NBA rising prodigy Zion Williamson is quickly being regarded as the next LeBron James and after signing with Jordan Brand in July, the 19-year-old star has appeared in his first campaign for the forthcoming Air Jordan 34. Taking to Harlem in New York the pairing couldn’t be more apt as two of basketball’s biggest future icons – Williamson and new Jumpman technology – collided. Taking to the courts at the Dunlevy Milbank Centre, the New Orlean Pelican rookie jumped, blocked and dunked in the new silhouette.
“The Air Jordan signature game shoes have become the most influential line of performance footwear in basketball history,” says Gentry Humphrey, VP of Jordan Brand Footwear. “By introducing new, proprietary innovation with the XXXIV, the line’s game-changing legacy is extended to a new generation of athletes.”
As one of the lightest basketball shoes created by the brand, the shoe delivers by stripping away non-essential material from the tooling and upper to leave athletes only what they need. This innovation entitled as the ‘Eclipse Plate’ comes in the form of two Pebax pieces and a forefoot Zoom Air unit, to help provide optimal explosion off the foot. And as the name suggests, also boasts a forefoot Zoom Air unit. This unlocks the full deflection point of the unit — maximising its piston-like effect — while the Eclipse Plate forms a cove, which allows the unit to compress and move without restraint. The composition of the plate, with its focus on stability provides increased control to basketball’s full range of explosive movements: cuts, sprints, jumps. The sole is also highly considered and complementing the Eclipse Plate, a herringbone traction pattern was perfected after conducting athlete foot scans.
“The Eclipse Plate takes the inherent values of the propulsion Flight Plate, a technology that is well-loved by Jordan athletes, and helps reduce the overall stiffness and strips down the weight,” says Kuerbis. “We achieve this by thinking about the type of plate materials used and how we can harness the principle value of each element.”
To be worn by select Jordan Brand athletes and partner high school and collegiate teams, athlete feedback was used to design the new style.
“Work on this shoe began by collating feedback from the Air Jordan XXXIII,” says Jordan Brand designer Tate Kuerbis. “Athletes noted a desire to improve traction and reduce weight — that became our starting point. We focused on athletes who are playing above the rim and making them more explosive.”
The shoe is priced at $240 AUD and will drop on Nike from September 25.