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Zion Williamson is the next Jordan Brand athlete with a signature shoe.
The athletic powerhouse revealed the Zion 1 today, the debut sneaker for the second-year NBA star, who is also the brand’s first Gen-Z signature athlete.
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Jordan Brand said that it started working on the Zion 1 shortly after the New Orleans Pelicans baller signed with the company in 2019, keeping both his star power and physical power in mind. Although it is performance driven, the brand made sure to highlight the personal traits that make him a superstar — with an emphasis on his name.
“We knew that one of Zion’s main inspirations for the look of the shoe was superhero armor. But when we thought about an icon or symbol that could clearly draw out the shoe’s benefits, the ‘Z’ made perfect sense to us,” Jordan Sport senior footwear designer Vianney de Montgolfier said in a statement. “It’s the letter for speed, it has the base for power, and it’s maybe the most distinguishable letter in the alphabet. There’s nothing else like it.”
From a tech perspective, Jordan Brand equipped the Zion 1 with a full-length Air Strobel and a Zoom Air unit underneath the forefoot created to offer energy-returning stability, a forefoot band and re-engineered traction pattern for a secure and responsive feel, a flexible articulated tongue with padding and stitching patterns inspired by a superhero’s suit (a nod to the baller’s love for superheroes) and a “Z” lateral side design to harness power in the heel and enable speed in the forefoot.
Jordan Brand explained that the Zion 1 will also capture Williamson’s personality, which it described as down-to-earth and rooted in values such as a love for his family and being accountable to those who rely on him.
“I remember talking to Zion once when he was close to the draft, when he said that he needed to go back to class,” VP of Jordan Brand affairs Howard White recalled via statement. “He said that he was in the middle of a few projects with his classmates and that they depended on him. He couldn’t leave them hanging. Boy, that sounds a lot like the Black Cat [Michael Jordan], doesn’t it? We all have a responsibility to a certain standard. When a mountain of a man stands with the common man, that’s when phenomenal things happen.”
To deliver on his personality, Jordan Brand revealed the initial four colorways of the Zion 1, which feature nods to his upbringing and style of play.
The “ZNA” look, for instance, is a celebration of Williamson’s rise to the top of the sport. It releases on May 5. The “Noah” colorway — slated to drop May 19 — is inspired by “the unbreakable bond” between the baller and his little brother, featuring doodles inspired by Noah’s visit to Nike HQ in Beaverton, Ore. And “Marion,” which will release on May 26, is an homage to Williamson’s home in South Carolina.
However, Jordan Brand will lead the launch with the April 23 drop of the “Gen Zion” colorway, which employs a simple black and white palette.