Ernest Kim: When I lived in Chicago, I used to love going to Niketown. One time I went, I saw the original Air Flightposite for the first time and I was with a friend of mine, and I said “that’s the ugliest shoe ever”, and so he dared me to buy it and try it out. So I tried it on and my mind was blown because I couldn’t believe how good it felt, but it was $165. So I went home to see if there was a review on it somewhere, but there were no reviews whatsoever. This is just when Niketalk started and there weren’t really any reviews, so I bought them and I knew that there were people out there that wouldn’t even try on the shoe because it looked so crazy, but I knew it was awesome and I wanted other people to be able to experience them. So that’s the shoe that made me start Kicksology.
Ernest: It was crazy because I just started it for fun, and I didn’t think it would be anything. But after a while, all the brands started sending product mainly so I can publish reviews right around the launch of the shoes, because everyone wanted to read the sneaker review before they bought it.Ernest: It’s definitely not a normal story (laughs). Most people that work at Nike don’t have a “normal” story. It was really just about being honest about product and sharing an honest point of view. The footwear product director at the time, a guy named Phil McCartney, wanted somebody who could bring in an outsider perspective and that honesty, so he brought me in even though I had no prior experience in the industry and it just went from there.
Ernest: It’s fantastic. All of us within the innovation team bring this attitude of never being satisfied. We always think there’s a better way and we want to make that, so to be with a company where that’s just part of the spirit of the company itself and you’re surrounded by a bunch of people who are incredibly smart and bring these capabilites and do these great things – to be a part of that is really awesome.Ernest: We felt that with the unique blend of benefits that REACT offers – cushioning, energy return, lightweight, durable – basketball was the really the natural place to launch it. But as you know, we work in different sports and so we’re continuously working on different ways to apply it to make better footwear in all different phases of activity. I can’t speak to any specifics really, but stay tuned.