The Evolution of Excellence: A Deep Dive into the Air Jordan 39s

air-jordan-39s
Image Source: Complex

If you’re ever at Michael Jordan’s private golf course, The Grove XXIII in Florida, you’ll know when he arrives even before you see him because their is a new sneaker in the house – “Air Jordan 39s” Perhaps the clouds part slightly, or gravity shifts just a bit in his presence—a subtle tribute to the times he defied it. Somehow, you can sense when Jordan is near.

“You hear him when he comes off the golf course,” says Joël Greenspan, a lead designer at Jordan’s namesake sneaker brand. “He’s with his buddies, having fun, and you hear that iconic voice. Even in the boardroom, it makes you tremble a bit.”

Despite Jordan’s warm and responsive demeanor, it’s hard not to feel a bit intimidated by the man whose name graces your paychecks, the golf course, and the world’s most popular and longest-running line of basketball sneakers.

As the lead designer on the upcoming Air Jordan 39s, Greenspan had the unique experience of presenting to Jordan numerous times, both at the golf course and elsewhere. Set to release in July for $200, the Air Jordan 39s have received more input from Jordan himself than any other signature model in recent memory.

A Collaborative Masterpiece: The Air Jordan 39s

“We met with him to discuss the brief, the concept, sketches, and prototypes throughout the entire process,” says Greenspan. “He was more involved than he’s been in many, many years.”

The Air Jordan 39s signify a new direction for Jordan Brand. While still a pinnacle performance basketball shoe, it integrates more of Jordan’s personal touch and focuses on practical performance enhancements, particularly for changing directions on the court. The design is pared down and more simplistic, addressing feedback from fans about previous models being overbuilt.

“We’ve been heavy on Flight, but today’s game is much more grounded,” says Bennett Shaw, Jordan Brand’s director of sport footwear. “Getting back to basics was a major focus for this model.”

Inspired by Legends: The Air Jordan 39s

The design team zeroed in on Jordan’s iconic cross-step move, a fundamental maneuver he performed effortlessly on the court. This move became the basis for discussions with Jordan about the shoe’s performance features.

Presenting Jordan with game footage from 1991, the designers received detailed feedback on how his shoes felt during play. This conversation drove the design of the Air Jordan 39s, influencing everything from cushioning and traction to the lower silhouette.

Testing the Limits: Developing the Air Jordan 39s

To understand how the foot in motion would react to Jordan’s cross-step, the design team used painted pairs of the Air Jordan 29 for testing. Players performed hundreds of cross-steps, wearing away the paint in jagged sections, revealing the areas of high wear. This experiment informed the design of the Air Jordan 39s, which features engineered embroidery over ballistic mesh to replicate the effect.

Simplified Elegance: The Design of the Air Jordan 39s

Jordan challenged the designers to create a shoe that was bold yet simple. The subtle references to the Air Jordan 9, like the flexible polyurethane tongue and the triangular side perforations, are deliberate nods to the brand’s heritage.

The shoe’s design is numerically rigorous, with 23 perforations on the medial and lateral sides, 39 beneath the vamp, and nine over the toes. Even the midfoot rubber pattern, inspired by the Jordan 9’s globe icon, consists of 39 panels.

Advanced Technology: Performance of the Air Jordan 39s

For performance, the Air Jordan 39s feature a combination of full-length ZoomX foam and full-length Zoom Air, providing a stable yet bouncy feel underfoot. The outsole uses a herringbone traction pattern and TPU for stability during multi-directional movements.

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The ‘Croix’ colorway is based on an original Air Jordan 9. Via Complex

Colorways and Legacy: The Air Jordan 39s

The Air Jordan 39s will launch in nine colorways, each with a unique story. The first release, “Sol,” is a white-based colorway with a red Jumpman logo, symbolizing foundational footwork. Subsequent colorways include “Lumiere,” inspired by Paris’ City of Light, and several others that reference Jordan’s history, such as “Baron,” “Heritage,” and “University.”

Each colorway draws a clear line back to the brand’s lineage, ensuring the Air Jordan 39s not only perform on the court but also carry the rich legacy of Michael Jordan.

Conclusion: The Air Jordan 39s

The Air Jordan 39s represent a blend of innovative design, advanced technology, and a deep connection to the brand’s storied past. With input from Michael Jordan himself, these shoes are set to make a significant impact both on and off the court. As Shaw puts it, “It always starts with the story. What do we want the brand to stand for? The Air Jordan 39s answer that question by bringing us back to the basics while pushing the envelope in performance and design.”

Explore the legacy and performance of the Air Jordan 39s this July and experience the next chapter in the iconic Air Jordan series.

Carol Jones

By Carol Jones

My aim is to offer unique, useful, high-quality articles that our readers will love. Whether it is the latest trends, politics, lifestyle, beauty, or technology I offer it all.


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