From the ground up

On December 26, Jordan Brand is launching the latest version of Chris Paul’s signature CP3. The Jordan CP3.III introduces a new midsole cushioning system, Podulon, designed to complement the New Orleans Hornet’s All-Star guard’s playing style.

Podulon was developed as an evolution to the Independent Podular Suspension system that was a cutting-edge feature of the AIR JORDAN XX. Podulon’s breakthrough lies in the engineered shape of Cushlon foam that, when strategically placed under the forefoot area receiving high impact, provides cushioning exactly where needed without compromising the integrity of the shoe. Cushlon’s lifespan is long, so the Podulon technology is meant to sustain comfort and responsiveness.

Style cues are taken from core elements of Chris’ life, his family and hometown, as well as nods to the Hornets – both in aesthetic and comparison to their agility. Just as the cushion has notes from the AIR JORDAN XX, the use of laser engraved Crests (one for each of Chris’ family members) will remind of that shoes styling. Still, the CP3.III stands on its own merits, as a clean, sleek performance shoe.

A special limited edition of the Jordan CP3.III will go to select retailers on December 26, 2010, with full release coming January 2, 2010.

We took some time to speak with Chris and Jordan Brand Senior Footwear Designer, Jason Mayden, about the shoe.

Read the interview and view the Jordan CP3.III after the jump.

HS: I think there is a great tradition in the Jordan Brand of incorporating elements of a players personality and family in a signature shoe. Your new shoe is especially good with that. Can you tell me a little about the crests for each of your family members?

CP: The crests were special to me, because they let the consumers and the fans know a little bit more about me and my family. The crests are subtle, but very important hints at things that are meaningful to me.

HS: There is a constant nod to Winston-Salem and Wake Forest in all of your shoes. It is really subtle in the CPIII. How did Wake influence you as a person and a player?

CP: My my experience at Wake Forest effected me in a huge way. Coming to the NBA was the first time ever leaving home. My way of saluting and acknowledging home, for making me the player and person I am today, is on the shoe strings. They have the area code, 336, which is Winston Salem. The town I was born and raised.

HS: The shoe also has nods to New Orleans and the Hornets. How is the city treating you? What has it been like as a culture to adapt to?

CP: I love the city of New Orleans. I’m a firm believer – and something my grandfather always used to say – things happen for a reason. When Katrina hit the month after I was drafted to New Orleans, I could have asked “why me?” “Why did I come to this city?” But, instead I asked “why not?” I felt like, we were placed together. Me with the city of New Orleans, so we could come together and grow. It’s been great since day one. I consider New Orleans home, and the people there my extended family.

HS: With Brand Jordan, you are also on another team and in another family. How does that influence you as a player? You’ve got guys like Rip Hamilton and Ray Allen. Do you get together? Is there camaraderie because of that connection?

CP: Most definitely. We’re a family. We played the Pistons last night, and I was with Rip after the game. I see Ray during the summers. All different guys. DJ Augustine and Melo. That’s the special thing about being part of Jordan Brand. It is a very select group of guys on the team. On any given night, if I’m playing another guy that is part of the brand, there is always a mutual respect. We know that there is a brotherhood.

HS: From a performance point of view, the shoe has a new traction system, and I wonder about durability and what that means to you?

CP: Durability is huge to me, in that… I wish you could see a pair after I’m finished a game. The way that I’m stopping, cutting, and jumping, I’m changing directions more than anyone on the court. I wanted to make sure that the shoes could withstand all of that beating, and that late in the fourth quarter when I drive and stop on a dime, the shoe is still doing the same thing that it was doing in the first quarter. And, this shoe is doing it to perfection.

HS: What do you look for in terms of stability? Having played a bit in the shoe, the forefoot seems pretty stiff, is that something you look for?

Jason: Basically, what you are feeling is how the cushioning reacts to different movements. Chris, in particularly, gets up on the tips of his toes and comes right to the end of the shoes. This is what you’re feeling as different. When you play over time, you’ll find that stiffness, basically helps support the arch and the way you transition, because it doesn’t break down and compress like regular foam.

HS: Jason, what are the challenges of incorporating performance and design cues in making a signature shoe?

Jason: First, the challenge we like to work with is opportunity. Working with an athlete like Chris, is that he is basically involved from the start all the way to the final prototype. So, we get him into Nike and get a great sense of how he is actually using the footwear. Then we processes to test how he’s actually worn the shoes in the game. See wear there is stress, wear the shoes break down, so we can predict the areas we can improve with the next one. It is always an ongoing process, it’s just being able to respond quickly to Chris’ needs. We always find a happy medium with what we want to do with the shoes and what is possible today.

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