"It’s the Player That ‘Makes’ the Shoe” Julius Randle on His Skechers Partnership

The New York Knicks’ two-time All-Star forward speaks on leading the charge for Skechers’ fledgling basketball division.

Footwear 
7,495 Hypes 6 Comments

You are reading your free article for this month.
Members-only

Julius Randle knows what you’re thinking: Skechers? Basketball shoes? Really? He had the same thought when the company — a colossal global brand, to be sure, albeit not one with deep roots in basketball — first approached him, but was quickly converted when he met the design team and tried the shoes out for himself. His teammates on the New York Knicks thought it too. “They were definitely curious,” he says, letting out a hearty laugh when it’s pointed out that dropping 40 points in a pair makes for a pretty good proof of concept. “Then they saw me play [in Skechers] and they understood.”

Randle’s early sneaker history reads like you’d expect for a top-tier hoops prospect. In high school, Randle was a member of the Texas Titans, a summer team in the Nike EYBL (Elite Youth Basketball League), and he attended the University of Kentucky, a Nike-sponsored school, for one year as well. When he was drafted seventh overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012, he signed an official deal with Nike and could mostly be seen wearing shoes from Kobe Bryant or Paul George’s signature line. Although Randle was thankful for the partnership, it wasn’t what he wanted — he aimed to be a driving force for a brand, not just a cog in its machine.

Enter Skechers. In June 2023, Randle was rehabbing from ankle surgery and just so happened to be in Los Angeles when the brand reached out to his representatives to see if he’d be interested in meeting. Though he couldn’t test out the shoes immediately as he was still rehabbing his injury, he recalls being struck by the Skechers design team’s openness to his ideas and desire for his feedback. “I’ve always thought that great leaders or people who accomplish great feats are excellent listeners,” he says. “And from day one, the design team always asked for as much feedback on the shoes as possible.”

“They didn’t want to just get into the basketball market to expand their reach,” Randle says. “They wanted to do it right.”

In the modern-day NBA, where the delineations between positions (and, therefore between footwear for said positions: think bulky high-tops for centers and ultra-minimalistic styles for point guards) have been blurred to the point of illegibility, a shoe has to be equally at home banging in the post as it does skittering around the perimeter. Randle is a hybrid forward who’s known for a particularly unique style of offensive basketball — “bully ball” that maximizes his strength and toughness combined with quick, guard-like movements and apt footwork — making him an ideal tester for the new product. Of course, he also appreciated the opportunity to get in on the ground floor.

After he was cleared to return to the court and begin his summer workouts, Randle engaged in an extensive back-and-forth with Skechers’ design team, conversations that helped shape models like the SKX Resagrip and the SKX Float. “I know what I’m looking for in a shoe,” he says, noting that previous bouts with plantar fasciitis made him truly realize the importance of not just having a “good” shoe but having the “right” shoe. “It has to be comfortable, it has to be supportive, and it has to have excellent traction. I can’t make any compromises.”

Though on-court performance is understandably first and foremost for a player who’s got two NBA-All-Star selections as well as NBA All-Second Team and All-Third Team nods plus a Most Improved Player award, a chance to help a brand grow — and grow alongside them — was a major selling point for Randle too. Over the course of our conversation, he kept returning to the open-mindedness and capacity for listening that the Skechers team displayed to him. “[Skechers CEO Robert Greenberg] is absolutely amazing,” Randle says, noting that he was able to spend two hours with Greenberg learning about the business of footwear and discussing the company’s plans for basketball, a meeting that would, in all likelihood, never have occurred at his previous footwear endorser.

Alongside fellow signee Terrance Mann of the Los Angeles Clippers and, potentially, reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, who’s been linked to Skechers in recent months, Randle sees the sky as the limit for the brand. He notes that their newness may well play in their favor: other brands have already established a blueprint for what works and what doesn’t, leaving them plenty of room to experiment in the in-between. “One of the things I’m starting to notice is that, more so than the brand itself, it’s the players who ‘make’ the shoe — a shoe is just a shoe until the right person wears it and does something incredible in it,” he says.

