Nike reprises the “What The” motif for the 2014 Nike LeBron 11 and the KD VI sneakers. The first version of the motif was featured on the Nike SB classic Dunk sneaker seven years ago then in 2012 on Kobe Bryant’s Kobe VII back in 2012.
Now LeBron James and Kevin Durant see their signature sneakers get the treatment. The sneakers continue the eclectic style known for the “What The” sneakers with the LeBron 11 featuring eight product design elements and 20 different graphics from previous LeBron signatures (including the LeBron VII’s tongue detailing and the Akron map of the LeBron V). Meanwhile KD’s the KD VI features a record 35 different graphics and colorways from each of the previous KD VI releases, adopting everything from a Maryland blue crab-inspired Swoosh to “Aunt Pearl” florals and more.
These sneakers will be pretty limited at Nike Basketball stockists but but look for Nike LeBron 11 “What The LeBron” to hit stores on May 31 and the Nike KD VI “What The KD” to release on June 7.
LEBRON 11 ‘WHAT THE’
Eleven years since its inception, LeBron James’s signature shoe fuses performance technology with inspiration. His remarkable career accomplishments – two–time world champ, four-time league MVP, two-time gold medalist – have paralleled the industry-defining Nike innovation in his signature shoes. For 2014, the LEBRON 11 “What the LeBron” remixes eight product design elements from past LeBron signature shoes, along with 20 different graphics and colors from previous editions. A cornucopia of inspiration, it features some of the most popular details rooted in innovation and storytelling, setting James’s shoes apart. You’ll see 28 different elements, from the tongue detailing of the LEBRON VII to the Akron map on the LEBRON V.
What originated seven years ago as a sociological sneaker experiment on the Nike SB Dunk Low has become a cultural phenomenon. “What The” are two simple words that speak volumes — a natural, intuitive reaction to something good, bad or ugly; but always open to interpretation. The “What The #@*%” phrase invaded the sneaker sanctum and took on a new four-letter word with D-U-N-K. For the first time, Nike Basketball reveals plans to elevate the “What The” concept for signature shoes in 2014.
It’s part of Nike’s DNA to innovate and take risks. From day one, co-founders Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman encouraged all employees to push the limits on creativity and embrace irreverence. Fast forward to 2007 when Nike Skateboarding footwear designer James Arizumi upped the ante on Knight’s provocative mandate with a Nike SB “What The Dunk.” It was the brand’s first shoe featuring a mashup of iconic colorways. It was pop art with a purpose, tying a designer’s method to his madness.
Reactions varied, with some entertained and others alarmed. The special edition was like a genetic mutation of the Dunk — a classic hoops shoe born on the hardwood in 1986 and revamped for skating. This makeover fueled a legion of worldwide loyalists from Japan to Geneva.
Nike Basketball’s design team was in full stride with the Nike Kobe VII in 2012. Living by Kobe Bryant’s mantra to always push creative limits, an idea was born. Graphics lead Erick Goto, inspired by Arizumi’s seven-year-old “What the Dunk” shoe, set out to take Nike Basketball to new places with the first “What the Kobe.” Unveiled on the cover of Australia’s globally-revered Sneaker Freaker magazine, the “What the Kobe” sold out immediately.
Goto’s creation began a new trend tied to hoops. Nike Basketball has designed six “What The” models over the years, with four of them hitting stores. “Our team takes prides in bringing athlete stories to life. Over the course of the year, we reach a point where we get to put a capstone on each model, and celebrate the shoes in a wild way,” said Goto.