There's no better time for a basketball player to break out a new shoe than on a big stage. And there was no bigger stage than Sunday's gold-medal game against Spain, in which Chris Paul sliced and diced his way through Spain’s defense to help Team USA capture gold.
As the U.S. men completed their mission, Paul debuted the red, white and blue Olympic colorway of his brand new Jordan CP3.VI shoe. The new sneaks are chock full of all sorts of high-tech goodies and personal touches that reflect things near and dear to Paul’s heart.
The shoes are partially inspired by the Air Jordan XIII, which is one of Paul’s all-time favorite hoop shoes. Paul’s beloved first pair of XIIIs were stolen from him in high school so he decided to sprinkle some of the design elements in his new shoe as a lasting tribute.
Designers were also inspired by nature when creating the shoe. The upper portion sports vented windows modeled after the wing of a dragonfly. “Dragonflies have speedy lateral movement and are extremely fast,” CP3.VI designer Tom Luedecke said. “Those happen to be two of Chris’ best qualities.”
As with previous models of his signature shoe, Paul began working with designers about a year and a half before its eventual release. During the design phase, Paul took four or five trips to Nike’s Beaverton, Ore. campus so designers could study his body movements to determine what functional elements would go into the shoe. Paul underwent body scans, gait analysis, underfoot pressure-map studies and high-speed video breakdown of his change-of-direction moves.
During the season when he was on the road, designers emailed him mockups of the shoe, which Paul would send back with his notes. Near the end of the process, Luedecke peppered Paul with calls as he signed off on the shoe’s final details.
Many of those details came into place after the science and testing of the shoe was completed. On the tip of one set of shoelaces is the number 310, the Los Angeles area code. On the other is 336, the area code in his hometown of Winston-Salem.
The midfoot shank on the sole provides torsional rigidity and enhanced support but is also a shout-out to the two most important places in Paul’s life. On the right shoe the shank is embedded with a map of the downtown LA area surrounding Staples Center. The left has a map of the area surrounding his alma mater, West Forsyth High School in Clemmons, N.C., a small suburb of Winston-Salem.
“It’s one foot in the past and one in the future,” Luedecke said.
The Olympic colorway of the CP3.VI will be available on Sept. 8.