Footwear Plus Shoesday Tuesdays: Court Cred



Footwear Plus Shoesday Tuesdays: Court Cred







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Spring offers basketball players a crop of new shoes promising to elevate their game. —Audrey Goodson

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Move Faster…

Nike veterans helped launch Micro G, the first line of basketball footwear by athletic brand Under Armour. The shoes, released last month, promise players increased quickness, improved cutting ability and enhanced elevation via their lightweight foam and sleeker design. The line features four styles, including the Micro G Black Ice, which was designed with the help of NBA star Brandon Jennings, who plans to wear the signature shoe on the court this season.

“This is a much-anticipated and significant milestone for Under Armour as we continue to elevate our presence in the sport of basketball from grassroots to the elite level,” says senior vice president of footwear Gene McCarthy, who previously ran Nike’s Jordan brand. After joining Under Armour, McCarthy brought on board Nike veterans Dave Dombrow as creative director and Charlie Brown as sourcing chief.

Initially, a limited number of pairs were introduced via national retailers to spark demand for wider distribution. In addition to the Micro G Black Ice, the collection also includes the Micro G Fly, Micro G Blur and Micro G Lite. The line will retail for $80 to $110.

Under Armour Micro G
 

Under Armour Micro G

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Jump Higher…
Athletic Propulsion Labs’ new Concept 1 shoe may have been the first product ever forbidden by the NBA for providing an unfair competitive advantage, but the buzz from last week’s ban may actually work in the company’s favor—providing credibility to its claims that the sneakers increase a player’s vertical leap by more than three inches.

“To be quite honest, we were not exactly shocked to hear the NBA chose to ban the APL shoes,” admits company co-founder Adam Goldston. Immediately after the ban was announced, APL’s website began selling T-shirts and merchandise proudly sporting the message “Banned by the NBA.”

The Concept 1 was introduced in July and is currently sold only through APL’s website, although the company reports that it’s exploring an expansion of its distribution into select athletic footwear and sporting goods retailers. The Concept 1 retails for $300.

Athletic Propulsion Labs Concept 1
 

Athletic Propulsion Labs Concept 1

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Stay Supported…
Budget-friendly basketball shoes get a boost with the release of the Elevate MW5, part of a new collection being introduced this spring by iconic ’80s basketball brand Above the Rim. The label was relaunched last week by Collective Licensing International, which bought the brand from Reebok and plans to release two segmented basketball shoe collections.

The premium collection, which includes the Elevate MW5, is targeted at athletic specialty and sporting goods stores, and features a new V33 outsole technology that provides flexible support to the spinal column, allowing players to move quickly and change directions suddenly. The Elevate MW5, which retails for $65 to $70, was developed with the help of its namesake, Minnesota Timberwolves player Martell Webster, who will be sporting the shoes on court next season. The second collection, which retails for $35 to $45, will be available at Payless ShoeSource stores.

“We loved what the brand stood for back in the ’80s, and the fact that it’s only been about basketball,” explains Eric Dreyer, vice president of brand management. “We combined some of the old but repositioned the brand so it’s fresh for today.”

Above the Rim Elevate MW5
 

Above the Rim Elevate MW5

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Avoid Injury…

New basketball brand Ektio hopes to hook players tired of wearing tape and braces on the court. Launched by a radiologist with help from an orthopedic surgeon and podiatrist, the hi-top sneaker reportedly allows the foot to simulate the barefoot experience, preventing ankle sprains and injuries. The bumpers at the sneaker’s base prevent the foot from rolling, while built-in interior straps keep the foot and shoe moving as one.

“We’ve provided comfort, safety, style and performance, all in one shoe,” says Ektio CEO Dr. Barry Katz, who notes that the NBA loses $15 million a year from ankle injuries—the most common orthopedic injury.

The sneaker, which comes in bright red, blue and black hues, retails for $199 and launches at Dick’s Sporting Goods this month.

Ektio Wraptor and Post Up
 

Left to Right: Ektio Wraptor and Ektio Post Up.

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