The pro basketball playoffs are upon us and the stakes are elevated to new heights. So are the shoes. In the spirit of raising the bar, the Nike Basketball design team created a series of elite footwear that is the most technically advanced the brand has created, while celebrating the pride and passion of the playoffs. The superior lightweight performance, premium materials and meticulous construction define the 2012 Elite Series, comprised of three shoes - the LEBRON 9 PS, Nike Kobe VII and Nike Zoom Hyperdunk.
The concept began from direct insight from players, to have footwear designed at the lightest, most optimized weight while still delivering stability and protection through the most premium, technically advanced materials.
"With the playoffs upon us we're bringing our best footwear to the best teams and players,” said Leo Chang, Nike Basketball Footwear Design Director. “As time evolves our design team explores new and creative executions with premium materials and we're excited to celebrate the road to gold with our best footwear.”
Home and Away colors are the inspiration for the elegant white and black base of the shoes; as the trophy is the inspiration behind the gold details spread throughout the series. Each style of the Nike Basketball Elite Series worn on court will initially display a Swoosh design in team colors. As the playoffs evolve, Nike will replace the team-colored Swoosh with a gold one for the Finals.
Mid-foot shanks and heel counters on all three styles of the shoe feature carbon fiber, a premium, ultra-thin technical material that makes them lighter and more responsive. The Nike Pro Combat inspired padded collar protection -- strategically positioned along the tongue and innersleeves -- gives the series a unique aesthetic and premium support for impact and pressure. Made of molded and articulated foam, the collar is extra flexible, allowing it to adapt to the anatomy of the foot and create a superior fit.
The LEBRON 9 PS, Nike Kobe VII and Nike Zoom Hyperdunk uppers all incorporate the highest performance materials, each re-engineered from inside out to ensure that the products are as light and strong as possible. The lightweight construction accommodates the ultra-high tensile strength Flywire made with Kevlar® aramid. This premium material has lower levels of stretch resulting in a stronger and lighter shoe, and a perfect fit.
Last but not least, the series comes with a special sock liner built for internal traction. This combines 3D anatomical fit with non-slip print -- strategically distributed throughout the liner – to reduce the internal movement.
All three Nike Basketball Elite Series shoes - the LEBRON 9 PS, Nike Kobe VII and Nike Zoom Hyperdunk - are available at retail and at www.nikestore.com beginning April 28, 2012.