March 14, 2022
The new Curry Flow 9 releases feature designs inspired by Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Elmo and more.
Under Armour’s Curry Brand is gearing up for the launch of another set of sneakers inspired by the iconic characters of Sesame Street. After dropping the first two shoes in the collection, five more Sesame Street friends will be hitting the court with designs based on Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Lily the Tiger, Abby Cadabby, and Elmo.
“My favorite Muppet on Sesame Street is definitely Elmo,” said Stephen Curry. “He’s always laughing and smiling and having a great time and bringing the best out of everybody. It’s the same joy that I try to bring to the court,” said the NBA All-Star. Curry, a father of three, has embraced the Sesame Street collaboration in part because of their shared commitment to uplifting underserved and underrepresented communities, and its ability to spread joy and positivity around the world.
“Under Armour’s Curry Brand is right at the intersection of pop culture cool and social good,” said Ed Wells, EVP and Head of Global Media and Education, Sesame Workshop. “As a mission-driven brand committed to helping kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder, that speaks to us, so we’re thrilled to collaborate and give generations of fans a whole new way to show their love with the Sesame Street Muppets.”
“When working with Sesame Street, the first thing we tried to solve was creating a sophisticated execution of something light-hearted and fun," said Spencer Hawkins, Senior Designer, Footwear at Under Armour.
For much of the project, Hawkins and a team of footwear designers had to walk a line between form and function while also fine-tuning the designs into a cohesive story. It’s one thing to replicate the colors of a Sesame Street character on a shoe, but it’s another thing entirely to make it feel like a cohesive product line that honors Sesame Street iconography and still performs as top-shelf athletic footwear.
“I’ve gotten a lot of feedback about how amazing the execution has been with each shoe,” said Stephen when speaking to the design cohesion. “Everybody knows Sesame Street and we brought the characters to life through the shoes. Each colorway is so drastically different and shows their individuality, but they’re also unified.”
The designs contain nods to their respective Sesame Street characters, not just in the form of color but also material and print, and are meant to be abstractions of the character rather than literal depictions. “You have the back heel tab that will usually contain a hint of character, for example, “Talking Trash,” the colorway inspired by Oscar the Grouch, we show a characterization of his eyes and the trashcan, as opposed to literally printing his face somewhere else on the shoe,” said Hawkins. The team named it “Talking Trash”, connecting Oscar to hoop culture. For the colors and materials, Hawkins found design inspiration in the metallic trash can he lives in.
The tongue tabs provide opportunities to play with material as well, Hawkins said. “Beyond the Stripe,” the colorway inspired by Lily the Tiger, has a printed striped suede on the tongue tab, he noted, while “Now You See Me,” the colorway in honor of Abby Cadabby, has her fur on the tongue. Hawkins also found design opportunities in the eyerow material, adding hints of iridescent sparkle as a nod to Abby’s magic wand.
“Pink is loud but it’s relatable and approachable,” said Stephen, who wore the design during his MVP-winning performance at the NBA All-Star Game. “This shoe has a special meaning to me now that I was rocking them when I won the MVP award. Ten years from now, I will know exactly when I wore them, what it meant to me and what was accomplished in them.”
Technology was key in designing the new Street Pack colorways. They perform at the highest level thanks to the Flow and Warp technology that makes the Curry Flow 9 the most advanced basketball shoe Under Armour has ever designed. “The biggest thing with the shoe is the technology,” said Hawkins. “How do we embrace this new technology in a way that performs for basketball, that also allows us to have the correct amount of depth of material and color in a way that’s conducive for hinting at the character we are trying to express? That really was the thing that took the most rounds."
The new releases in Curry Brand’s Sesame Street collection will be dropping this Spring in North America, starting with “Taking Cookies” and “Talking Trash” — for Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch, respectively — on March 11. In April, “Dribble Me Elmo,” will drop in honor of Elmo. The Street Pack will be complete in June when the final colorways, “Now You See Me,” in celebration of Abby Cadabby, and “Beyond the Stripe,” inspired by Lily the Tiger, are released.