Jordan Brand’s Spring 2022 Shows the Importance of Traditional Design

The Air Jordan XII is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2022. Where you’ll find it is a product of the brand’s richly layered retro philosophy.

Source: Jordan Brand Retro Preview Spring 2022 Official Images

As 2021 came to a close there was an interesting shift taking place. Brands began to understand the advantage Nike and Jordan Brand has. New Balance rolled out the 550. adidas began dropping more Forums and Top 10s. Indie brands began to introduce silhouettes that looked like the Jordan 1. What all of these shoes have in common is a construction that feels like it’s worth more. It didn’t matter that the 550, and Forums used a cheaper synthetic leather, they had elements of classic footwear and construction that wasn’t just another knit sneaker.

Insider Ties: I Quiz Son With My Wisdom…The Simplification of Kicks

In the post above, I discuss how shoes are made in regard to classic running shoes vs knit trainers. I dive into the pricing and it’s a similar discussion for basketball inspired sneakers, except an additional bit to think about. Basketball sneakers hearken to a moment in time when sneaker culture grew into what it is. That foundation can’t be ignored as many of the styles today which have become popular models have their roots in the abortive era of Hip-Hop and basketball. A quick look at Jordan’s Spring 2022 Collection and the shoes all stop at MJ’s brightest moments 1-14 (1-13 here). Heritage, materials and design give the consumers security. I intentionally use security here. Basketball sneakers were traditionally built for strength; leather and suede overlays, reinforced toeboxes, extended collars to present the appearance of ankle support, although most injuries to the ankle happen for reasons nothing can prevent… Basketball sneakers presented strength.

In the design of traditional basketball shoes there was also opportunity for colorblocking that fit like puzzles. It was complex, but the lines came together to make sense. Think about the 550 and how successful it has been lately, and the Forum. Also think about why some consumers are willing to pay for Air Kiy, Fugazi and other shoes inspired by the Jordan 1. Think about the models being re-released from adidas like Kobe’s first signature models and how the materials and design are integral to the story. Then think about the monstrosity of Kobe’s last adidas designs that lacked a more traditional look. Kobe left adidas after those moon shoes. Now take a look at the adidas and Nike shoes being built now. The colorblocking is more Pollock than Cubism. Both work, but one can be deciphered and is easier to accept. The materials on both the adidas and Nike models below lack any clean lines where more premium materials would make sense.

Sneakers transitioned into casual because the lines flowed with fashion very well. As futuristic as the Jordan Brand lineup was when they were created, if you were wearing pants, shorts, warm ups, the lines and blocking was easy to style. When you look above at adidas’ new sneakers and Nike’s new designs they are almost all interchangeable and built with the same knit all over look. The PG is the exception, but I’ve always said PG did not deserve a signature shoe. He doesn’t have any memorable moments. There isn’t any nostalgia or moments tied into any of the athletes above. KD has rings, but he doesn’t have any defining moments. If a basketball sneaker is going to be created with hopes that it resonates, either the design will have to connect, or the memory has to be there. Look at the shoes above, and then look below, Pollock vs Picasso. One isn’t better than the other, but without explanation, one feels more like art. Am I saying modern design should be simplified? Yes. If the 550, Forum, Jordan 1, are any indication, you have to give the people what they want because there isn’t one dud in 15 drops listed below.

Nike Air Jordan 1 Low SE Craft Inside Out Pumice Grey UK 8 EU 42.5