What’s it like to team up with one of baseball’s most notable athletes? Jordan Brand senior footwear designer Octavio Lubrano dishes the details about collaborating with New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter for the Jordan Jeter Captain, the cross training shoe Derek is sporting to make his game an even bigger hit.
“This is probably the most aggressive trainer that we’ve done for [Derek],” Lubrano says. “We really wanted to separate [it] from previous shoes, which have always been a little bit more clean, a little bit more sophisticated."
For Derek’s eighth signature shoe, expect solid performance features from heel to toe, all delivered in a contemporary package.
“The more you can get the shoe snug against your ankle, the more material you can take away,” Lubrano says. With the heel rake, Lubrano adjusted the shoe “so that it has more of a track and field heel”—more contoured, but providing a better ankle lockdown.
The shoe’s toe-off flex groove is designed to facilitate better first steps for on-field actions like fielding and throwing. “After you hit the ball, you plant, twist and turn, and then you take off and run to first base,” Lubrano says. “One of my goals was to study the on-field game and build [Derek’s] cross-training shoe to mimic those on-field actions.”
Addressing Derek’s training regimen, which involves a lot of running, Lubrano opted to separate the heel and forefoot to give the shoe greater flexibility, and overall “a really comfortable runner’s ride.”
To aid your play on all surfaces—grass, dirt or turf—check out the shoe’s herringbone and diamond nub traction. According to Lubrano, herringbone provides a teeth-like grip, which helps prevent slipping.
Comfort and Cushioning
For added comfort, one immediate adjustment is (in)visible—the shoe’s tongue, which is designed with seamless construction to limit irritation.
Also, to keep your heel comfortably cushioned, the shoe incorporates a Visible Max Air unit, the first time an exposed airbag in the heel has been incorporated in a Jeter shoe. Noting Derek’s support for the enhanced cushioning feature, Lubrano says, “When [Derek] first saw the airbag, he was really excited, because he does a lot of standing around between workouts or between batting practice. The last thing you want your shoe to be is uncomfortable.”
“The more weight you have on your foot, the slower you technically are,” Lubrano says. The shoe weighs in at 14 ounces, making it the lightest version in the series.
Turning to the shoe’s aesthetics, Lubrano says, “The design language speaks directly to the position [Derek] plays. I was trying to figure out the one element that really speaks to being a Yankee, and the pinstripe really was a personal connection.”
The shoe’s upper also exhibits real baseball stitches, a signature detail Derek easily approved during the shoe’s design phase.
The Jordan Jeter Captain retails for $110 (jumpman23.com).