Nike’s ‘Banned’ Air Jordan XXXIs Are Here And THE SWOOSH IS BACK, BABY!
Fun fact about Air Jordans: Though very much designed and made by the sneaker masterminds at Nike, the company’s iconic Nike Swoosh hasn’t appeared on a pair of Jordans since the Air Jordan Is, all the way back in 1984.
Until now. Say hello to the Air Jordan XXXIs
The story of the Air Jordan Is is mythical: The NBA banned the shoe from being worn during games because the black, red, and white colorway didn’t meet their strict uniform color regulations at the time. During Michael Jordan’s rookie year, players were fined $5,000 for wearing the shoe during a game:
When Jordan’s footwear arrived during his rookie season, it shared with the world some of its namesake’s tradition-breaking bravado. A black and red colorway violated the league’s uniform policy, earning a stern letter from league officials and generating a $5,000 fine each time the player wore the shoes on court. “Around this time, if you knew anything about Nike…Nike stood on this kind of rebel behavior,” recalls Jordan Brand VP Howard “H” White, in reference to the runners and tennis players connected to the Swoosh. “This Jordan, that color of the Air Jordan I, kind of galvanized that universal scope.”
“The shoe represented that spirit that he brought to the basketball court by being so different,” adds Larry Miller, President Jordan Brand. “Michael kind of threw the rules out on how you were supposed to play the game. The shoe kind of threw the rules out on what a basketball shoe was supposed to be… People who weren’t even into basketball found out about the shoe and it became this catalyst for where we are today.”
31 years later, Jordans are the biggest sneakers in the world by almost every metric imaginable. The company just dropped the Air Jordan XXXIs, the 31st generation of the kicks. A homage to the Jordan Is, it’s the the first pair of Jordans to use Flyweave and it incorporates the old school Air Jordan “Wings” logo, along with a Nike Swoosh. Nike tells us that it’s the first time the Swoosh and Jumpman have officially appeared together on the same shoe.
It’s one sexy-looking sneaker, complete with a “BANNED” rubber red sole. It’s also packed with performance-tech:
Informed by Jordan himself, the Air Jordan XXXI also follows on a tradition of low-profile cushioning. “He needed to feel closer to the floor — that was his thing,” recalls White of the origin of Jordan’s desire for low-to-the-ground sole units. As such, the Air Jordan XXXI features FlightSpeed technology with full-length Zoom Air that enhances court feel, responsiveness and lateral support. “We really wanted to focus on propulsion in the forefoot, so when you’re coming down you’re engaging the FlightSpeed with the Zoom Air bag,” notes Kuerbis.
The Air Jordan XXXI “Banned” drops officially on September 3.