Zion Williamson was wearing a $110 pair of Nike sneakers when the shoes exploded and he injured his knee

Zion WilliamsonZion Williamson's shoe exploded.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

  • Zion Williamson was wearing Nike PG 2.5 sneakers when they exploded during a game between Duke and North Carolina on Wednesday night.
  • Nike's PG 2.5 sneakers are part of the company's collaboration with Oklahoma City Thunder player Paul George and cost around $110. 
  • Williamson was required to wear Nike shoes as part of Duke's deal with the sportswear giant, but he had many other sneaker options besides the PG 2.5 design. 

Zion Williamson's Nike sneaker explosion on Wednesday was the shoe split heard round the world.

Williamson was out the rest of the game with a knee injury, and many people were eager to blame Nike for the incident. 

The sneaker in question was Nike's PG 2.5, part of the company's collaboration with Oklahoma City Thunder player Paul George. It is widely available, retailing for $110, and currently on sale on Nike's website for $92.97. 

Read more: Nike is facing backlash after Zion Williamson's shoe exploded

Duke players are required to wear Nike shoes due to a 12-year contract between the school and the sportswear giant. In 2015, Duke and Nike signed a deal agreeing that Nike would "supply all 27 of the Blue Devils' athletics teams with uniforms, footwear, apparel and equipment innovation through 2027," Sports Illustrated reports

However, that doesn't mean all Duke basketball players have to wear Nike's PG 2.5s. In fact, the model is one of the less expensive options that Williamson could have chosen to wear for the showdown against North Carolina on Wednesday. 

Zion Williamson shoePhoto by Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images

"Williamson has roughly worn 10 different Nike models this season, from the Adapt BB auto-lacing sneaker ($350) down to the Kyrie 5 ($130)," Brad Crawford reports in 247 Sports. "From in-game photos, Williamson's pair of the player edition PG 2.5 in Duke's familiar white and blue colorway appear to be worn quite a bit, hence more give than usual in the midsole where separation occurred in a violent manner."

Crawford notes that the PG 2.5 isn't designed to last for an entire season, especially for a player as explosive as the 6"7', 285-pound Williamson. It's possible that a different shoe better designed for Williamson's size would have been  able to withstand his powerful playing style. 

"If you look at Williamson's severed left sneaker, the upper is fully-intact, meaning the notion of 'bad craftsmanship' is a misnomer," Crawford writes. "The phylon midsole is destroyed as a result of weakened foam. That's not going to happen for most players, but with a worn shoe, it's not all that surprising considering Williamson's size and strength." 

Zion Williamson dunkGrant Halverson/Getty Images

While the PG 2.5 sneakers have mostly positive reviews, a few people have raised similar issues about the shoes not being able to handle wear and tear.

"I wore these only on a basketball court for maybe a month, and the traction area on the sole busted through the bottom," one person wrote on Nike's website. "Would not recommend!!!!" 

"I bought this shoe for my daughter. She wore them for a month and they are ready for the trash," reads a review from Dick's Sporting Goods. "Stitching is ripping out and the rubber sole is separating from the shoe." 

"I bought these shoes about a month ago and use them for basketball. The shoe inserts are falling out already," reads another negative Dick's review. "This is unsatisfactory! Shoes are supposed to be for basketball shouldn't fall apart after a couple of games."

Some people on social media are questioning the shoe's quality and wondering if Nike will recall the PG 2.5 design following the incident. 

Nike did not respond to Business Insider's question as to whether the company would recall the shoe or adjust the design. 

"We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery," the company said in a statement to Business Insider. "The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue." 

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