BEHIND THE DESIGN
HFR X LEBRON 16
Introducing the first ever LeBron signature shoe designed for women by women. The HFR x LeBron 16 Lifestyle shoe was created in partnership with Harlem’s Fashion Row–the game-changing fashion collective.
For the past decade, Harlem’s Fashion Row has worked to uplift up-and-coming female designers of color. Inspired by LeBron's belief that Women of Color are the strongest people on Earth, Nike called upon HFR to envision a signature sneaker that would embody a representation of strength specifically for women. The New York-based collective’s reimagined the LeBron 16 from the sole up.
This special edition LeBron 16 is constructed with Nike’s strongest fabric construction to date, BattleKnit 2.0, and designed with key exclusive features that were inspired by the designer’s vision of strength. For the designers, Brandice Daniel, Kimberly Goldson, Felisha Noel, and Undra Celeste, strength was key if they were going to create a shoe bearing LeBron’s name. “Now is the time for women to really let the world see how powerful we are,” Daniel says. “How powerful we are as individuals, and how powerful we are together.” The 3D-model Lion combined with the iconic leather cuff paint a picture of strength like never before seen on a LeBron model.
LeBron has featured lions on his shoes before, but never one like this. Teeth bared, its mane shooting out like the rays of the sun, this king of beasts is a 3D-molded work of art. The only way to make it any cooler, the designers figured, was to put gold tips on the laces, then crisscross them through the lion’s mouth. So that’s what they did.
Crafted of genuine leather, a cuff featuring a removable golden buckle emblazoned with LeBron’s signature crown transforms into a bracelet you can wear on your wrist. The HFR team chose a cognac hue to evoke the sandal straps found on high-end designer pumps. For added versatility, the shoe comes with an extra cuff in white. “I would wear this with a ball gown,” Noel says.
When the designers talked with LeBron, they noticed he consistently used four words when describing his mom. Strength. Loyalty. Dignity. Courage. "Those African American women when I was growing up, I just saw how powerful and strong they are," LeBron says. "You see the life, the energy, the emotions, the flare, the swag, the voice." So the team placed his key words inside the shoe, in type so large they’re impossible to miss. “Every time someone puts their foot in the shoe, that’s what they’re standing on,” Daniel says. “I think that’s just so dope.”
The HFR team came together with a mix of different ideas, swatches, and color ideas. But the one thing they all agreed on from the start was that the shoe needed gold. For them, gold represents luxury and royalty. You’ll find it on everything from the lace tips and grommets to the bracelet buckle and Dunkman. “They envisioned this shoe would be able to translate onto a walkway, into a showroom,” LeBron says. Celeste agrees: “I think this shoe will allow women to release the inner fierce person that they admire.”