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BEHIND THE DESIGN

BEHIND THE DESIGN

KYRIE 2
Before the Kyrie I was conceived, Nike had never launched a basketball shoe quite like it. The signature sneaker was built for a player who moves as fast side-to-side as he does up and down the court. Kyrie Irving’s debut signature model entered a new space with a precise focus on traction thanks to designer Leo Chang.

Building on this principle, the signature line continues with Chang’s Kyrie 2 design, which employs three key design elements to keep Kyrie fast in all directions: exceptional traction, a straighter ankle alignment and the ability to create banking.
The idea of banking came to life in Nike’s Sport Research Lab, where a permanently wedged shoe helped test the ability to power a wearer to move quickly in a range of directions. For the Kyrie 2, the idea was to create this ability for faster movement for Irving, no matter the angle. “We started by looking at motorcycle tires,” says Chang. “There are some that are really rounded, and probably more exaggerated than we would really want, but you could see the positions that some of these guys get, and how low they actually are. I think that was an amazing start to what we were thinking on the midsole and outsole design.”
Behind the Design: Nike Kyrie 2
In the end, motorcycle tire inspiration brought to life a tooling unlike any other. The Kyrie 2’s outsole features a dramatically rounded forefoot designed to enable multi-directional movements.

In the early stages, the traction pattern used a tightly spaced herringbone, but wear testing proved it was too hard. The results of that test led to redesigning the traction with specifically developed, finely tuned traction pattern, which not only provides multi-directional grip but also allows for deflection into the midsole.
Behind the Design: Nike Kyrie 2
“This [design] was finely tuned to the end. Every round, we got feedback until we were told, ‘this is ready, I could feel it helping me move fast. I feel confident in it.’ So that was pretty cool.” For Chang, the process of refining the tooling was crucial.
Behind the Design: Nike Kyrie 2
As for the upper, the Kyrie 2 builds on the Kyrie I’s form-fitting, sleek fit, with the addition of a new heel-to-midfoot strap. “The strap was actually inspired by the ligaments that provide stability in the foot,” explains Chang.
Behind the Design: Nike Kyrie 2
Cushioning is packaged in the form of encapsulated Zoom Air in the Kyrie 2’s heel. “The forefoot rounded geometry was the focal point of allowing the player to get into lower angles and change directions quickly. We incorporated Zoom Air into the heel to allow the player to transition through their heel strike faster.”
Behind the Design: Nike Kyrie 2
Ultimately, the Kyrie 2 looks to elevate the talents of one of the most unique point guards in the game. Built with maximum traction, a precise banking system and ankle alignment in mind, Irving’s game is once again set to take off. Look for Irving to hit the court this season in multiple colorways of the Kyrie 2, storytelling unique life moments for the floor general.
KYRIE 2