Last updated on February 16th, 2024
Anthony Edwards is truly captivating at his very essence. Hailing from the heartland of Atlanta, this newly crowned All-Star is an absolute marvel, captivating audiences on both the basketball court and the silver screen. At a youthful 22 years old, this shooting guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves has solidified his supremacy throughout the entire league, all while flashing a smile that stretches from ear to ear. It is just one of the numerous reasons why he has been selected as the leading figure for adidas Basketball.
The adidas AE1 is set to make its official debut on December 16th, available for purchase through adidas.com and various retailers worldwide. Priced at $120 USD, the initial colorway of the shoe is named "With Love".
Embodying a polarizing yet sleek design, this inaugural signature silhouette by Anthony Edwards is hailed as one of the most futuristic creations in the brand's legacy. Its unique and original aesthetic sets it apart from the current wave of basketball footwear releases, earning it widespread acclaim.
Anthony Edwards, known for his electrifying personality and unique style on the basketball court, has become the driving force behind the innovative direction of the 3-Stripes brand. Under the guidance of lead designer Patrick Zempolich, the brand has embraced a fresh creative approach for the launch of Edwards' signature series.
Zempolich first joined the 3-Stripes team in 2018, taking on the role of designing footwear for the basketball division. Before creating his own signature line, the New York native had already come up with the idea for the Son of Chi silhouette, a special edition for Derrick Rose, as well as the release of the N3XT L3V3L Futurenatural in 2021.
"It’s exciting. I’m definitely blessed to have the opportunity to define a range (of silhouettes) at the beginning. It doesn’t come often." - Zempolich
In a luxurious ballroom at the outskirts of downtown Atlanta, specifically at the Kimpton Shane Hotel, Zempolich finds himself seated comfortably in a lavish white leather chair. Positioned strategically before a radiant peach-orange background, the backdrop proudly showcases Anthony Edwards' distinctive logo, a preview of the remarkable design to follow.
The adidas AE1 embodies the essence of Anthony Edwards both on and off the basketball court. While it may draw some resemblances to previous models, its overall appearance is undeniably unique to ANT. Just as his playing style pushes boundaries, Zempolich had always envisioned a groundbreaking design for Edwards' inaugural shoe. The smooth contours of the upper showcase a geometric, meticulously crafted TPU, adding a sense of speed and fluidity to the adidas Basketball collection.
"Essentially, we created this parametric pattern in this precision-molded TPU that was built to contain his foot while still (being able to) breathe. Visually we were trying to create a speed visual that represented how he played; his multi-directional kind of blur of motion, in a way." - Zempolich
Designed with a flexible mesh foundation that embraces the foot with a snug fit, the upper support wings of this shoe introduce a fresh perspective to the traditional 3-Stripes models. Drawing inspiration from Zempolich's expertise, the design team adopted an architectural approach for the AE1, eliminating the conventional separation between the sole unit, upper, and tongue commonly found in basketball footwear.
"It’s not just mesh on top of a midsole on top of rubber. We tried approaching it differently where you don’t really see a tooling top line or a midsole top line. It all kind of just blurs seamlessly together. Ultimately I think that helped create a big canvas where you could create a lot of energy on the shoe." - Zempolich
Adidas Basketball is setting its sights on the highly anticipated 2022-23 All-Star event, with grand ambitions that can be traced back to a pivotal brainstorming session. During this meeting, the brand presented Anthony Edwards as a perpetual symbol of the iconic 3-Stripes, embodying timelessness and style.
"Muhammad Ali, (David) Beckham, Anthony Edwards. We kind of pitched that to him, being like, this is your moment." - Zempolich
Afterwards, the individuals in the gathering conducted a "vibe check," as Zempolich describes it, to assess Edwards' level of openness to pushing boundaries in the creative process. They showcased him a selection of initial prototypes, one of which embodied a hyper-futuristic and boldly unconventional design approach.
"He was just like, yeah, that’s me." - Zempolich
|- Acid Orange/Core Black/Acid Red
- lace closure
- boost midsole
- lightstrike cushioning
- rubber outsole
|2023 Dec 16th
Edwards wasted no time in being drawn to the upcoming pair, which boasted intricate details and a breathable design. With his first signature shoe, he sought something vibrant and stabilizing, a perfect match for his dynamic style of play. The moment he laid eyes on the initial prototype, Edwards was fully committed to its unique visual appeal. Zempolich confirms that Edwards provided a clear vision, igniting and enhancing the development of the innovative concept, making him an invaluable collaborator in the design journey.
For many years, the German sportswear giant has analyzed the on-court movements of their star athletes to shape the design of their next generation of shoes. By chance, Zempolich and the AE1 designers had their first meeting with Ant in person on the basketball court. In his element, Edwards underwent a range of tests and data was collected to track his movements and the forces he exerted while playing.
