Here they are, ladies and gentlemen. The Jordan XX8 aka the new freaking Air Jordans that acclaimed movie director Spike Lee and legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield just unveiled in New York. Here's a first look at the kicks sneakerheads worldwide will be dying to get their hands on.
Oklahoma City Thunder point-guard Russell Westbrook will debut the 28th incarnation of the legendary sneakers at a tomorrow's game at the newly opened Barclays Center in Brooklyn. According to Hatfield, the XX8s are based on eight-inch military boots, which the company apparently makes for the military. They drop on February 15 in Houston at the NBA All-Star Game and will be made available globally the next day for $250
The whole idea behind the sneakers is "Stealth." Has anything ever looked so stealth? You'd totally blend into anything wearing these sneakers, amirite? Here's what designer Tinker Hatfield said Michael Jordan said about stealth:
Stealth is like black cat. You never hear it coming, but it's deadly as hell. You don't 'F' with the stealth. My game is like that, when you see it, it's too 'f-ing' late.
Now, notwithstanding Michael Jordan's apparent hesitation to use the word "fuck"—or at least Hatfied's unwillingness to say it in the middle of a crowd of journalists, that seems like it could mayyyyyybe work as a design philosophy for an athletic shoe. Here's the problem. There's nothing stealthy about these things at all. Unless you consider Aqua Socks stealthy.
Aside from the goofy aesthetics, which the teaser video that played at the press conference addresses, the XX8s aren't for everyone. And as Josh Heard, the science and tech guy behind the XX8 tells me, "We developed and made this for core athletes, not for the general consumer."
What makes the XX8 really unique is the Flight Plate system that this year's Jordan shoe is built on top of. The system has been in development for two years. "We had no idea what shoe it would go into. We didn't know it would be in an Air Jordan product until Tinker saw it and wanted to include it," Heard told me.
The forefoot of the shoe has Air Zoom pockets that stick out by 2mm, which Heard says acts as a piston-like system giving the athlete instant sensation in the foot. But when the shoes are on, the packets sinks into the sole. You feel like you're getting a little extra pop in your step. Underneath the sleeve is an articulated lacing or "finger" system that wraps the wearer's foot all the way around. Carbon fiber also makes up a bit of the Flight Plate system for rigidity. The sleeve itself is a mesh from Schoeller, a Swiss fabrics company. Heard tells me that the material can be found in motorcycle apparel and is rated to withstand impacts of 70 kmh.
First released in 1985, the Nike Air Jordan is perhaps the iconic sneaker line of all time. It's that gorgeous iconic style that has us a little puzzled about these sneakers. They're weird looking foot-glove things of the most horrendously over-priced and expensive order. Supposedly, they're inspired by James Bond, but the last time we checked, James Bond had good style. These things...What the heck are these things? They don't look at all well-suited for covert operations let alone basketball. [Nike]