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Category: Nike

Nike, Kanye West's Air Yeezy II drops June 9

Nike Air Yeezy II

The Nike Air Yeezy II, the follow-up to the brand's 2009 collaborative shoe with rapper/designer Kanye West, will be released June 9 at select retailers worldwide, Nike announced Wednesday.

According to the news release, while the original Yeezy used a late-'80s basketball shoe as its starting point, the II is built on a tennis shoe outsole (the Air Tech Challenge II, to be specific), and the overall silhouette is comparatively slimmer than that of its predecessor. Part of this is thanks to the elimination of unnecessary padding and partly due to the fact that it's tailored to the shape of Kanye West's (presumably narrower) foot. 

Nike Air Yeezy IIThere are nearly enough animal references in the Air Yeezy II to stock a zoo, including anaconda-textured leather quarter panels and eyelets, a molded area above the heel with raised bumps that resemble the armored underside of a reptile, a bird design on the tongue, and a parade of critter hieroglyphics (spelling out 'YZY' we're told) across the loop strap.

Nike Air Yeezy IIThe limited-edition shoe, with an MSRP of $245, will be released in two colorways -- "platinum" (we're going with "two slightly different shades of gray") with the sparest of orange accents, and black with accents in pink. Based on the photos we've seen, both versions of the shoe have a sole in a shade of minty green.


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-- Adam Tschorn

Photos: The Nike Air Yeezy II, scheduled for release June 9, will be available in platinum, top left, and black, top right, at a price of $245. Details include a bird design on the tongue, middle, and a green sole, bottom. Credit: Nike

New Nike Kobe VII System Supreme drops Dec. 22

Nike Kobe VII System Supreme

Coming on the heels of the news that there will, indeed, be a 2011-12 NBA season, is the announcement that there will be a new Kobe-endorsed pair of kicks to accompany it. The shoes will hit stores just three days before Bryant and company hit the hardwood on Christmas Day against the Chicago Bulls.

Photo Gallery: The new Nike Kobe VII System Supreme

The Nike Kobe VII System Supreme, scheduled to launch Dec. 22, isn't just an athletic shoe, it's a "system," apparently, because it has two inserts. One provides ankle support and a second cushions the midfoot. They can be switched out by the wearer depending on the style of play. (Take that, cross-trainers!)

Here's the description of the different inserts from Nike: 

If a player’s game is based on speed, there is the Attack Fast insert that features a Phylon midsole with Nike Zoom units in the forefoot and heel for the ultimate in lightweight responsiveness. It also has a low-cut, power-stretch cuff that hugs the foot for support. Its sock-like fit eliminates the need for a traditional tongue and innersleeve, keeping the shoe lightweight.

For games that get intense and physical in the paint, there is the Attack Strong insert. It offers a full-length Cushlon midsole and an ankle cuff for a plush, comfortable ride with great support.  The sensory cuffs are made of an engineered power-stretch material that is padded and perforated for comfort and ventilation.

There's a predator theme to the new shoe, with a polyurethane outer shell that boasts a raised pattern inspired by the coloration and textures of leopard, great white shark and black mamba. (On some versions of the shoe, a separate graphic pattern layered beneath the outer skin will reference one of several deadly creatures: leopard, great white shark, poison dart frog or gray wolf.)

The Nike Kobe VII System Supreme, which comes with two midsoles and sleeve heights, will retail for $180. The non-supreme version, a.k.a., the Nike Zoom Kobe VII System, which comes with a single midsole, is priced at $140. 

Those who don't find the specifics of the new shoe exactly to their liking can customize the fit, cushioning and color options through the Nike ID program. A preview of the customizable Kobe kicks is scheduled to debut at the Nike ID Facebook page Dec. 12. 


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-- Adam Tschorn

Photos: The new Nike Kobe VII System Supreme has a predator-inspired textured exterior, left, and inserts, right, that can be swapped out depending on the wearer's style of play. Credit: Nike

Nike offers up Marty McFly's 'Back to the Future' shoes



The mythical Nike MAG – the futuristic, light-up, athletic shoe from 2015 that has captured the fascination of sneakerheads and movie fans ever since Marty McFly donned a pair in “Back to the Future Part II” in 1989 — is finally a reality.

