POLLS: Did the Air Jordan XXX Fail to Take Flight?

The most iconic of sneaker lines unveiled the 30th edition of its mainstay model yesterday in rather stellar fashion. Hosting some of the most respected names in sneaker and basketball culture at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, designers Tinker Hatfield and Mark Smith presented the Air Jordan 30. It’s a model that nods to MJ’s “otherworldly talents” and global influence, while referencing “a storied yet timeless lineage with an eye towards the future.”
During the event, Tinker and Mark discussed their design process, inspirations, and the technology they chose to keep, such as the proprietary Flight Speed system, as well as the new technology they introduced, including a first-of-its-kind knit collar. A Q&A later ensued, where we continued to learn about this Air Jordan, one that leans more towards refinement, rather that the radical innovations we’re use to seeing from this line.
A voice from beneath the pulpit inquired on the aesthetic of the Air Jordan 30, asking Tinker if he considers the popular retro division when sketching his ideas, while another asked Smith if he ponders how his designs will look on the street rather than the hardwood.
“I’m paid to be a futurist,” said Hatfield. While Smith would later answer, “We will never compromise performance for aesthetic. Once I do, I know my time is done.”
During prototyping, the design team received constant feedback from Team Jordan players, including superstar point guard Russell Westbrook and His Airness himself. “This shoe wear-tested better than any basketball shoe I’ve been around,” said Tinker during the live stream unveiling, and that’s a bold statement considering his track record.
Now I haven’t yet balled in the Air Jordan 30, but after talking a couple imaginary euro-steps in them, they’re top-notch basketball sneakers. They’re light, reminiscent of Kobe’s low-top line, strong and durable like a pair of LeBrons, and the 29’s comfortable sole system returns to round out a quality release to carry on the namesake’s torch. Yet the Air Jordan 30 received mostly indifferent or negative reviews from the rest of the world, which includes our beloved community of commenters here at HYPEBEAST.
But let’s face it, they’re athletic sneakers intended to enhance the performance of some of the best basketball players in the world. They are not intended to be peacocked around Paris Fashion Week. To be fair however, aesthetic is a key component to good design. So there is a balancing act every designer must consider.
So what typically makes a performance basketball sneaker aesthetically appeasing, or acceptable for casual street fashion? This question is barbershop worthy because, not to sound super cliché, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
However, if you look back on the Air Jordan line, the most iconic models featured some sort of radical, revolutionary innovation that was the very first of its kind. Whether it was visible Air units, patent leather, carbon fiber shanks, or even woven Kevlar, walking the streets in the latest sneaker technology was, and still is a status symbol, a signifier of cool. Just look at how well the Flyknit Racer and Pure Boost have done in recent years.
As we mentioned above, the XXX is more of a refined version of past iterations, rather than a model that introduced some sort of cutting-edge technology with the promise of shaping the rest of the market. It features the 28’s silhouette and Flight Plate outsole, while the 29’s Flight Weave one-piece upper and Flight Speed midsole are all incorporated into this release.
With that said, we shouldn’t throw the AJ 30 into the pile of forgettable releases from Brand Jordan. Aside from the net-inspired “XXX” that appears at the heel, the most eye-grabbing detail on this model is a unique, reinforced toe-piece made up of tiny beads that form a almost hidden Jumpman logo. “Michael has always been very infatuated with the toe-down look of a shoe,” said Hatfield, and the most memorable model to feature this element is the Air Jordan 11 and it’s patent leather vamping. But is that enough for it to reach the upper echelon of Air Jordans?

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via Hypebeast