The latest edition of the storied Air Jordan sneaker line, the XXXI, was released to a packed house and many screens around the globe this past Wednesday in Las Vegas. What was once speculation after images appeared on the Internet leading up to the event was finally confirmed for the world. Jordan Brand senior designer Tate Kuerbis helped to explain the story of the shoe from inspirations to design components and innovations really having us at Sole Shift eager and chomping at the bit, like many of you are we’re sure, to a pair on and run some ball. But since we don’t have our pairs just yet we figured we’d poll a few of our contributors and staff to ask what their first thoughts are on this newest member to the iconic line …
Ray Bala, associate editor – When the images were leaked out a few days ago I wasn’t wholely impressed but them. They didn’t look much different from the Super.Fly5 to me. But after the release I was more impressed. The aesthetic look of the leather and the Flyweave (which is probably crazy as is) and how the designers were able to seamlessly interconnect the two is dope! The use of the weaving pattern to make a gradient pattern in the upper colorway give the pair a speed blur or melting effect which I really like. I think the large Jumpman logo on the shoe is a bit much but it is cool that Jordan Brand opted for all three logos to be present on it. I like the use of the AJ1 Banned colorway as a big attention draw plus the colors work well together. The word “Banned” visible through the outsole is just icing on the cake. I’m really curious to feel the cushion on this pair too.
Colin Garraway, contributor/weartester – I’m excited! I love the look and I am very intrigued to see how the combination of FlightSpeed technology performs on the court with the full-length Zoom Air cushioning. I am a sucker for nostalgia and I love the fact that they’re positioning the Jordan 31’s to be the shoe of the future while having design features that tip its cap to the original.
Alan Johnson, contributor – When I first saw the shoe, I immediately had thoughts of the Air Jordan I. The styling is very reminiscent of that model. I also noticed the placement of the Nike swoosh so close to the Jumpman symbol, which I don’t recall has ever been done on a previous Jordan shoe.
Jason Tiangco, Sole Shift co-founder/contributor/weartester – From the first images that surfaced, to the teaser vid and now with the release of the first colourway, what I like most about the JORDAN XXXI is how it represents both the history/tradition of the Jordan brand while speaking to the future of basketball footwear by incorporating the latest in footwear technology.
There may not be a better colourway with that in mind than the initial release of the BANNED colourway. As a player who’s always wanted to have an old-school model outfitted with today’s tech, I would’ve loved to see a more vintage look to the JORDAN XXXI, but I understand the balance that Tate Kuerbis & his team needed to execute.