This week on B’s Desk is the Jordan Future. I was lucky enough to do a podcast with the Vice President of Footwear for the Brand Jordan, Dave Schechter, about the shoe and because of that they sent me a pair to inspect for the conversation.
I will admit that back when Complex unveiled the shoe it didn’t captivate me. It actually made me question the direction a lot. I didn’t have a problem with the silhouette, I actually quite enjoyed it, but I didn’t understand the naming. And to an extent I still don’t. But I think what it represents is the notion that the brand is taking their lifestyle product far more serious.
Almost any nonperformance basketball shoe from the Jordan Brand over the past five to seven years has relied heavily on the brands heritage. To the point where sometimes you have to question why they even created a new shoe, just retro the original because that business is thriving. So in an essence the Jordan Brand is lacking a true lifestyle play that is trending. They don’t have a Nike Sportswear division or an Adidas Original or Y3. They need a product in the streets that is iconic and forward thinking, hence the Future. A shoe that is styled well enough to thrive in the boutiques that feature Yeezy’s and McQueens and any other limited lifestyle play. It is a shoe that makes their lifestyle business aspirational and not having to rely soley on retro product. It’s a good move for the future.
The first thing you notice about the shoe is the Air Jordan XI tooling. I have heard some people complain about this but I actually think it is a good move. It speaks to their heritage and shows where they have been but it also is a sole unit that doesn’t feel dated. Even though it is 18 years old now, it doesn’t look that way. Which shows just how far ahead of its time the XI was. Imagine putting the III, IV, V or VI sole unit on this shoe. Or even something newer like the XVII, XVIII or XIX; it would instantly date this shoe as it would feel like a heritage play. But the XI sole unit doesn’t feel that way. It feels forward moving. Plus the clear rubber glows in the dark now, which I can take or leave that. Feels a little juvenile to me but I am a pretty pompous person, so don’t take that too hard Jordan Brand.
The upper is supper clean. It is completely woven with a 3M nylon, so it has a pop to it. You will be noticed in the right light or atmosphere as reflective hashes emerge from the upper. The interesting thing to me is that the Jordan Future will have two versions, a premium and standard version. The pair I am showing here is an example of the premium. The standard version, which will be available at a wider scope of retail chains, will have simpler material plays that rely more on color to celebrate the shoe.
My favorite part of the upper is the quality material touches. It makes the shoe superior in my eyes. It separates itself from the simple to the sophisticated. The details are very minimal but adding a full suede liner to the inside of the shoe and suede binding around the throat of the eyestay elevates the shoe to a premium product. You could have simply just used a nylon bind or spandex liner and the shoe would have been nice. But going the extra mile with the materials is what makes a simple product succeed and the Jordan Brand did just that.
Another nice touch is the leather swatch on the tongue. It features the branding for the shoe. It’s a nice nod to how other non-footwear luxury brands use textiles but bring a level of craftsmanship to it with an old world leather detail.
The laces are a waxed lace. Which means it is exactly what it sounds like, soaked in wax. This technique is borrowed from formal footwear and it is intended to keep the laces from slipping untied. At the end of the laces you will find a beautiful metal, not plastic, detail; gold lace-tips! They add a nice balance of color and quality to the lacing. In a way it elevates the tying of your shoes to an experience. Sounds a little weird but the gold makes you pay attention to an area of the shoe that is often forgotten.
The part of the shoe that really impresses me is that it has no foam package. So that makes the upper quite minimal and natural feeling. What I mean by natural feeling is not by hand but by shape, as the upper takes to the form of your foot.
Overall I am impressed with the Jordan Future. I think it will be wildly successful, which nearly every Jordan is. But this will help elevate the lifestyle division for the brand that is severely lacking.
Check out the shoes below and be sure to pick up a pair when they hit your local sneaker shop!