Besides this weekend being the ultimate shit show that marks the mid-point of the NBA season, All-Star Weekend is also the time when the new Jordan gets released. This year, the Air Jordan 2010 is the signature sneaker of Dwayne Wade (check back for an interview with D-Wade on Monday), and is a project headed up by two Nike All-Star designers: Tinker Hatfield and Mark Smith. We got a chance to have Tinker take us through the performance elements of the Air Jordan 2010. It's complicated, and awesome, and even that little window has a reason for being there. Hit the jump for our interview with Tinker where he breaks down the specifics of the Air Jordan 2010.


COLLAR LINING (shape of the top part of the shoe, where it wraps your foot):
Tinker Hatfield: "When I designed the Jordan IV, I started looking at asymmetrical collar lines, because the human ankle is asymmetrical - your medial side malleolus is a little bit higher and it's a little bit lower on the lateral side. We went back to that idea on the 2010 and exaggerated it a bit more and I think this sneaker fits extremely well because it marries up with your actual ankle shape better than a sneaker that is symmetrical in height around the collar."

Tinker Hatfield: "The sock liner is made with a memory foam that is partially glued in to the shoe. After you wear it, the material starts to take the shape of your foot, which adds to the comfort and support of the shoe. We always design with the best sock liners we can get our hands on, which can get expensive at the end product stage, but it's important because it has a lot to do with the final fit of the product. If you feel inside you'll also feel these foam lozenges around the ankle. Those are very carefully located to help lock your heel down and be comfortable around the complex shapes of your Achilles tendon and your ankle bones."



DETACHABLE OVERLAY (Toe cap concept):
Tinker Hatfield: "Four years ago, Mark Smith (who was also a key designer in this project) was working with this new material called Aeroply, a unique, breathable, and extremely lightweight material for running sneakers. During wear-testing, he was using it to put together this lboot-like shoe, but the tests were coming back with the shoe bursting or tearing in the forefoot. So Mark came up with the idea of adding an additional piece of material that sort of draped over the front as a toecap, but not pinned down in the back, so it wasn't restrictive. The toecap idea brings strength to the forefoot. For the 2010, we wanted to bring in technologies from running, but we needed to make sure there was support for strong players. The toecap was a great solution, and provides the forefoot support these guys need. Since under the leather panel, the back does not stitch down, it allows for added breathability to the toe area as well, which also helps the player."



Tinker Hatfield: "The thermoplastic (TPU) window was our response to MJ's request for a transparent shoe. The window helps with ventilation and weight, but it is also an aesthetic nod to Michael's ability to 'see through' his opponents while still being able to obscure his own moves. We also use thermoplastics on the external heel counter- it creates good heel stability because the material is strong while also being very lightweight. The material is actually much better than leathers or other synthetics from a strength and weight perspective, but we didn't want to over-plasticize the shoe so we used the material in targeted areas."



Tinker Hatfield: "The leather we used is a bit breathable on its own, but when he's really playing hard and sweating, a player needs as much breathability as he can get. The perforated material allows for dispersion of both hot air and moisture. We have a lot of little heat gaskets to create overall breathability throughout this shoe."



GUARDS (to hold heel shape):
Tinker Hatfield: "When you start looking at some of the very best, bigger, fast players like Michael and like Dwyane Wade, you need to be aware that moisture, powerful movements, heat, and time tends to distort the shoes, even in the course of one game. These external TPU guards will prevent that distortion. We feel like Dwyane will be able to wear these for an entire game, and they're not going to distort and he's not going to have to change shoes or play in a looser fitting shoe as the game progresses."

LOADED ZOOM AIR (Cushioning element throughout midsole):
Tinker Hatfield: "Loaded Zoom Air is a lightweight phylon with solid structural integrity. It's close to a foam, but it doesn't absorb water like one, so it's the best of both worlds. Loaded Zoom provides the cushioning for this shoe, and it is in targeted locations (like here, in the heel). We carved areas out to get rid of weight and bulkiness, but we left it where we needed for impact and support."

Tinker Hatfield: "In an old Jordan commercial, MJ says, 'I failed over and over and over again in my life and that's why I succeed.' It popped into my head that we needed to put one last finishing touch on this shoe and rather than just sort of design a graphic to help cover up the wrinkles in the mid soles, we thought we'd make it meaningful. It's not obvious, it's not like just writing, so it's a cool element."


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