As the NBA season resumes in Orlando, Milwaukee Bucks forward and reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is ready for battle — and he’ll be taking the court in his new Nike signature shoe: the Zoom Freak 2. A natural evolution of 2019’s Zoom Freak 1, Giannis’s latest kicks are based on based on his unique on-court movement patterns. “What Giannis does in space is directly connected to his body proportions,” said Ross Klein, the Senior Creative Director of Nike Basketball. “What’s different about his movements is that he’s causing so much pressure when he hits those steps, like the Eurostep, that we need to help propel him and contain him further near the toe.”
Although Giannis stands at a towering 6’11 with a 7’3 wingspan he moves and plays like a guard, hence his “Greek Freak” nickname. This means that his shoes need to be supportive enough to contain his explosive athleticism, but quick enough to enable his elusive set of moves like the Eurostep. Therefore, the Zoom Freak 2’s outsole is decoupled, with the heel and forefoot connected by a supportive midfoot shank. This enables each piece to flex independently during these lightning-quick movements. High-wear areas are bolstered for extra support as well.
Midsoles switch up the cushioning system: where the Zoom Freak 1 used double-stacked Zoom Air in the heel and soft foam in the forefoot, the Zoom Freak 2 moves its Zoom Air to the forefoot and relegates the foam to the heel. This works with the split outsole design, providing a mix of explosion up front and impact protection at the end. “In the Freak 1 we focused on how frequently Giannis gets vertical for rebounds, blocks and dunks” said Klein. “For the Freak 2, we shifted our attention to more planes of movement because Giannis can command every spot on the floor.” Finally, uppers are built of a synthetic mesh, with a “boundary zone” on the lateral forefoot ensuring that the wearer’s foot won’t slide off the footbed mid maneuver.
From a looks standpoint, the Zoom Freak 2’s signature detail is provided by giant Swooshes that reach from the midfoot all the way to a collar, and even work their way into one of the bottom eyestays. Giannis’s signature logo is stamped towards the lateral heel, while two different “Freak” hits are present on the tongue and rearmost part of the midsole. New traction patterns grace the outsole, and the name of Giannis’s beloved parents — mother Veronica and late father Charles — are embossed between the outsole’s two pieces. Finally, Giannis’s logo appears one more time on the insole, above a recognizable “I Am My Father’s Legacy” text hit.
The Nike Zoom Freak 2 will debut in a green/white/black “Naija” colorway that’s inspired by Giannis’s Nigerian roots on July 25 at the Nike webstore and retailers like Foot Locker. It’ll then be followed by a “Black/White” makeup on August 7, with more colors arriving through the summer and fall months. The MSRP has yet to be announced.