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New: Here’s what you need to know about the ANTA KAI 1

Posted on Mar 9, 2024 in ANTA

After several months of waiting, we’re finally here. ANTA is officially releasing the ANTA KAI 1, Kyrie Irving’s first signature line with the brand this weekend. We’ve seen the craziness surrounding the release in Texas with Sneaker Politics and in New York at Extra Butter. This Sunday, Manila takes their turn to get their hands on Irving’s latest shoe.

ANTA’s Jared Subawon took the lead into creating the KAI 1, bringing out an amazing design to debut the signature line. With culture at the forefront, Subawon’s creative direction showcases ANTA’s commitment to uplifting talent and narratives within the sneaker world, reinforcing the brand’s investment in diversity and progressive representation. The ANTA KAI 1 is a celebration of this commitment and a step forward in sneaker culture that emphasizes the power of inclusive storytelling through design.

For the KAI 1, Subawon used Kyrie’s “Enlightened Warrior” ehtos as inspiration. To be honest, the striking design rivals (and dare I must say surpass) the other signature shoes out in the market today. The aerodynamic design echo Kyrie’s slick, gravity-defying moves on the court. While we’ve seen Kyrie tap into a lot of heiroglyphics with his past sneakers, ANTA brings it out further with this one. Senior Graphic Designer Astin David designed new symbols to represent inspiration and encouragement. These graphics tie back to Irving’s Native American roots — be it strength, agility, focus and speed.

For additional design details, you’ll see ANTA spelled out in KAI’s code on the laces. “The Journey is the Reward” is engraved onto the midsole, while Kyrie Irving is also spelled in code across the strap. Similar to previous Kyrie silhouettes, the forefoot strap provides lockdown and protection.

“As Chief Creative Officer and a player, I’ve woven the essence of my heritage and my heart for basketball into the design of ANTA KAI 1. This is more than a shoe; it embodies our ancestors’ strength and the future we’re building. Every detail, from the hieroglyphics to the aerodynamic shape, tells the story of where we’ve been and where we’re going. Join me in stepping into this new chapter,” Kyrie Irving said.

The shoe also features a unique outsole traction pattern, also derived from Kyrie’s tribal roots. The shoe also uses a carbon fiber midfoot plate for torsional rigidity. The TPU lateral sidewal enhances stability and offers protection for better movement on and off the court. One thing that blends seamlessly into the shoe is the ANTA logo that also serves as a TPU frame.

The color selection curated by Kyrie and ANTA’s Color Design Director, Shaneika Warden, draws inspiration from the beliefs of Native peoples, integrating the symbolism of the four directions with the psychological and physical impacts that colors exert on the body and mind. Each color corresponds to a distinct discipline: Strength, Agility, Focus, and Speed. Strength is embodied in a combination of silver armor with explosive reds and oranges, symbolizing endurance, resilience, and divine guidance to correct misguided paths. Agility is represented by analogous layers of digital purples, reds, and blue, with an accent of green, making a Pan-African statement emphasizing nobility, magic, and mystery. Focus is encapsulated in a rich teal, grounding the body and mind while sparked by hot orange, symbolizing imagination and visualization. Lastly, Speed is conveyed through yellow, the quickest color for the human eye to perceive. This choice focuses on light, enlightenment, and mental stimulation, elevating energy levels for all creation.

“The ANTA KAI 1 color is rooted in cultural symbolism, color psychology, and fashion trends. It is meant to celebrate the greatest gifts one can possess within the physical and metaphysical form, for not just one being, but all beings,” stated designer Warden.

The ANTA KAI 1 drops tomorrow, March 10, and will release exclusviely in the Philippines 11am at the ANTA SM Megamall store. The shoe will retail for Php 7,995. In celebration of this special release, ANTA is putting up the KAI Space – an immersive and experiential space for fans to truly get into the KAI 1 vibe. Games, a pop-up exihibit of Kyrie-inspired art by Marclen Ricafort-Chulani, product customization and live DJ sets by Merms Dabu and Lucio Pua will be running throughout release day.

For those looking to purchase the shoe, here are some guidelines for the release:

  • The Queue at the KAI Space-Manila at MEGA ATRIUM located right outside the ANTA store will begin at 10am .
  • If you want to be there before store opening, EARLY QUEUING will only be at the MEGA STRIP B ENTRANCE.
  • Those in the EARLY QUEUE will be guided by Security to the front of the queue at 10am.
  • The shoe will be available to purchase beginning 11am on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • The shoe retails for Php 7,995 and will be available in mens sizes 8-13.
  • Strictly One pair per customer.