NBA superstar and new Washington wizard Russell Westbrook is known for his relentless and dynamic personality on the pitch, shaped by a deep passion for fashion – a driving force that has manifested itself in Jordanian generations: “Why not?” Sneakers just as expressive as its signature superstar. Westbrook’s newest signature shoe – the Jordan “Why Not?” Zer0.4 – comes in three inline color variants with an additional special edition that was developed in collaboration with the Japanese cult fashion brand FACETASM.
Represented by a colorful amalgamation and arrangement of patterns, colors and textures throughout the Jordan. “Why not?” Westbrook, the Zer0.4 collection, names his hometown of South Central Los Angeles and Greater Los Angeles as inspiration for the playful prismatic designs. But it is arguably the fourth edition that was designed in collaboration with the FACETASM founder Hiromichi Ochiai and contains the most interesting background story with the intercontinental character of his birth.
Westbrook and Ochiai, brought together by a mutual belief in the more spirited “freedom and fun” effects of fashion during Westbrook’s tour of Asia in 2018 and 2019, forged a friendship between Los Angeles and Tokyo and eventually worked together to produce a FACETASM curved shoe clothing designs revealed yesterday. Represented by a tracksuit, jacket, hoodie and T-shirt, each adorned with lively pallets, which are characterized by Westbrook’s expressive posture, and are provided with ribbed details over the arm arms and back – a characteristic FACETASM touch.
We discussed more details about the new Jordan “Why not?” With Lee Gibson, Jordan Brand’s Head of Shoe Design. Zer0.4 shoe design:
The Double Stacked Zoom Air element integrated in the shoe seems to be an important addition to this version. Are there any aesthetic details that convey the responsiveness and cushioning of this technology?
Lee Gibson: The double-stacked Zoom airbag is aesthetically represented by a rectangular pouch on a kidney-shaped pouch in the forefoot of the shoe. There is also a small, circular window that gives you a little peek inside the shoe. The energy return between the stacked zoom units helps create responsiveness that is twice that of the units alone.
The stacked placement of the Zoom bags also provides double cushioning so athletes can enjoy a more responsive ride. At the top, the sharp angles and aggressive color blocking are in line with Russell’s overall direction to express himself to suit his style of play and approach to the game.
What was his part in creating this shoe when he spoke of Russell Westbrook’s desire to express himself?
Lee Gibson: Russell spoke to us about the importance of being stable, how explosive he plays. That’s why we focused on blocking the heel, minimizing internal movement in the shoe, while adding a new traction pattern to allow it to take a quick first step, moving quickly in any direction. He also plays mostly on his forefoot, so adding a double-stacked zoom airbag creates responsiveness exactly where he needs it.
Russell is always exploring the design options to see if they can help tell his story and personal narrative while also inspiring others. Therefore the colors are very personal for him. For him, every color embodies family – whether it is his fashion family with the color FACETASM, his direct family with the color of the family, his family in LA and the community with the color of the upbringing and the values that he in the family with the color Trust & Loyalty is looking for.
-Lee Gibson, shoe design director at Jordan Brand
Going back to Westbrook’s desire for stability while playing, can you tell us about the hundreds of thin blades that make up the outsole’s traction pattern? How does the team rate the grip of an outsole compared to other shoes?
There are several things that help us test traction patterns for our performance shoes. First, we use data from previous performance shoes and combine these benchmarks with feedback from consumers and athletes from wear tests. We also subjected the shoes to live and virtual simulations to ensure we were developing the best possible shoe for the athlete’s needs.
In this case for the Jordan “Why not?” Zer0.4, we worked directly with Russell to wear it and gave us feedback to consider what it would take to perform at his best.
The fourth installment of the Russell Westbrook signature, “Why Not?” The collection kicks off January 6 with the release of the “Upbringing” colorway, designed to nod to Westbrook’s Los Angeles roots. This is followed by the “Family” model, which is decorated with a family crest, which will be released on January 14th with the watery mood of the “Trust & Loyalty” design will complete the publication on February 25th. The FACETASM x Jordan Why not? The issue is provisionally to appear at the end of January. Sign in to see all “Why not?” ZERO.4 will be published here.