The footwear, which was unveiled by Nike in Los Angeles Thursday, comes with a couple of caveats. First, they lack the self-lacing mechanism depicted in the film. Second, there are only 1,500 pairs in existence. Third, they can only be bought via auction through E-Bay.

But the good news is that the auction of the shoes will go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation to fund Parkinson’s disease research. That will amount to no small chunk of change given that a small ceramic replica in a box signed by Nike’s vice president of innovation, design and special projects, brought in $3,500, and a pair of the Nike MAGs packaged in a bright yellow packing case (which will be personally signed by Michael J. Fox -- Marty McFly himself) fetched $37,500 in just eight minutes of frenzied bidding at a live auction Thursday night at the Montalban Theater in Hollywood.

The centerpiece of that event — which included appearances by actor Christopher “Doc Brown” Lloyd and Tinker Hatfield (who designed the shoes that appeared in the original film)- – was the reveal of the shoes themselves in all their glowing LED and electroluminescent glory.

The shoes were designed to be precise replicas of the film version, right down to the contour of the gray fabric upper, the speckled Zolatone sole and glowing Nike logo strap. The astonishingly light 2011 Nike MAG (the name refers to “magnetic levitation”) is the company’s first rechargeable shoe, and can glow for five hours between charges.

While technology hasn’t advanced far enough to satisfy the most hard-core movie fans and sneakerheads who’ve long hoped for the self-lacing feature depicted in the movie, Hatfield dangled a shoelace of hope.

“We’ve got some prototypes that work but they’re not ready for prime time yet,” he said during an interview earlier in the day.

So, if a self-lacing version is in the works, why release a non-lacing version now? Nike’s chief executive Mark Parker and the Michael J. Fox Foundation co-founder and Executive Vice President Debi Brooks both point to the opportunity to leverage the enthusiasm for the Nike MAG in hopes of doubling the amount of money raised.

“Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki have pledged a matching grant of up to $50 million to the Michael J. Fox Foundation through the end of 2012,” Brooks said. “That’s the kind of thing that can really help us envision a future without Parkinson’s.”

Each day, for 10 days (starting Sept. 8) 150 pairs of the 2011 Nike MAG shoes will be put up for auction at Bids for the first round of shoes ranged from $4,000 to $8,100 in the first few hours after the announcement.

--Adam Tschorn


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Photo: The Nike Mag shoe from the movie "Back to The Future 2." Credit: Nike.

New Air Jordan 2011 hops into China on Tuesday to commemorate 'The Year of the Rabbit'


The Air Jordan 2011 doesn't officially launch in the U.S. for almost three weeks, but a limited number with gold and red accent colors and special packaging will be available Tuesday -- and only in China.

The Lunar New Year officially begins Feb. 3, and the special kicks are a celebration of "The Year of the Rabbit" in the Chinese zodiac (Michael Jordan was born in 1963 -- another Rabbit year). The gray, red and gold colorway is meant to symbolize good luck and happiness -- which it certainly will for anyone who scores a pair. (If you don't happen to be in the People's Republic of China on Tuesday, your next chance will be Feb. 20. The same day the NBA All-Star game takes place at Staples Center, a handful of L.A. retailers are expected to to have them in stock.)

If you're just interested in checking out the Air Jordan 2011 -- and don't particularly care about the special colors or the box with the Chinese characters on it -- the 26th iteration of the iconic basketball shoe in white, black and gray hits retail nationwide on Feb. 19 and is expected to retail for $170.

According to the Nike folks, there are a couple of things that set this version apart: it's the first design to incorporate the use of hand-burnished leather, and it's the first to offer interchangeable midsoles -- a blue pair designed to maximize speed, and a red pair to help with "explosive power" (their words, not mine).

We're not sure what would happen if an athlete actually took to the court with a mixed pair of midsoles, but given the state of the Chinese zodiac, any gait that resembled a bunny hop would be wholly appropriate, no?

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos: The white, black and gray Air Jordan 2011 (left, $170) hits retail nationwide on Feb. 19. The special "Year of the Rabbit" version (right) goes on sale in China on Tuesday, and then at select L.A. retailers on Feb. 20 ($180). Credit: Nike, Inc.


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