The fifth model in Kyrie Irving’s signature line was officially unveiled by Nike Basketball. The debuted colorway is dubbed “Black Magic.”
There are three crucial elements of the Kyrie 5. Designer of the 5, Benjamin Nethongkome breaks them down:
1. An articulated forefoot zoom bag This is a huge technological unlock for supporting guard play. Why? Because of its unique properties (see sidebar for more on this), the Air Zoom Turbo unit curves to wrap the bottom and sides of the foot. “In the Kyrie 5, it is distributed across the entire forefoot footbed, working with his quick-change-of-direction style of play. When he’s banking, cutting, or attacking in drastic degrees, his foot will engage the Air Zoom Turbo unit providing responsiveness at all directions,” explains Nethongkome.
2. A new containment system Inspired by a Venus Flytrap, this feature creates optimal containment above the Air Zoom Turbo unit. “The Flywire is arranged so that it locks the foot into the Air Zoom Turbo unit, and this amplifies the responsiveness of Zoom in the forefoot,” says Nethongkome. “We wanted it to be both beautiful and improve on fit and feel.”
3. A new traction pattern This draws direct inspiration from Irving. “The traction system for the KYRIE 5 creates stability through discreet geometries,” says Nethongkome. “Have you seen the Hamsa hand tattoo on his left arm? It’s a symbol of protection for him, it kind of shields him from all the bad juju, and so it became the jump-off point for the shaping of the outsole patterns. He wants to have more than just a basketball shoe. And this allows us to apply more of his spirit throughout the shoe.”
With his latest signature shoe, it looks at though Kyrie Irving was more involved in the direction of his line, from the aesthetics and performance features of the shoes , to the stories told through the colorways. To quote the brand they “all bare Irving’s stamp of approval.”
But watching it evolve to where it has now, I’m more enriched with the cultural aspects that make fashion and ideas move forward. I’ve become more involved with what’s going on in the outside world. Before, I was just trying to get a shoe out. I was just trying to have something that looks hot, looks good. Now I’m trying to have something that is driven from who I am.
In that, I’m just a normal person with a vision. I want to have everyone be included in it.
With the colorways, and the stories these relay, I’m trying to be more honest. Whether people pass judgment on the stories or not, it’s going to happen. The importance is making these relatable. And at times, I want to support others in sharing their stories. People sometimes feel like they’re alone or they feel like they can’t connect to anyone. I want to come in and bridge that gap for them — that’s part of the great potential of this whole thing.
The “Black Magic” colorway launches November 22 and will release in China December 6.