Chris Paul Q&A: Rockets PG Unveils Latest Signature Sneaker, the CP3.XI

Jordan Brand officially unveils Chris Paul's latest signature sneakers, the CP3.XI. 
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In his 13th NBA season, Chris Paul is in a rare community of players who possess over ten signature sneakers. The Jordan Brand has officially unveiled Paul's latest model, the CP3.XI that is inspired by his dominant play and his new home the Houston Rockets. Paul ranks behind Carmelo Anthony (13) in signature sneakers under the Jordan Brand umbrella. Paul is usually heavily involved in the sneaker design process and this year is no different. The CP3.XI is equipped with the support that is catered to his game that is built on aggressive quickness and agile stop-and-go cuts.

The sneaker features molded woven material for increased lock down and support. An integrated strap and outrigger for lateral support and mid foot lockdown—a first in a CP3 silhouette. There is the heel foxing with an exploded molded CP3 logo and ZOOM forefoot and heel unit for multidirectional moves. 

The CP3. XI will be available in April and will lead off with the Rocket Fuel colorway inspired by Paul’s new home and his fuel to win a championship.

The Crossover had the opportunity to chat with Paul about his newest silhouette and the design process. 


JH: You are now preparing to release your 11th signature model with the Jordan Brand. How would your summarize your journey from the beginning until now?

CP: It’s been a crazy process. I think back to my first shoe which was I think in 2008, right before the playoffs, and the process behind it. Anytime I look at a picture I can tell you what season it is because of the shoes I had on, so it’s been a fun process.

JH: What are some of your favorite aspects about the CP3.XI?

CP: My favorite is probably the strap. It’s funny. It’s been eleven years but I tried to do a strap on the IV’s and we couldn’t do it. The brand just couldn’t do it. So having a strap is pretty cool. The biggest thing about my shoes is always the traction. I always talk about the way that I play with the stop and go and that is huge for me to be able to stop whenever I need to stop.

JH: What do you enjoy most about the design process?

CP: The design process is the different stories that I am able to tell. The sneakers that I will be wearing tonight in Portland are about rocket fuelobviously with the big move I made this summer. Every shoe that I have had from I-XI has had a symbol for my late grandfather. I think about all of the little things within the shoe, whether it is the chevron logos, or the three within the shoe that is made within the chevron logo—also the symbols for my family.

JH: How do you go about testing a new model? How long do you practice in new signature before saying ‘yep this feels right let’s go with it’?

CP: You know what is funny, going through this process for so many years; I am always part of the process. Thankfully other people tested the shoes before I got to test them because they would make sure that your foot doesn’t roll over too much and it stops. I’ve shot and practiced in the CP3.XI’s for a few weeks. I got an early sample of them a while ago but I am excited to finally play in them tonight.

JH:Do you remember the feeling you had when you first played in a game with your first signature model?

CP: Yea I remember the designer at the time was a guy named Jason Mayden. Me and J-May are still pretty close and I will never forget it as a kid you think of one day of having your own shoe and no offense to me or J-May, I think about our first ones and they were some bricks (laughs) but at the end of the day they were my shoe. I remember at the bottom of it was this little plastic piece that had my signature on it and it also had my late coach’s name Coach Prosser on it. I would always slip, like it was crazy and every time I did my pull back move I would slip over and that meant the bottom was poking out a little bit. It’s a process and there are certain things that I need on the shoe that I need to perform.

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JH: It is not a secret that you are one of the most competitive players in the NBA. But how are you when it comes to sneakers and sales? Do that matters for you?

CP: I pay attention to it. At the end of the day you hope your shoe sales obviously and you want it to perform. The biggest thing for me is performance and over the years a lot of college teams and players have worn them but I know what it is going to do for me on the court. It’s crazy I talk about this all of the time but when I make a move going into the lanes and I stop, I know I am going to stop but the guy who is guarding me 9 times out of 10 times, I know his shoes weren’t made for him, so he is going to roll over in his shoes just enough for me to step back and get my shot off.

JH: There have been a lot of conversations and blog posts about how Jordan Brand should discontinue signature lines because it is hard to live in MJ’s shadow. What are your thoughts on that?

CP: They have been talking about that for years. That is probably because of the retro. I think any shoe you put against the retro, it’s always going to be what it is. The retro is the retro. If you put any sneaker next to the X’s, XI’s or the III’s, the IV’s, or the V’s you are going to get that. At the end of the day to tell you the truth what really makes the shoe is what is done in them.  That is the legend of MJ, nobody will ever be able to tell the stories he did with his shoes.

JH:So I have to ask—the CP3.XI or the Air Jordan XI?

CP: (Laughs) I am taking me before anything but luckily I have both options.

JH: What do you want people to remember most about your signature line?

CP: Probably the difference in them. I remember my I’s and my II’s were a little bit higher but the design was crazy—we had a Mardi Gras colorway. Then with the III’s we had the prints and IV’s J-May came with gundam action figures. I think about my V’s we had a shoe and literally ripped it up and started from the beginning and we had a little bit of time to get them out. And my VI’s – the bottom of them showcased my hometown and LA. I can go on and on. For every shoe I can you tell you all the steps that went into it – that is why I am so passionate about it because I know about everything that it takes to make a shoe.