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St. Mary's Home For Boys And Nike Collaborate On New Aldridge Shoe

  1. Written by: caseyholdahl  / avg. rating: 5.0

    Ask the folks at Nike Basketball about LaMarcus Aldridge’s taste in sneakers and they’ll tell you he’s rather particular. He likes clean and traditional colorways, insists on patent leather whenever possible and doesn’t care for straps or Velcro. He likes what he likes, and he’s not easily persuaded otherwise.

    So when the designers at Nike sit down with Aldridge to collaborate on his signature shoes, they know they’ll have their work cut out for them. Luckily for them, the job of blueprinting a new signature shoe for Aldridge fell to four young men from St. Mary’s Home for Boys, which offers residential treatment and services to at-risk boys between the ages of 10 and 17.

    For the second straight year, the honor of designing a new look for LaMarcus’ Nikes was auctioned off at the Hoops And Heart fundraiser benefiting the make it better fund, and this year Charlie Denson, president of Nike, put in the winning bid. But rather than designing the shoes himself, a process he’s probably seen a thousand times over, Denson donated the package back to St. Mary’s to give at-risk boys a once in a lifetime experience.

    So in a meeting room in the Jerry Rice building on the Nike World Headquarters campus, four boys from St. Mary’s – Sebastian, Austin, Randall and Marcos – sat with lead designer Kyle Yamaguchi and Aldridge to come up with two new designs – one for home and one for the road – for LaMarcus’ Air Max HyperDunk 2010s.

    “We’re trying to create something that people can just see and recognize immediately that it's a Nike,” said Yamaguchi. “That's what we're trying to do.”

    Yamaguchi provided the technical and design expertise, teaching the foursome from St. Mary’s how to use the software Nike uses to create a mock-up, and Aldridge held final say over the design, but for the most part, the boys were given free reign to bring a new shoe to life.

    “I thought they did a great job,” said Denson, who watched as the group from St. Mary’s collaborated on their shoe design. “Kids these days are a lot more creative than we give them credit for. When you turn them loose, they're pretty good at this kind of stuff.”

    With suggestions from Aldridge and guidance from Yamaguchi, the boys from St. Mary’s eventually settled on two new versions of Aldridge’s HyperDunks featuring a diamond pattern in a white, red and black colorway that coincides with the Trail Blazers’ traditional team colors. The shoe, which Aldridge will wear later this season, will also feature a logo from the St. Mary’s Home for Boys.

    “I think they did an awesome job,” said Yamaguchi, who designs most of the player specific shoes for Nike’s basketball brand. “You can definitely sit in the 300 level of the Rose Garden and you're not going to see anything else like that on court. I think (the shoes) have a lot more energy than what I've even put on court this year for the guys. Everybody is joking that I may be out of a job pretty soon. Seeing what these kids did, it's pretty exciting to see them doing what they're doing but also being able to come in and create something as hot as that.”


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