For the first time, Nike is releasing a signature LeBron James sneaker specifically for women. And to create the female-focused look, the Swoosh recruited three designers from the burgeoning Harlem Fashion Row collective.
Nike said the NBA star and the trio from the group (Kimberly Goldson, Felisha Noel and Undra Celeste Duncan) — who were selected by its founder Brandice Daniels — wanted to “take two voices devoted to empowering others and combine them to create a shoe that honors the strength of African American women everywhere.” According to Nike, they were selected for the project “based on their previous work and passion for sport.”
The Swoosh said at the brand’s headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, the three women worked with longtime LeBron franchise designer Jason Petrie and Nike global basketball footwear designer Meline Khatachourian to learn about how performance basketball shoes are made, and flew back to New York City to piece together a concept.
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Goldson said in a statement that there was a connection between the designers and the iconic basketball player when he described his idea for the collab — which was unveiled Tuesday at the Harlem Fashion Row Showcase Gala.
“We each had something that connected the four of us based on what LeBron saw from his mom, and the sacrifices she made for him,” Goldson said. “My mom did it. LeBron’s mom did the same for him. The connectivity was there between all of us.”
James was honored at the gala for his influence and contribution to the community, and at the event, he described why this pair of kicks is meaningful to him.
“As someone who has a platform, because of what I do, I thought it was important to lend that platform to a group of people that I believe are under-recognized,” James said. “Being the son, husband and father of strong African-American women, I felt like this was something I wanted to do for them and for all the strong women out there who are succeeding despite what might be stacked against them.”
The women’s-only Harlem Fashion Row x Nike LeBron 16 will hit SNKRS in North America and Nike.com in limited quantities on Sept. 7.
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