ANTA and Kyrie Irving Celebrate the Launch of ANTA KAI 1

ANTA KAI 1 "Artist On Court"

February 26, 2024–Los Angeles, CA– ANTA proudly announces the global launch of the ANTA KAI 1, the first addition to Kyrie Irving’s signature line of basketball footwear.  This isn't just another sneaker release; it's a cultural mosaic curated by illustrious Black Footwear Design Director Jared Subawon, whose six-year tenure at ANTA has been marked by sneaker drops that resonate deeply and push the boundaries of design.


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.


The ANTA KAI 1 sneaker speaks volumes, serving as a conduit for Kyrie’s "Enlightened Warrior" ethos. Subawon's KAI 1 design language is fluent in performance and heritage, creating a visual and functional masterpiece. The silhouette's aerodynamic contours echo Kyrie’s slick, gravity-defying transitions and crossovers. At the same time, the hieroglyphic-esque code on the upper brings a narrative punch, essentially KAI’s code, grounding the sneaker in ancestral strength. Drawing inspiration from ancient hieroglyphics and ciphers, Senior Graphic Designer, Astin Davis, designed these symbols to represent inspiration and encouragement. Inspired by specific elements of Kai’s game, the graphics on the shoe tie back to Kyrie's Native American roots, giving him the capabilities of supernatural strength, agility, focus, and speed. ANTA is spelled out in KAI’s code on the laces. “The Journey is the reward” is engraved into the midsole tooling. Kai’s code spells out Kyrie Irving across the strap on the heel pull tab.


The shoe's shape is meant to look aerodynamic to portray Kyrie’s unorthodox maneuvers and transitioning while on the court. 


Every warrior needs their amour when going into battle. Here is a good example with a forefoot lockdown strap for protection.


KYRIE QUOTE: "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


Harnessing the advanced capabilities of virtual reality technology, ANTA's design team innovatively crafted the shoe's silhouette and redefined the limits of imagination and functionality. This state-of-the-art approach allowed for a more intuitive design process, giving life to the sneaker through a virtual, three-dimensional space, enabling the designers to explore and refine every curve and contour with unparalleled precision and creativity.


The rubber threading is derived from Kyrie's tribal roots, complementing his unorthodox maneuvers. The carbon fiber midfoot plate provides substantial torsional rigidity, ensuring seamless transitions from heel to toe. The rubber compound on the shoe excels in providing optimal traction for effective banking and smooth transitions. Additionally, the TPU lateral sidewall enhances stability and offers protection, facilitating confident movement on and off the court.


This sneaker is kitted with a TPU-integrated ANTA logo that transitions seamlessly into the design, reflecting Kyrie’s fluid playstyle and adding an element of finesse to the wearer’s game. The midsole packs a lightweight punch, providing responsive cushioning that lets hoopers cut, sprint, and jump without feeling weighed down, giving them the liberty to express their full potential on the court.


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, retailing for $125 and available in sizes 8 to 15, is ready to rock the sneaker scene with its debut across select hotspots, embedding itself in the tapestry of urban sneaker lore:


We are kicking off at Sneaker Politics in Dallas' Deep Ellum, a hub of street culture, on March 6th and


Dropping at Extra Butter, NYC's Lower East Side sneaker haven, on March 7th.


Landing at Nice Kicks in San Francisco, the historic home of sneakerheads, on March 9th.


With the ANTA KAI 1 launch, ANTA and Kyrie invite athletes, artists, creators, and sneakerheads to experience a shoe that is not just an athletic tool but a narrative piece—a fusion of tradition, performance, and cutting-edge design.


About ANTA

ANTA is committed to innovation, inclusivity, and the continuous pursuit of athletic footwear and apparel excellence. With a global presence and a deep respect for diverse talents and stories, ANTA is dedicated to empowering athletes everywhere