Paul George's new signature sneaker sheds the unnecessary

ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 14, 2019 04:35 PM
Paul George's new signature sneaker sheds the unnecessary
Nike's new PG 3 aims to be the lightest sneaker in the line ever.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George has always been known for being airborne.

Since his days at Cal State-Fresno, he had displayed an extra jolt of athleticism, which always led to an appointment with the rim.

In today's game, quickness, speed, and athleticism is paramount more than ever, which stresses the need of a shoe to deliver a much-needed performance boost.

George asked famed shoe designer Tony Hardman to follow three core principles.

SHED WHAT IS UNNECESSARY

George’s core ask of Hardman for the PG3: Make it faster.

The shoe’s speed had to match that of the contemporary game, along with the faster gear of his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates. Hardman’s strategy: Strip away the excess, leaving only the critical features in the PG3 that boosted George’s game.

Paring down unnecessary material (such as extra TPU), integrating the tongue into the collar, employing a softer, lighter foam in the midsole (George says he gets more response from the forefoot Zoom Bag, a result of Zoom’s ability to compress into the lighter Lifting Off: Introducing Paul George's Third Signature Shoe, the PG3 15foam) and utilizing mesh in the upper resulted in shedding nearly an ounce off the PG 2.5.

“Reducing the weight suits his style of play. He’ll set and pop from three off of his forefoot, and he’s doing a lot of cutting and slashing from the balls of his feet, both offensively and defensively,” says Hardman. “That softer midsole foam and the forefoot Zoom Bag help him to generate more speed.”

MAKE EVERY STEP MATTER

George confirms that he’s moving more now than at any point of his career. It’s partly due to his dynamic role within his OKC team. Ball screens, pin-downs, floppy action – George needs to effectively handle player movement and utilize space on the offensive end. 

And on defense, he’ll go after the opponent’s top scorer, per usual for the two-way player. For 48 minutes, he must respond proactively at both ends of the floor to be on top of every play.

To enable that movement, the PG3 features a circular traction pattern that helps George cut sharply, close out at a sprint and stop on a dime. George is further locked in with the free-floating, synthetic “wings” across the forefoot, a feature carried over from the PG2.

“When you don’t need to fuse or laminate those support elements, you can keep the upper softer and sock-like,” says Hardman. “That’s what the forefoot wings do. The upper can work underneath, but the wings still lock you in.”

REMEMBER WHERE YOU CAME FROM

Introducing Paul George's Third Signature Shoe, the PG 3. “Tony and I have gotten to the point where he knows what works for me,” says George. “Throughout the line, I got more vocal because he’s kept me in the loop, and also because he’s kept me comfortable to where I’m able to talk about the entire design process.”

George’s rise to the league’s elite hasn’t led him astray from his roots. Both the PG1 and the PG2 brought in flavor nodes of George’s love of video gaming. The PG3 highlights his hometown of Palmdale with a NASA-inspired colorway, taken from the site of the area’s research center. The image of lunar exploration conjures one of George’s favorite quotes that appear on the shoe’s heel: Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.

Those personal connections run deep in the shoe’s DNA. Inside the circular traction pattern are numbers that trace George’s past, such as his birthday, the different numbers he’s worn during his career and his number of tattoos. The inclusion of details with serious significance is the icing on top of Hardman’s tight bond with George, a familiarity that is only growing stronger.

The PG3 combines a collective wisdom over George’s career. Included are years of insight into the footwear features that enable George to perform his best, night after night, through nine seasons of play while still setting him up to evolve.

“I’ve always thought that there was another level for me,” says George. “I always dreamed of playing in the NBA, but I wasn’t satisfied with that. I always envisioned bigger plans. I want to be a champion. That’s what my dream is. I always believed there was a higher space for me.” 

Sometimes, the road to a higher dream starts at the bottom of a pool. 

The limited-edition Nike PG3 NASA colorway is available Jan. 26 at select Nike and Titan doors. SRP is 6,295 PHP.

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