Nike Designer Describes Sneaker 'Autopsy' Used for Zion Williamson

Nike designer Tobie Hatfield discusses the brand's protocol when it comes to footwear incidents like Zion Williamson's infamous sneaker blowout.

Zion Williamson Sneaker Blow Out

Image via Getty/Lance King

Zion Williamson Sneaker Blow Out

Zion Williamson's infamous sneaker blowout that took place at Cameron Indoor Stadium this past February has grown to become one of the biggest sports stories in quite some time. It led to the injury of college basketball's most dominant player, caused some inferior footwear brands to take some shots at Nike in response to the mishap, and even caused the Swoosh to craft Williamson a custom pair of Kyrie 4s for his return earlier this month in the ACC Tournament to replace his PG 2.5s. Notable Nike designer Tobie Hatfield recently spoke to Complex about the sneaker blowout as well. 

Hatfield discussed the protocol for Nike designers in the instance that a malfunction like this happens. As can be expected, the brand does not take these sort of things lightly. In fact, the sneaker undergoes a full autopsy to discover the root of the problem. 

"We basically go through what's called an 'autopsy' of the shoe. Any shoe that has issues or potential issues, we just have to go and find out," Hatfield said at a launch event for the new Nike Free. "Was there a manufacturing issue, design issue or any of that kind of stuff? It's just a matter of going through the whole shoe and finding out what the issues are and then we go solve them again. It's really no different than how we've been doing it all along."

As previously reported, Nike flew some of its "top people" out to Duke following the blowout to analyze the shoe before taking its findings to China to oversee production of a more durable shoe for the Blue Devils freshman forward. Williamson called his new sneakers "incredible." Hopefully, the new-and-improved Nikes will hold up throughout March Madness as number one-seeded Duke attempts to capture its sixth NCAA National Championship.