Air Jordan XX9 revealed

*cues “Today Was A Good Day”*

Today was the big Air Jordan XX9 reveal as Michael Jordan and legendary Air Jordan designer Tinker Hatfield presented two colorways of the 29th version of the signature shoe. You have your classic Bulls black/red combo and a black/team orange combo prime for Jordan signature athletes Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook.

MJ & Tinker revealed a lot of juicy tidbits about the design process in today’s press conference. For starters, the XX9 is the first shoe in the world to have a “performance-woven upper”. Hatfield says,

This year, our inspiration and challenge to ourselves was to create the best performance basketball shoe ever—and I think the XX9 and the performance-woven upper pay that off.

The AJ XX9 performance-woven upper.

The AJ XX9 performance-woven upper.

The sock-like fit was initially inspired by an everyday airbag. Hatfield continued with the design on a 3D shell to experiment with the different materials, which is different than his usual process of starting the design on an iPad! An iPad, yup. The design process took a total of 2 years, including a personal visit to MJ’s house from Hatfield along the way. Perhaps capitalizing on the plaid trend, Hatfield originally wanted a plaid upper with numerical significance seen below.

A design of the originally intended plaid upper, with 23, 45, and 6 guiding the pattern.

A design of the originally intended plaid upper, with 23, 45, and 6 guiding the pattern.

I am not about the plaid trend myself, so I am glad to see the pattern is signature Jordan elephant print instead. But I am about numerology and to see the attempted incorporation of 23, 45, and 6 (three numbers no Jordan fan needs an explanation about) is inspiring.

As you can scroll through in the gallery, you can get a sense of the two different colorways. My personal opinion is that first, the black/red version jumped out to me as a copy/paste of signature Jordan elements (the elephant print, patent leather) but upon closer examination, I like the fusion of the two chief features. I think I’m just used to seeing both the print and the leather on their own, which I’ve always absolutely loved.

As I warmed to the black/red colorway, I still have yet to do the same on the black/team orange. I appreciate that the accentuated Jumpman logo stands the two colorways apart, but it doesn’t quite do it for me aesthetically (even if I were to imagine it in classic black/red).

Hatfield delivered one last bold statement on the XX9 design:

The Jordan XI was my favorite design. It was always one of our biggest leaps forward. The XX9 is in that league since the XI. It’s my opinion.

In the league of the XI? I need to see the XX9 Black/Red in person before I commit to agreeing. I, along with all of us, will get that chance sometime this September at the rumored price of $225.

What do you think of the XX9?




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