SNEAKERS

Inside Chris Paul’s Partnership With Performance-driven Move Insoles

Joining the upstart insoles company as a key investor, CP3 is excited to bring pro-level technology to the next generation of hoopers.

As he’s continued to maintain his Hall of Fame-level play well into his 30s, Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul knows a thing or two about all that goes into gameday preparation. 

He’s long invested into his body during his 17 seasons in the NBA, and off the court, he’s also invested directly into an orbit of companies at the intersection of the wellness and athletics spaces. Last year, he made a key investment in Move Insoles, where he also serves as a strategic advisor and lead ambassador. 

“It fits in perfect with health and wellness, and with the grassroots space,” Paul told Boardroom of the investment. “It goes right along with eating healthier and finding ways to keep your body in the best shape possible.” 

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As one of just a handful of NBA players in league history to receive their own signature shoe with Jordan Brand, Paul was given a front-row seat to the design process behind the scenes during the mid-2000s. He also quickly realized that most sneakers worn by signature athletes and top stars feature the same basic sock liner that consumers get, leading teams and players alike to seek out customized orthotics to help unlock another level of performance. 

“I started wearing orthotics earlier in my career – my second year in the league,” he said.

Sparked in part by a Jones fracture that required CP3 to have a screw placed in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot during the 2007 offseason, he’s never looked back when it comes to orthotics. And with the launch of Move Insoles, he and his partners are hoping to bring pro-level performance and innovation not just to up-and-coming athletes, but an even a wider mass market. 

“It’s amazing how big of a difference orthotics can throw in your chain,” he said. “It’s where everything starts. Everything starts in your feet.”

Photo courtesy of Move Insoles

The company was initially conceived during the pandemic nearly two years ago by longtime league marketing agent Nate Jones of Goodwin Sports. Jones turned to Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard – one of Goodwin’s top NBA clients since he first entered the league in 2012 – who soon signed on as a co-founding partner of Move

Lillard went on to serve as a key performance tester of Move’s trio of prototype insoles in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021, and has since seen the benefits of the comfort and support as he’s continued to rehab to full strength ahead of the upcoming NBA season.

Along with Dame and CP3, three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford and players players like Anthony Tolliver and Matisse Thybulle also signed on as investors. 

“We are so fortunate to have incredible partners like Chris, Damian, and Jamal involved with our company out the gate,” said Jones. “Having them on board tells the world that we have a tested product that’s been validated at the highest level and is worth paying attention to.”

After officially launching in December of 2021, Move offers two key products at this current stage. Its “Game Day” insole is priced at $40 and features a dual-foam system atop an X-frame torsional support foundation. The elevated $60 “Game Day Pro” edition incorporates a carbon-like torsional plate for even more support and rigidity. 

“I think one of the first things that we wanted to bring to this next generation of players is awareness,” Paul said. “It’s one of those things where if you don’t know, you don’t know.”

In recent seasons, as more and more NBA players wear a new pair of sneakers in every game, the trend of seeking out young fans after the final buzzer to gift their game-used kicks has overtaken the league — and it’s made for some genuine, often heartwarming interactions between basketball’s biggest stars and their youngest supporters.

“The one thing you’ll always see us all do first is, ‘Whoa, let me get these soles out first,’” laughed Paul. “You can have the shoe, but these soles gotta stay with me.”

The visibility of the players each snatching out their custom orthotics seconds before the exchange has also served to give a sense of just how many pro athletes rely on their personalized insoles. Throughout the design and development process, Move consulted heavily with Footcare Express, the manufacturer of a significant majority of NBA players’ orthotics, and also incorporated the insights from a wide array of pro athletes and top footwear designers to craft and design a high-performance product.

In addition to its powerhouse list of NBA backers, the company has notably inked name, image, and likeness deals with two rising stars of the next generation in UCLA-bound Jada Williams and Villanova-bound Cam Whitmore. Throughout the summer, Move has already activated across the country at AAU basketball tournaments and at youth volleyball showcase events. 

“Understanding the marketplace and also how you can get different eyes and get different kids to try the product,” Paul said of the focus on high school NIL partnerships. “I have a grassroots AAU program for both men and women and we’re making sure they get a chance to try it out.”

In just the first six months, the company has already sold 10,000 insoles to consumers across the globe. Jones proudly projects that Move will eventually “sell millions of insoles.”

“We are really inspired to help young athletes protect their bodies from the rigors of the hyper-focused amateur athlete circuit that now exists,” he said.

Eventually, Paul sees the comfort benefits of Move Insoles appealing to not only players in multiple sports, but also “the everyday person.” 

“The guy who plays lunchtime ball at the YMCA or the person who’s walking around, or the barber who’s cutting hair, standing on their feet all day,” he describes. “There’s so many different people that can use this knowledge.”

Jones outlines a future product plan that will eventually expand beyond the current offering of just two insoles, with silhouette-specific insoles for some of the industry’s most iconic sneakers down the road. 

All told, in addition to betting on the work ethic and seasoned strategy of Jones at the top of the company, having his fellow pros involved also helped to seal Paul’s commitment and investment. 

“Knowing that I’d be involved with Dame and with Jamal Crawford – guys who I’m friends with – but who also understand the importance,” said Paul of what ultimately brought it all home for him.

Photo courtesy of Move Insoles

“Beyond their love of the game and success on the court, our athlete partners are known for being detail-oriented and driven by performance,” added Jones. “Their storytelling around why our product should be an essential for all athletes will resonate with young athletes and their parents.” 

Paul recalls first taking note of Crawford’s detailed preparation during their time together on the LA Clippers. Five years older than CP, “JCrossover” was often lying on the floor during coach Doc Rivers’ pre-game speeches in the locker room, flexing his shoes, getting in extra stretching, and following a routine that kept the Seattle-bred standout feeling fresh and agile as he brought his youthful scoring style to the league over what would become a 20-year run.  

“I’m that guy now,” smiled Paul. 

Photo courtesy of Move Insoles

After helping to lead the Phoenix Suns to the 2021 NBA Finals in his first season with the franchise, Paul tacked on a four-year, $120 Million dollar contract extension that could carry him through the 2024-25 season, during which he’ll turn 40. That deal follows his initial Max contract that was struck after some creative CBA lobbying by Paul in his then-role as NBPA President, that modified the league’s “Over-36” rule barring players from earning a true max deal if they would exceed 36 years of age during the life of the contract. 

“Everyone was all up in arms when we changed the ‘Over-36’ rule to ‘Over-38,’” Paul said. “And you know what, it not only works out great for me. It’s gonna work out for a lot of these younger guys who are finally understanding that if you take care of your body, if you eat right, and do all these different things – why should there be an age limit on what you can do? You don’t have to put an age limit on your ability or your talent.”

With Move Insoles playing a part in that larger ecosystem of preparation, self-care, and performance, Paul hopes that young athletes of all levels will be able to leverage the technology and the innovations that have enabled him to elevate his play and elongate his timeline. 

“[We want] to get more people an opportunity to try the product and get a chance to see that you can train like a pro,” said Paul. “You don’t have to wait until you get drafted into the NBA or get to college to start figuring out the different things that pros do to take care of their body.”

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