Stephen Curry has written his name all over Under Armour basketball shoes, but starting today the Golden State Warriors star finally put his signature on the brand’s footwear.
The Baltimore-based shoe and apparel manufacturer unveiled the Curry One today, Stephen Curry’s first signature shoe for a brand he has worn since signing with the apparel company in late 2013. Curry will wear the signature kicks in a game for the first time on Friday.
“To be part of this process and to see the Curry One come to life is a dream come true,” Curry says.
To this point in the season, Curry was playing in Under Armour’s ClutchFit Drive, a continuation of the Anatomix Spawn 2 he wore last year. The new Curry One takes plenty of cues from those shoes in its precise lines and distinct collar shape.
“We learned a ton from those shoes,” Dave Dombrow, Under Armour’s footwear vice president and creative director, tells SI.com. “It gave us a complete baseline. We were having such good response, especially from the ClutchFit shoe, that we took measurements down to the millimeter at the width in the forefoot and height on cushioning.”
Under Armour wanted to take what worked from what they had and make it even better.
On a technology side, Under Armour unveils two firsts for its basketball footwear. New “charged cushioning” will absorb impact and convert it into a responsive burst of explosiveness. The “adaptive foam” plays soft under low forces and responsive under high forces, the “holy grail of what you are looking for in cushioning,” Dombrow says.
Under Armour worked with Dow to create the system -- also used in running -- by using four distinct polymers.
With the underfoot cushioning new, Under Armour borrowed ideas from their apparel line to create a new upper foot technology, Anafoam. The company took its stretch textile and co-molded it with a foam compound for a lightweight piece that anatomically forms to the foot.
In technology brought over from other Under Armour product, the Curry One has a heel counter to reduce sliding, a stability shank in the midfoot, a padded mesh tongue with synthetic suede for protection and breathability and a multi-directional herringbone outsole pattern for traction.
But it is the personal elements that make the Curry One a true signature shoe. Whether in the home colorway with the heavily textured royal Anafoam upper with taxi yellow and white accents or the away black-taxi camo print upper -- three new colorways of The Underdog, Candy Reign and Father to Son will be released in the future -- the Curry One gets personal.
Having two distinct looks, not just two different flip-flopping colors, gave Under Armour a different flavor to the two shoes. Dombrow says he sees the camo -- a look that fits the Under Armour DNA -- as a shoe with a stealth attitude, especially when Curry enters an opponent’s gym.
Curry’s first logo, the SC30 combination mark, ties to the uniform number that the point guard wears, but also the same number that his father, Dell, wore during his 16-year career.
Inside the tongue, the quote “I can do all things,” a portion of Scripture taken from Philippians 4:13 that fully reads “I can do all things through him who strengthens me,” ties to the “4:13” that Dombrow placed on the lace loop at the bottom of the tongue.
With Curry forming the habit of writing those words on his shoes himself, it was that “organic, personal insight” that Dombrow was looking for.
“I never actually looked at it as a Bible verse,” Dombrow says. “It harkens back to his belief that he can go beyond and do something greater, go further and silence the doubters. Because he wrote it on, it was pretty cool to incorporate on some of the shoes.”
The other colorways will replace the verse with other stories.
Lace tips feature “LEAD” and “MMTB” for Make My Team Better, phrases that nod to Curry's mantras as an unheralded high school player that gave prominence to Davidson College before what is now his sixth successful season with the Warriors.
Consider the Curry One signed.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.