Are There Too Many Colorways of Signature Shoes?
words // Zac Dubasik
When I first started to write this list, I began counting the number of colorways of Kobe 8. Then I realized that was just a waste of time, because whether it was 14 or 45, it’s excessive either way.
Earlier this week, we had a poll asking your favorite colorway so far of the LeBron 11. We are barely a quarter of the way through the season, and we’ve already seen 15 colorways which are either already out, or expected to release. (Including Elite and NSW versions, there were over 20 versions of the LeBron X)
With the launch of the KD line moved forward to summer, we saw many colorways of the 6 release before a single one that matched KD’s Thunder uniform.
Things haven’t always been this way. Back in the late ‘80s and for most of the 90's, signature shoes like the original Air Jordans were typically only seen in 3 or 4 colorways. Even the earlier LeBron and Kobe models were only available in a handful of general release colorways.
By the time the LeBron 6 and Kobe 4 came around though, in the 2008-2009 season, things were starting to blow up. A four-colorway pack of "The LeBrons"-themed 6s released prior to a single general release. And then came colorways to celebrate away cities, House of Hoops exclusive releases like the Taxis, and an MVP shoe. The Kobe 4 was available in China exclusive colorways, movie themes, MLK commemorative editions, and, of course, Finals versions.
We’ve seen the same phenomenon with Kevin Durant’s line, with versions in his college colorway, commemorating his favorite sandwich, and a fantasy career as a weatherman, among many others. And you can’t forget yearly All-Star and Christmas editions.
On top of all these themed colorways, there are plenty of versions that aren’t exactly team colorways, and aren’t exactly based on any particular story, but are just extra colorways. It’s to such an extent these days that it’s hard to even keep track of.
Is that necessarily a bad thing though? There have literally been hundreds of colorways of shoes like the Air Force 1 over the years. If it’s a great model, it’s a great model. Do you like seeing so many colorways of today’s signature lines? Or is it becoming too much?
1.Quit making colorways that are limited to few-to-none. Of course it keeps the demand for those up, but the demand for the more simpler and general release colorways drop.
2.There is no need to release 50+ colorways of the same model. Jordan Brand was smart, kept colorways to a minimum, and when it was time to retro, release new colorways to keep the thrive of sales for that particular model. When you see the LBJ X retro in the future, not quite sure releasing a 55th colorway will be too exciting.
and a miscellaneous, whatever creative version
The rest only prove that "we at Nike have a random color generator to design this crap for us."
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except when the dunks did the What The shoe, you could pick out the different parts from different models and it was a cool concept (different material, logos, etc)... the Lebrons, Kobes and Durants have so many cw's and shit the What The shoe is just a wacky mess with bunch of colors and its hard to make out all the different cw's used
That's what he's saying, lol. The What the Dunk was successful because there were a TON of SB's out at the time. For the What The color schemes to be successful on sig models, they have to release enough colorways for there to be variety. Thus "made all these releases necessary."