Gil's Designer Answers Questions (Not Mine)
I guess this is just going to be a day-long Adidas advertisement. Here's a Q&A with Kyle Pulli, the Gil-Zero Designer, who makes sure to use phrases like "anti-ankle inversion" and "mid foot support band graphic." Incidentally, one of the fans I mingled with yesterday, D.C. native Jason Wong, is a graphic designer. He loves Gil, but he doesn't love the shoe. Thinks it could have been designed a little bit better. But he's a Nike guy.
(Speaking of Nike guys, hardcore Nike guy Off the Meter, whose insane basketball quest was chronicled here first, gets a major shout-out from Luke Winnon CNNSI.com this week. The Bog, however, did not. Luke also did not include this crucial update: Off the Meter is setting his sights a little bit lower. 337 DI basketball arenas might prove impossible. His new goal is the still-admirable-but-much-less-blog-worthy "more than 225" DI basketball arenas. Next year he'll do 337.
Word is, Off the Meter was in D.C. checking out Georgetown-JMU and GW-UMES last night. "Sean [Ogirri's] 2 guard his senior year is the point frosh for JMU Pierre Curtis. Watch out he's a slasher," Off the Meter warned. Curtis went for 14 points and 5 assists against Gtown last night.)
Anyhow, it turns out that Gil's shoe was made with the assistance of the Department of Biomechanics at the University of Calgary. Seriously.
Working with the Department of Biomechanics at the University of Calgary, Canada, we tested the performance characteristics of ForMotionâ„¢. The results were remarkable. ForMotionâ„¢ can help position the foot quicker and allow horizontal forces to be applied faster. Technical jargon aside, what that means is ForMotionâ„¢ keeps the athlete's foot in the optimal position for fast changes of direction. They also found that, with ForMotionâ„¢, athletes feel more confident and therefore willing to generate larger horizontal forces that allow for quick moves.
ForMotionâ„¢ absorbs the jarring of sudden stops, cuts and changes of direction. ForMotionâ„¢ works in the same way a car uses its suspension system to smooth out the ride while banking into a turn. Similarly, ForMotionâ„¢ gives you a more comfortable, composed ride while reducing fatigue and potential injury.
Again, the University of Calgary tested ForMotion's ability to decrease knee adduction moments - like sudden stops or changes of direction. What did the Department of Biomechanics find? ForMotionâ„¢ could have positive influences on reducing knee joint loading and possibly a preventive effect of injuries.
Anyhow, the interview with the Gil-Zero designer:
Every player dreams of having his own signature shoe. Since this is Gilbert's first signature shoe, was there anything you wanted to do to make it even more special?
Since it is Gilbert's first signature shoe I really wanted to make sure I created a shoe that fit and complimented his style of play. I also wanted something that was a great visual representation of him. When he saw the final shoe, he loved it and couldn't wait to wear it around and play in it.
Where did your inspiration for the Gil Zero come from?
The inspiration for the Gil Zero came from the key idea of function. We built the shoe into sections, much like the classic adidas styles. When you look at the old school shoes there were few pieces on the shoe, and they each serve a distinct purpose. The Gil Zero is a very clean shoe and everything you see on the shoe has a purpose.
How does Gilbert's determined style of play factor into the design of the shoe?
Gilbert has a very unique running style so we came up with a bottom tooling that would compliment his style of play: a rounded heel and the ForMotionâ„¢ technology.
When Gilbert runs, he lands on the back of the heel. This can cause his ankle to rollover. To help counter that rollover, we developed a rounded heel on the Gil Zero with the traction coming up in a herringbone pattern. This rounded heel is not only a functional element, but it also features the patented adidas three stripes branding into it.
We felt that ForMotionâ„¢ was a great story for Gil because of agility and the need for anti-ankle inversion. ForMotionâ„¢ helps with elevating of the rollover effect and makes it a perfect technology for this shoe and style of player.
The first thing you notice about the Gil Zero is that it is a low cut shoe. Can you tell us why this is, and if having a low top affects the design process for you?
It was really a simple decision; Gil only wears or prefers low cut shoes. He doesn't like his ankle area to be restricted, he likes it to move freely, so the low cut was a result of that.
The Gil Zero has a technology called ForMotionâ„¢; can you describe what ForMotionâ„¢ is and how it works?
ForMotionâ„¢ goes beyond conventional cushioning systems. ForMotionâ„¢ actually adapts horizontally to the playing surface to give you exceptional control and maneuverability while making quick cuts across the court. ForMotionâ„¢ units along the lateral outsole stretch to give you maximum contact to the court, adding stability to every move a player makes. No matter how hard the cut or how quick the step, ForMotionâ„¢ gives the player sure footing.
How do you marry a unique design with the technical elements (ForMotionâ„¢) to create a great performance shoe?
Since the Gil Zero is for the player who is doing a lot of cutting and might not always be on the ball of his feet and needs more lateral stability, the marrying of design and technology was quite easy.
With the ForMotionâ„¢ technology, it is all in the inner side, the medial side; it is virtually invisible from the lateral side. When you look at the mid foot support band graphic, it runs across the shoe and links to the gaskets on the medial side of the shoe helping create support. Graphically, that was the idea of the band, a support band that ran from the lateral outrigger to the medial gasket that provided the support needed for a player like Gilbert.
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