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In an interview, Nike designer Leo Chang says that he developed a chemistry with Kyrie Irving during the creation of his first shoe. He shares that Irving is so open when it comes to his ideas and opinions, and he appreciates that.
Chang wants the design to capture Irving’s quick movements, cuts, and change of directions. To do that, be brings the traction 360 degrees to the front. It was not before eighteen months of designing that Irving was able to try the shoe for the first time. Chang recalls that Irving liked the on-point lockdown on the forefoot. He added that the NBA star emphasized how he prefers mid-top basketball shoes.
Irving told Chang a story about how his dad punished him when he was younger because his grades dropped or whenever he was bad. He was sent to his room he calls his "dungeon." His dad made him lean against the wall using two fingers. Irving swore it was close to two hours but it was just for two minutes. Chang integrated the story of the "two fingers" on the sides of the Kyrie 1; they serve as extra support to the Hyperfuse upper.
The Nike Kyrie 1 was released on December 23, 2014 and retailed at $110. These Kyrie Irving basketball shoes come with Phylon midsoles and Zoom Air units at the forefoot. For smooth transitions, the shoe is equipped with a carbon fiber plate. The outsole features a straightforward herringbone traction pattern for an unstoppable footwork on court. Nike boasts the 360 degree traction at the forefoot, and it works like an outrigger. It stabilizes quick cuts and crosses. These Kyrie 1 shoes come with a mesh upper that is reinforced with Hyperfuse for ventilation and durability. For a comfortable fit, the tongue and the upper underlay are made of neoprene.
Cushion. The Nike Kyrie 1 boasts a rectangular forefoot Zoom Air unit embedded in its full-length Phylon midsole. These Kyrie shoes also have carbon plate fibers embedded in their midsoles. These ensure smooth heel-to-toe transitions.
Traction. The Nike Kyrie 1 comes with either a solid or translucent rubber outsole, depending on the colorway. Whichever material it is made of, the outsole always has a full-length diagonal herringbone traction pattern on it. This pattern has thick, deep, and durable grooves that suit any court surface. Minimal wiping is needed. The forefoot features a raised traction pattern. According to Leo Chang, he incorporated it in the design to support Kyrie Irving’s multidirectional quick cuts and crosses.
Length and Width. The Nike Kyrie 1 reportedly runs narrow. Current owners claim that the shoe does not fit comfortably straight out of the box and takes a bit of time to break in. They advise new buyers with wide and normal-sized feet to fit the shoe before purchasing.
Lockdown. The Nike Kyrie 1 has a standard lacing system. There is a lace loop at the middle of the tongue to prevent keep it in securely in place. Reviewers suggest lacing up all the way to the last eyelet to keep the foot from popping out of the shoe. The molded collar and inner walls of the Kyrie 1 shoes come with a lot of padding. This setup provides a nice and comfortable ankle fit. The thermo polyurethane heel counter prevents the foot from slipping out of the footbed.
The upper of the Nike Kyrie 1 is made of mesh with Hyperfuse glued on it. Hyperfuse is a resilient, lightweight, and breathable three-layered material. These layers are fused together by heat and pressure. Without the standard cut-and-sew method, the Hyperfuse delivers a seamless one-bootie construction to the upper. The padded tongue is made of neoprene for a comfortable and breathable fit. The lace holes and the toe-drag area have welded overlays for durability.
As the first shoe for Kyrie Irving, a lot of important stuff in his life are embedded in the Kyrie 1. Starting off with the outsole, the center of the rubber features his logo with a “JBY” callout in the background. According to the NBA star, it means “Just Be You” -- a motto he lives by every day. Surrounding the inscription is the first name of his mother Elizabeth, her date of birth, and date of death.
The sharp teeth design at the midsole refers to the time Kyrie spent with his father in Australia where he was born. It mimics the architectural structure of the roofs of the Sydney Opera House. The geometric thermo polyurethane heel counter represents Kyrie’s love for fashion.
Other Kyrie Irving logos are found on the tongue and insole while his signature is found on the underside of the tongue. His jersey number is displayed on the heel. Huge Swoosh logos grace both sides of these Kyrie 1 shoes.
The Nike Kyrie 1 comes in different colorways including basic ones such as the Burgundy, Pewter, War Hawk, Wolf Grey, and others. As Kyrie Irving’s first signature shoe, a good number of special colorways dedicated to important events in his life and career are released. They are discussed briefly below.
Nike Kyrie 1 All Star
Released just in time for the February 2015 All Star Weekend, the Kyrie 1 All-Star is dressed in a dark grey upper with black Swoosh logos and a black-speckled grey midsole. It is finished off with an icy blue translucent rubber outsole.
Nike Kyrie 1 Australia
Kyrie Irving honors his father not only through the sharp teeth design in the forefoot midsole but also through the release of an Australia colorway of the Nike Kyrie 1. The shoe comes with a teal and radiant emerald upper and green strike accents. The striking metallic bronze heel counter stands in contrast with those colors.
Nike Kyrie 1 BHM
To celebrate Black History Month, black and white Kyrie 1 shoes are released in limited numbers. The shoe also has dark gray accents. It was released on January 19, 2015.
Nike Kyrie 1 Brotherhood or Duke
Blue Kyrie 1 shoes are released during March Madness. It is called the Brotherhood or Duke colorway. Of course, it pays tribute to where Kyrie Irving spent his college days in Durham, North Carolina. The shoe features Duke University’s colors: Lyon Blue, Black, and Metallic Silver.
Nike Kyrie 1 Deceptive Red
The Deceptive Red is the second-to-release colorway of the Kyrie 1 shoes. This red pair comes with black accents and sits on a red sole. It was released on January 10, 2015.
Nike Kyrie 1 Dream
The Dream is the first colorway of the Nike Kyrie 1. For Kyrie Irving, it is a dream come true to lace up his own signature shoe for a professional Christmas game. It’s an even wilder dream to have this first very shoe released to the public. The Dream rendition has a multi-color upper that sits on a black and red sole.
Nike Kyrie 1 Easter
These Kyrie 1 joins in the annual Easter celebration. This signature model is released in a bright and vibrant colorway that is aptly named ‘Easter.’ Released on April 2, 2015, this shoe features a combination of medium berry/metallic silver/hot lava/black.
Nike Kyrie 1 Flytrap
The Flytrap colorway resembles Kyrie Irving’s on-court deceptive quickness. The dark emerald pair comes with a metallic silver Swoosh with accents of bright mango and light poison. The colorway was released in February 2015.
Nike Kyrie 1 Letterman
Inspired by Kyrie Irving’s dominant playing style in St. Patrick’s and Montclair Kimberley during his high school days, the Letterman rendition of the first Kyrie shoes has a tour yellow and teal upper and a university gold midsole. It is finished off with a white and light retro outsole.
Nike Kyrie 1 Rise
The Rise colorway was exclusively released to the Asian retail market in August 2015. It features a grey upper, white sole, and accents of yellow and black. The shoe is inspired by the outdoor basketball style in China.
Nike Kyrie 1 USA
The USA colorway was released on June 27, 2015 and was included in the Nike Basketball 2015 USA collection. It comes with an entirely blue Hyperfuse upper with a blue, red, and white mesh. It has a metallic silver Swoosh, white midsole, and red outsole.