“As long as we continue to show my colleagues in the NBA what great shoes these are, I think we’ll have an amazing roster. We’ve just got to bring the awareness, and there’s no telling how big this can be if we do.”

For now, Randle aims to build that awareness and tear down the preconceived notions of what Skechers is or can be. And the best way to do that is on the court: after a slow start to the season, he’s rebounded to put up averages of 26 points and 9 rebounds per game over a five-game road trip, and, at the time of writing, the Knicks sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

Randle’s excitement for the future is palpable, but one question remains to be asked before he enjoys a well-earned post-road trip day off: is a signature shoe on the way? “Oh yeah, oh yeah,” he says, a wide grin creeping across his face. “At some point.”

Read Full Article

What to Read Next

NEEDLES Crafts FW23 “SPECIAL RELEASE” Collection for Nepenthes
Fashion

NEEDLES Crafts FW23 “SPECIAL RELEASE” Collection for Nepenthes

Featuring signature tracksuits fit for the season, knitwear and more.

BEAMS x Levi's Unveil Fourth Collaborative Capsule
Fashion

BEAMS x Levi's Unveil Fourth Collaborative Capsule

Dubbed the “Super Wide V2” collection.

How 'Grand Theft Auto' Created the Blueprint for Virtual Fashion
Fashion 

How 'Grand Theft Auto' Created the Blueprint for Virtual Fashion

Over the past two decades, Rockstar has refined ‘GTA’ time and time again to create some of the most inimitable games in streetwear. With ‘GTA VI’ in the works, Hypebeast looks back on how the franchise became a cultural touchstone in video games and fashion alike.

AELIZA Travels to New York City With Festive Boxing Day Drop
Fashion 

AELIZA Travels to New York City With Festive Boxing Day Drop

Marking its fourth “Autonomy” collection.

MUBI Revisits Iconic Movie Posters From the Legends of Martial Arts Cinema Exclusively For Hypeart
Art 

MUBI Revisits Iconic Movie Posters From the Legends of Martial Arts Cinema Exclusively For Hypeart

Presented by MUBI
For the release of its new ‘Shaw Brothers: Wuxia Warriors and Kung Fu Masters’ season.


The Fear of God Athletics 1 Will Drop in An Angelic All-White Colorway on Christmas Day
Footwear

The Fear of God Athletics 1 Will Drop in An Angelic All-White Colorway on Christmas Day

Fear of God Athletics fans are sure to rejoice at the news.

Southeast Asia’s Largest Porsche Meet-Up Saw Record Attendance and 600 Classic and Modern Models
Automotive

Southeast Asia’s Largest Porsche Meet-Up Saw Record Attendance and 600 Classic and Modern Models

Presented by Porsche Asia-Pacific
Das Treffen’s 8th edition also celebrated 75 years of Porsche, 60 years of the 911 model and 30 years of Porsche Thailand.

Here’s How PUMA and BMW’s Pop-Art Workshop Became a Forum for Creative Expression
Art 

Here’s How PUMA and BMW’s Pop-Art Workshop Became a Forum for Creative Expression

Presented by PUMA
With guests putting their own spin on Roy Lichtenstein’s cult style.

London Fashion Week Celebrates 40th Anniversary With Striking February 2024 Schedule
Fashion 

London Fashion Week Celebrates 40th Anniversary With Striking February 2024 Schedule

Dunhill will return to the runway for the first time since 2020 under Simon Holloway.

How UVU Ran the World in 2023
Fashion

How UVU Ran the World in 2023

With sell-out marathon pop-ups across the world, the running and athletics collective speak to Hypebeast about their transformative 2023.

More ▾
 
We got you covered. Don’t miss out on the latest news by signing up for our newsletters.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.