Kellen Fredrickson // Oct 30, 2019
Dynamism and uniqueness are staples of modernity in all of art’s forms, in every facet of the words. Those who appreciate any of it have a strong reverence for things that are old and things that are new, but mostly for things that defy the construct of what we’ve come to know and love while simultaneously introducing something equally, and forwardly innovative.
Yet there is always something to deeply appreciate for those pieces of creative genius that seem to defy the ages, and often grow finer with age.
In fashion, ot’s a coveted spot to be considered a staple of ubiquity and simultaneously elevate any ensemble. Very, very few shoes fall under such an umbrella.
It’s been 34 years since the Air Jordan 1 came into existence.
And since that moment, nearly four decades of sneaker culture, design, and tradition have been built on the foundation of Mike’s pro model.
The silhouette is steeped in sneaker lore. The AJ1 is easily one of the most versatile and beloved shoes that has ever been.
And it proves a point that, when appropriate, it’s more than okay – these days its revered – to have multiple iterations of that same kick.
The iterative differences between the AJ1 High and the AJ1 Low alone prove that simple tweaks can completely change the way a shoe looks, feels, and wears.
The “Pine Green” AJ1 Highs are a prime exhibit. When Mike first began wearing the AJ1 in its red and white “Chicago” colorway, it spawned a specific subset of releases that harkened back to the shoe’s inception. The infamous “Bred” colorway that was deemed unsuitable for the NBA is perhaps the most famous of these, however the mix of colors that resulted in the “Bred Toe” likewise have since been regarded as one of the most coveted colorways ever.
The “Pine Green” takes this same color blocking theme, but re-coats the shoe with green where it was once red. This gives a pop of color that is eye catching but not overtly so, all the while putting the classic construction of the shoe on display.
The unmistakable toe box construction and shape of the AJ1 comes into full focus with hard contrasts, calling back to days gone by but doing so in a fresh, new cut.
To this end, the “Pine Green” exudes an air of timelessness and freshness that has resulted in this specific colorway receiving special attention in its release during the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend.
However, sometimes only 1 possible colorway out of a shoe simply isn’t enough. Enter the AJ1 Defiant SB, “NYC to Paris”.
Perhaps the most notable design decision about the iteration is the thoughtfulness surrounding the inevitable wear and tear that a shoe as sturdy and applicable as the AJ1’s are always bound for.
The Defiant SB takes a unique stance on this, and actually changes color as you wear them in. The color of the shoe will change from an icy off white to a subtle pink as time goes on. A benefit of not being stingy with your favorite kicks, is that they will eventually be different than they were when you first copped.
The neutral tones of the Defiant SB are also interesting in the sense that they put the swoosh on full display. Hard contrast between branding and upper means that this iteration appears flashy, without compromising on ubiquity or versatility.
But perhaps tried and true; neutral and evolving aren’t a shoe’s most important identities. Maybe there’s a necessary seasonal switch to be made for the warmer weather, and perhaps doing so results in glory and panache.
The AJ1 Low takes a casual stance on the classic silhouette. But if that wasn’t enough, the “Shattered Backboard” colorway makes it impossible to ignore. If history is any indication, the “SBB” colorways are some of the most sought after Jordans in the game.
The crisp orange and black colors adorning this model are not for the faint of heart, but executed well become the focal point of any stylistic ensemble.
However, the construction of this particular model differs from the highs. The leather is complemented by luxe suede accents, rather than a monolithic leather shroud throughout.
This makes the visual impact of the shoe different. More matte and less shine almost over-saturates the “SBB” colors, bringing them further into focus and also drawing clean lines to the somewhat offbeat AJ1 Lows.
If anything, these three different iterative executions of the AJ1 prove that it’s alright to have multiple pairs of the same shoe.
They can differ greatly, but still stick to a silhouette that is tried and tested, proven to be stylish after decades of fanatical dedication. Ultimately it proves the age old adage
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
So, go forth sneaker enthusiasts, grab a few flavors of your favorite sneaks.
It never hurts to have options.