Sneakers are an expression of a player’s personality on the basketball court. We caught up with players from around the NBA to talk signature sneakers, how they break in their game kicks, and what they’d want on their own signature shoes.
Would you wear another player's signature sneaker?
Derrick Favors: I wear D Rose’s. He’s about the only person’s I’d wear. I already wore them against Chicago. I just wear the most comfortable and dopest shoe I can get.
Jabari Parker: I would, because Jordan Brand has a few I like. I wear CPs and I wear Blake Griffin’s shoe.
Dennis Schroder: I wear Kyrie’s right now. Everybody says they won’t wear another player’s sneaker, but I just go with my feet. If I like them, it don’t matter who designed them.
Jarrett Jack: I get it, if they say they don’t want to do it from a competitive standpoint. But this is my thing: if I wear another player’s shoe and he’s guarding me, I’m not gonna say, “Let me not bust his ass because I’ve got his shoes on.” That would never, ever pop into my head. Regardless of what kind of shoes I’ve got on, I’m still going to play my game. I’m still going to try to be aggressive and go at whoever I’m playing against, and I’m going out there trying to get a win no matter what. I just like the Kyries. And then him being a good dude on top of that is kind of cool, too. If he was an asshole, but they were still dope sneaks, I probably would still wear them.
Moe Harkless: It’s all each person’s opinion. Some people say, “If I’m playing against Kobe, I won’t wear Kobes.” But I don’t care. I like the shoes. Kobe was my favorite player growing up, so I don’t mind showing that respect.
J.R. Smith: I play in whatever I like. I don’t get that personal about whoever’s shoe it is. If I like them, and they’re comfortable, I’m gonna play in them.
Damian Lillard: It’s an honor to have someone feel like my shoe is good enough and they like it enough to represent that on the floor. I don’t look at it as, “Oh, he’s wearing my shoe.” I just appreciate the fact that they can take a liking to something that I’m passionate about.
Tony Wroten: I like what I like, but I wouldn’t wear somebody’s shoes if I’m getting ready to play against them. I would never wear LeBrons in Cleveland. I would never wear Kyries in Cleveland. I would wear ‘em during the season, but just not against them. Maybe against Kobe, because Kobe’s a legend and he’s on his way out. But I would never wear somebody’s shoes I’m getting ready to play against.
How do you break in your game shoes?
Gerald Green: I just put ‘em on and play. Some shoes are more comfortable than others for me. If a shoe is really comfortable when I put it on, that’s the shoe I play with.
Amar’e Stoudemire: I put two heat packs on the top and bottom of the shoe for about a good half hour. Then I do a lot of bending and twisting and turning of the shoe to get it loose and ready for me, because I wear orthotics and two pairs of socks, which makes it a little stiffer than normal. I warm it up with the heat packs, twist and bend, and then I’m ready to go.
Schroder: I put them on in practice first. I don’t like to play in new shoes that I haven’t worn yet. I practice with them two or three times and then I’ll wear them to the game.
Jack: I just throw them on. I guess god blessed me with that. My feet are pretty cool and I switch out sneaks all the time. I’ve never really had any type of issues.
Noah Vonleh: I either ask our equipment guy to stretch them for me, or I just work out in them when I do individual workouts with some of the coaches, and then I wear them in practice. I do a little something in them to have them a little broken in, and then they’ll be comfortable when I’m ready for the game.
Smith: I just take the insoles out and put my orthotics in.
Lillard: I usually practice in my shoes first, but my shoe was the first shoe built to fit my foot. I can play in a brand new pair of this shoe anytime.
Wroten: I don’t practice in my [game] shoes. I’m very superstitious. I never wear the same shoes I warm up in— 99 percent of the time, they’re brand-new. I break them in when I get in the game.
What would you ask for on your own signature shoe?
Parker: It’d have a lot of lines and specific values to it. I just don’t want a plain slate. I’d want it to have an artistic view and various depths to it, like how you saw the ‘90s Uptempos, Barkleys, and stuff. I like shoes like that.
Schroder: My first and second year I played with the shoe with the strap and little holes [Nike HyperRev]. Everybody played in those, like Kyrie and Bradley Beal. I like that style with the strap on top.
Jack: It would have to make a splash when you see it. The first one would have to grab your attention. I’m a big fan of shoes that have three colors on them, regardless of whether it’s a lot or subtle. That pops a lot to me, so that would be my thing—always trying to incorporate three colors. And then, always having a storyline. Something that gives the shoe meaning, and an understanding of why we came up with the vision we came up with, rather than just slapping some stuff together. I would be big with the packaging, too. I think that’s part of it. I thought it was cool what they did with Kyrie’s sneaker for Pepsi. The packaging with it is super great.
Vonleh: I would want the shoe to be real light and fit comfortably for me and for other big guys that like to play quick.
Harkless: I want Shox. You know how they used to have the Nike Shox? I’d want the Shox on the back of my shoe.
Smith: I’d have my kids’ names on them, for sure. Wroten: Just let me design it 100 percent.