the Highlight Cleat, Cam loved the way that felt, so from the start we wanted to work it into a training shoe. The idea is that it's going to give you support but it's also mobile, it's not locking you in so tight, that it is more about a fit that will let you move at the same time.
How does this material hold up over time?
It works great, we tested it on the football field over time for a full season. You can flip the sleeve the back, there is a lot of ways to wear this shoe. I like it with the tongue out, it's a 3D molded tongue, so it can hold its form. Cam wears it with the tongue out, but it has a versatile look.
What about this suede?
It's pigskin suede, which is usually used on high end motorsports shoes, so it's very durable and also a little bit more money. So I would say it is an up spec from a traditional athletic shoe, which is great, we wanted to make a statement with this, but this also justifies the higher price point.
How does the Cam Highlight Trainer fit in today's training market?
Super light and super low to the ground, at the end of the day there isn't a training shoe like this on the market. Training has gone retro, but of course for Under Armour, our retro would be a tee shirt so we're not going to do that. For us, Cam is the next thing, he's the future and we are looking to bring the future with this type of look.
Did Cam have any specific requests when it came to transitioning from the Highlight cleat to a training shoe?
A little bit, this one is still obviously quite high, but its a little bit lower than the Highlight Cleat that he was originally was in. We just did some micro-tuning with proportions and things are where they are based off of how he needs it for on-field and football and then how he needs it for training. So it has the same look, it's slighter lower, but it captures the same DNA of the cleat.
Can you talk a little about the Micro G technology?
It's our proprietary compound, and the best way to describe it is probably that it's all about high rebound, so it's going to give you more of a "energy returned" effect. It's a very dense cushioning compound, so it will let your drop your cushioning down alot more.
So this means more bounce?
High rebound means more dense material, which also means lighter so we are able to go lower with it, which also means less material. It has a 6mm drop, so it's more towards the new school training which is the less the drop the better as it provides a more natural feel.
"Everything is here for a reason."
Is the lower drop contributing to the sleeker silhouette of this shoe? There isn't alot of outsole here that we usually see to support lateral movement.
That's the reason we brought up this TPU enforcement piece, it is dropping lower which is great for lateral movement, it's a material that, unlike the suede, will lock you in. It's very purposeful in the design, to go back to the Ferrari, it feels very futuristic, but it's purposely built. Everything is here for a reason.
Do you see this type of construction moving into other categories?
I see this shoe as our pinnacle statement in training, and then I think we're just going to branch out with this concept. I think Under Armour as a company has a very unique and relevant way to be apart of training which goes hand in hand with our brand. We want to own that space, so we're looking to deliver products that are unique to training. With unique athletes like Cam, we're looking to take the gridiron off of the field.
Cop one of the two colorways of the UA Cam Highlight Trainer December 8th at Under Armour for $150.