1/30/2016

Are these the Classics of the Future?

A few weeks ago, the revelation of the Air Jordan XXX has taken place and changed from foretelling to fact, and of course, every time a new Jordan releases people debate about it being one of the future Retros. 'Are those the shoes that we will wear 20 years from now just like we wear Jordan 4s, 5s, and 11s?' Answering this question would not only mean to predict the future, but also predict the forthcoming of the Air Jordan legacy. And to think even further, will the Air Jordan signature line stay as relevant or will it be replaced by another athlete's signature shoe? Nike has communicated that successful signature lines won't end with the athlete's career as they have announced a Kobe XI regardless of his retirement. So will the Kobe eventually be the Air Jordan of the future? Or will it be the LeBron or the KD? Not to forget that the Curry One has been the first Under Armour shoe to ever sell out and have fans camp out to buy it. It even has a resell market. Is there a scenario where Nike has to co-exist, share and even compete on the basketball performance market?

Jordan XXX
If we take a look back in time, we will eventually notice that the common opinion about 'what's hot' hasn't changed a lot over the past years. We are still wearing Air Jordan 1s, Air Maxes, Huaraches and Air Forces. The adidas Superstar had a huge comeback last year and so did the Stan Smith. Basically retros are what we WANT from brands so that's what we get supplied with. We, the consumers, want those shoes back regardless of age and knowledge -- there are 15-year-olds that look like they came straight from 1996 in a DeLorean. It's not always grown people who are on the hunt for the shoes they couldn't afford when they were children. It seems to be more than that. It seems like the classics of the past go beyond trends and history. If we take the Air Jordan I for example -- the OG colorways still sell out every time they drop, and it goes further than sales. Besides its popularity, it seems to be the blueprint for many shoe styles, regardless of brand. Last year, Yves Saint Laurent has launched a high-top that looked like a bad knock-off and even came in the classic Air Jordan "Bred" and "Royal" colorways. The Air Jordan I that was born as a basketball player’s first signature sneaker became an icon with a huge impact on fashion, culture and style up to this day.
Are those old school performance shoes even comparable to today's releases? That’s what human nature usually does – take a similar situation and adjust the outcome to something new that seems to be about the same. In this case, I don’t consider it to be applicable, because there is one decisive difference between modern high-tech signature sneakers and retro silhouettes -- but is this the right way to predict the future? Looking at older Air Jordan models, they rather give the impression of being lifestyle shoes as opposed to performance sneakers, but only if we judge them from the present without the context of the past. They don't have 'TECHNOLOGY' written all over them as today's shoes do, while LeBrons or the new Nike Kyrie (Irving) signature series don't feel like they were ever intended to be worn on a casual basis, simply because the designs don't suggest to combine them to casual clothes.

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Paul George in the Nike Hyperdunk 2015
Another good example might be the Nike Hyperdunk 2015. It is very sleek, but still a high-top and every element of the shoe is a feature that is supposed to provide perfect performance on the basketball court. From an athlete's standpoint, the shoe is genius. It is the perfect sneaker for every type of player – it’s lightweight and gives stability, but I've never seen it in a casual context. Why? Because that's not what it was made for. It's simple as that. The Hyperdunk won't be worn by kids in the future or get retroed (or so we think). It doesn't have any type of resell market or resell value, either, just because there is little demand for it off-court, and to boot, the Hyperdunk isn’t a signature shoe that is connected to an athlete in name. There is Bryant or LeBron James or Derrick Rose, all whom have careers immediately connected to their shoes in the fans' heads. A signature shoe tells a story of losses and wins, success and failure, and is one of the few ways a fan might have to get a piece of his favorite athlete. So is this what decides a signature shoe’s success and longevity? Does it all depend on how the athlete’s career develops?
Maybe this is the most important point. Maybe allof the signature shoelines that have survived and get retroed till this day are still popular because the were worn by the biggest athletesin history. Shaqnosis', Questions, Baskleys and Pennys. Even the Nike Tech Challenge used to be endorsed by one of the best to ever step on the tennis cour. When you buy a retro you don't cop just a dope pair of shoes but a piece of history. The story that these kinds of pairs tell are the reason why the latest numbered Jordans don't sell out like the early models. It's just because he hasn't ever played in them. He didn't win a championship in the 27's and he wasn't wearing the 29's during the flu game. Jordan Brand's later models lack a historic connection. Very simple. So, will today's releases be considered classics in the future? It might all depend on how Curry's, KD's and Wade's careers will end up. On whether they will be able to write sports history or not. Looking at the Kobe line, the buzz around the Prelude Pack spoke for itself. The Nike Kobe 1 to X could be for my generation, what the Jordan 1 to 14 are to those OG collectors who's passion was born with Jordan's career. 

Nike Kobe Prelude Pack



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