"(He was) testing off the charts, both laterally and vertically. Testing off the charts compared to all our athletes in the past. So, from there, it was obvious we needed a 360 build. Something that was gonna contain his foot cause he was exerting so much pressure in every direction." - Zempolich
The Generative Support Wing envelops the lateral and medial sidewalls equally, ensuring complete lockdown containment from heel to toe. The sleek shell, seamlessly integrated with the upper quarter and outsole, features a carbon fiber heel counter adorned with the iconic 3-Stripes logo. After extensive testing, Edwards showcased his extraordinary agility to the design team numerous times, leading to the development of this impressive collection of components.
"He’s been blowing through shoes. Just, really putting (out) so much pressure. What we wanted to do was create something that could contain his foot in the right way, but still provide the dynamic ability to flex and all that." - Zempolich
In spite of the extensive security measures implemented for the initial pairs of adidas AE1, with only two pairs available in Atlanta this September, the shoes were unfortunately leaked. As Edwards and his team were conducting tests in mid-May, a sample version of the AE1 unexpectedly appeared on social media. Although the visuals for the upcoming release differ slightly from the leaked version, they now offer a more secure product for Edwards and athletes worldwide.
In the beginning, the AE1 was designed with a boot-like structure that shaped the upper half of the shoe into a single piece, encircling the middle of the ankle. Alongside sturdy rope laces and a sewn spine, the initial prototype suggested a minimalist approach, focusing on eliminating distractions. However, after gathering additional information, Zempolich and his team decided to go with a split-tongue design, which provided better containment and improved functionality.
Zempolich made sure that the design team stayed updated on Edwards' specific requirements for his signature model. Although they had already figured out the upper part, Zempolich aimed to give Edwards a smooth and familiar transition from the court sensation he was used to with his beloved adidas Boost BYW Hero Select shoes.
"We took that kind of engine and started there. For him that helped him have familiarity sitting directly on top of the BOOST. BOOST is our best-in-class, most responsive cushioning. What you put in, you get out. It made sense with him putting so much force into his shoes, getting it back as he elevates to the rim." - Zempolich
The Edwards’ signature shoe, inspired by the Harden Vol. 7, boasts a unique design. It features a full-length Jet Boost cushioning system, which is enclosed within a TPU casing that seamlessly merges with the upper wings. This innovative technology sets it apart from the brand's popular tooling, as Jet Boost incorporates smaller energy capsules that are combined to provide even greater energy return.
During the creative journey, Zempolich skillfully developed the emblem that would ultimately represent Edwards and his renowned brand. Reflecting the letters "A" and "E", the logo features five distinct ridges at its core, paying homage to his enduring jersey number. Simultaneously, the carefully sculpted angles of the inner blades capture the dynamic essence of Edwards' fast-paced style and unwavering self-assurance, perfectly mirroring the electrifying energy of his inaugural silhouette.
"We wanted to approach it differently where it’s more of a rhythmic design. It’s less about a monogram and more about an expression of his energy, his playing style." - Zempolich
Ever since the grand introduction in Edwards' birthplace of Oakland City, Georgia, the distinctive design of his own shoe has been revealed. Whether he's playing at home or away, Edwards can be seen wearing either the vibrant "New Wave" or the heartfelt "With Love" color schemes, all while maintaining impressive statistics of 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists per game. Meanwhile, he's subtly expressing his superiority over the initial shoe releases of popular players like LaMelo, Luka, and LeBron, causing a frenzy on social media as fans eagerly await the announcement of its availability.
"The launch of the AE1 is without a doubt, one of the pinnacles of my career and life to date. Having the support of adidas Basketball, joining basketball legends who I’ve looked up to on their roster, is a dream come true. This is just the beginning – Believe That." - Edwards
On December 16th, 2023, the highly anticipated adidas AE1 will make its official debut in both physical stores and online platforms at select retailers. You can buy it from Adidas online store with priced at $120, this shoe will be available in full-family sizing to cater to a wide range of individuals. The first colorway, aptly named "With Love," pays tribute to Edwards' mother and grandmother, who have a fondness for peach and pink hues.
The shoe's design reflects this sentiment with an "Acid Orange" upper contrasting against a "Core Black" tongue and collar. Adding a bold touch, the 3-Stripes trefoil logo stands out in "Acid Pink." As we look ahead, keep an eye out for more information on upcoming releases and exciting colorways throughout the 2023-24 season.
By the way, if you want to see more basketball shoes, Nike Air Max CB 94 'Dark Smoke Grey' is set to grace the sneaker scene in the upcoming spring of 2024.