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Behind the Design: Kyrie 2 'What The'

BEHIND THE DESIGN

KYRIE 2 “WHAT THE”
It has now been two seasons since Kyrie Irving was blessed with his own signature footwear line. The short time span paved the way for plenty of storylines to come to life while Kyrie continued to create new ones on the hardwood. Now following his most memorable season yet, the story behind his Kyrie 2 signature shoe comes full circle with a new take on the classic “What The” idea.

“Our conversations around this shoe were to bring the unexpected in the execution because we’ve already done the “What The” theme several times on other models,” explained Nike Basketball Design Director Leo Chang. “Customizers are doing it where they just paint up their own “What The” versions. So we started to think about how we could create something only Nike could do.”
Behind the Design: Kyrie 2 'What The'
With that in mind, the team set out to find a new way to execute Irving’s first-ever “What The” design. That meant thinking past the usual graphics and color mash-ups. “For this one, we thought about it more in a monotone, sculptural, dimensional execution with very minimal color pops,” explained Chang.

Once the “What The” concept was evolved, designer Meline Khachatourian and the team took on the task of bringing these stories to life in a three dimensional fashion. “I had to familiarize myself with what Kyrie has gone through and how it has been shown through all of his footwear and through the artwork,” she shared. “It wasn't about trying to be flashy by having multiple colors all over the shoe, it was more about the subtlety of integrating Kyrie's stories through unique 3-D textural graphics carefully molded on both shoes.”
Behind the Design: Kyrie 2 'What The'
Graphics seen throughout the Kyrie 2 series were brought to life all over the “What The” shoe, from the BHM edition to the Inferno iteration. “There’s a graphic on the strap of the Inferno colorway, it’s an image of Kyrie doing a crossover. We thought why don’t we take where the ball would be in the image and turn that into the “Kyrache” logo and bring that back in,” Khachatourian further explained. Now incorporating the familiar “Kyrache” logo, the new take on the Inferno graphic is molded into the heel of the “What The’ Kyrie 2.

Adding another element to the evolved concept, the “What The” Kyrie 2 is prepared in two tonal executions.
Behind the Design: Kyrie 2 'What The'
“We decided to do an all-over tonal execution to unite all the stories and graphics, and present them in a new, fresh way,” explained Color Designer Tara Onishi. “The graphic elements take on a whole new look and feel and then become points of discovery throughout the shoe.”

A tonal execution not only presents the idea in a new way, it also allows for another first in the series; multiple colorways. The sail-based execution nods back to the debut “Dream” Kyrie 2, while the green glow edition acknowledges the “Kyrie-oke” edition.
Behind the Design: Kyrie 2 'What The'
Furthermore, the multiple colorways won’t be available in all the same places, bringing back that allure and need to hunt your pairs down. “To make it even more special, the sail colorway will be exclusive to North America and the green glow colorway will only be available in the rest of the world,” Onishi said.

A shoe celebrating a legendary season wouldn’t be complete without a nod to Kyrie Irving’s first-career championship ring. “For his first championship, we have one gold ring (on the upper eyelet). We wanted to keep it unique so we did just one gold ring.” Khachatourian adds.
Behind the Design: Kyrie 2 'What The'
As a whole, this evolved take on the “What The” concept celebrates the talent that is Kyrie Irving like never before. Subtle in appearance, the shoe tells a story inside and out, and from top to bottom. “From afar it looks like one silhouette, one color theme. But when you look up close you see all these stories. Someone who has been following all the shoes until now will definitely appreciate that.”