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10 Years After the NBA Banned Its Shoes, APL Returns With New Tech-Loaded Basketball Sneakers

Part of APL’s early allure was derived from the NBA banning its tech-loaded Concept 1 basketball shoe. Ten years later, the brand is delivering two new models with an updated version of the innovation.

As a nod to the anniversary, APL is set to release the SuperFuture and Concept X basketball shoes, which the brand is calling “the two most advanced basketball shoes ever created.” The looks will feature advanced versions of its controversial Load ‘N Load technology, which it claims increases the wearer’s vertical leap up to 3.5 inches.

“Every single APL product is designed with function in mind first and foremost,” APL co-founder Adam Goldston told FN. “The APL Concept X and the APL SuperFuture are the best basketball shoes currently available on the market, so the athlete that cares about performing at their best will definitely want them, but we believe you can make technology look beautiful, so the casual wearer will also gravitate towards them.”

For the SuperFuture, the brand uses the 8-Spring Load ‘N Launch technology and adds several other innovations. Most notably, the new silhouette utilizes the new lightweight APL FutureFoam midsole compound, which was created with responsiveness and explosiveness in mind. The FutureFoam encases the Load ‘N Launch tech for greater energy return and underfoot cushioning, which is paired with centralized shank plates for energy transfer from heel to forefoot.

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Other features include seamless TechLoom uppers paired with synthetic overlays and elastic straps to keep the wearer’s foot secure, padded collars with Velcro straps for lockdown and support, and clear rubber outsoles with solid rubber inlays with a multidirectional traction pattern for grip.

APL SuperFuture
APL SuperFuture.
CREDIT: Courtesy of APL

APL will also deliver the Concept X, which features a new version of the tech, dubbed Load ‘N Launch Carbon 10. For this innovation, the brand added full-length carbon-fiber plates that act as springboards for efficient energy transfer. Also, larger coil springs are positioned throughout the forefoot beneath the carbon plates. This pairing, APL said, will work in conjunction to provide energy return and enhanced elevation.

The uppers are also tech-loaded. The Concept X features full-length stretch TechLoom bootie uppers that are paired with APL Exolock overlays. The overlays, APL explained, uses various embroidery techniques, thread materials and cord to create components with enhanced support and low weight.

Aside from Load ‘N Launch Carbon 10 and the uppers, the Concept X will include the newly-developed APL FutureFoam midsoles and outsoles with a clear rubber compound for traction that showcases the tech.

Both the APL SuperFuture and Concept X can be purchased today via Athleticpropulsionlabs.com and at the brand’s flagship store at The Grove in Los Angeles. The SuperFuture is available for $300 in men’s and women’s sizing in several colorways including “Highlight Mint,” “Highlight Pink,” “Pristine/Laser Red” and “Black/White/Clear.” And the Concept X, which is also available in men’s and women’s sizing, retails for $400. The lead colorways include “Black/White,” “Metallic Silver/Black/White,” “Green/White/Black” and “Rose Dust/Nude.”

According to APL, the NBA banned the Concept 1 basketball shoe with its Load ‘N Launch technology on Oct. 19, 2010, because it provided “an undue competitive advantage” to the wearer. A decade later, Goldston said the experience remains incredible.

“The reason why the Concept 1 was banned by the NBA was because it provided the wearer with an ‘undue competitive advantage’ over their opponent, so being a brand new company and having the most respected basketball organization say the shoes were too good to be worn in the league was a pretty amazing moment and led to meteoric sales for us and laid the foundation for us to now be where we are,” Goldston told FN.

APL Concept X
APL Concept X.
CREDIT: Courtesy of APL
APL SuperFuture
APL SuperFuture.
CREDIT: Courtesy of APL
Michael Atmore; Iris Apfel; Ron Fromm, Sponsored By FFCF

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