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Elena Delle Donne x Nike Air Zoom UNVRS

The brand unveils the first FlyEase shoe built from the ground up called the Air Zoom UNVRS – a model that was heavily inspired by the insights of Lizzie Delle Donne, older sister to WNBA superstar Elena Delle Donne.

Elena Delle Donne debuted the Nike Air Zoom UNVRS, Tuesday, August 27, 2019, against the Los Angeles Sparks. Both teams brought the heat to the court but no one had anything on the Nike UNVRS. The main inspiration behind the shoes’ unique design is Delle Donne’s sister Lizzie who has cerebral palsy among other disabilities.

Delle Donne had the opportunity to team up with Nike to develop a shoe that represents the inclusion of all people. Nike has incorporated a technology called FlyEase. FlyEase footwear’s focus is on working with athletes with disabilities to create a shoe that eliminates stipulations.

The criteria for FlyEase technology emphasize the adjustability and feasibility of getting the shoe on and off the foot. The UNVRS embodies the criteria thoroughly; it only takes three steps to get the Nike UNVRS’ on.

  1. Pull down heel magnet
  2. Close heel magnet
  3. Adjust articulated strap.

#WNBAKicks had the opportunity to catch up with Delle Donne following the Washington Mystics’ 29-point blowout over the LA Sparks to talk about the manufacturing of the UNVRS and her favorite design feature.

Delle Donne starts off by expressing the two main inspirations behind the creation of the UNVRS, her sister Lizzie and “the idea of being a caretaker” to someone with special needs. Being that Delle Donne is a Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics and is endorsed by Nike, she had the opportunity to create a Nike performance shoe that is geared toward all people not just athletes.

Each feature on the shoe is key to the FlyEase technology: heel magnet and articulated strap. Those features are necessary because “people who have cerebral palsy can’t really bend their foot”. The heel magnet creates easy access to slide your foot in and out of the shoe.

Delle Donne also explains how it’s difficult for people with special needs to tie their shoes. The articulated strap eliminates that issue. The articulated strap features FlyWire cables for a secure and accurate fit.

Between the heel magnet and the articulated strap Delle Donne’s favorite feature on the UNVRS is the heel magnet. The heel magnet is a newer feature of the FlyEase technology and serves as a Nike FlyEase performance shoe.


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