ON September 3rd 2016, I travelled to my nearest sneaker store to document possibly the most anticipated Jordan release of the year. Whilst running up and down the queue grabbing OTF photos, it was blatantly obvious that everyone had dressed to flex; I mean with the weather that we’re currently experiencing why not?! This left me with a beautiful selection of Nike/JB footwear to capture, mainly basketball orientated for the relevant occasion.
Anyway, legend has it Michael Jordan was fined $5k each time this exemplary sneaker was worn during game-time as it disregarded the NBA’s “uniformity of uniform” rule- thus creating the ‘Banned’ title that Nike use today. However, there’s a little controversy around this particular story…it was in fact MJ’s first sneaker (the Air Ship) prior to the recognition of Jordan Brand in a similar arrangement of colours that earned him the fines, not the 1. But hey, lets ignore all of this for the sake of a piece of history.
If you’ve never seen this shoe before and claim to be into sneakers, you should probably take a long, hard look at yourself. Arguably the most iconic Jordan pairing has been retro’d once again, however it was no regular retro. Nowadays, Nike use the ‘Banned’ label to underline higher leather standards along with a general quality up-haul; there’s not one factor I don’t like about this, honestly even the £10 price hike was justified. Although I didn’t purchase for my own collection, I did manage to grab a pair for my younger brother; thus creating opportunity to examine the materials first-hand. Unsurprisingly, a small craving has now formed in the back of my head.
So, the sneaker itself retailed at £125…for a pair of Jordan 1 this price point is frustrating from whichever direction you view it. In addition to the sneakers, two alternate lacing options were provided (white and red) but down to personal preference these would go straight back into the box.
The black top-grain leather panels are pillow-soft, similar to that of the Fragment release from late 2014. This suppleness I see as relatively surprising, black is notoriously the most difficult colour for both leather and suede materials due to the strength of the dyeing process; yet these guys always nail the hyped releases! In contrast, each red panel is clad in a tumbled leather even softer to the touch than that mentioned above. This factor separates regular Bred, to Banned releases when I say the quality is outstanding, I mean it. Typically, your higher end sneaker sports a pebbled texture; giving this pair a distinctly more important feel to that of your standard Jordan Brand product, something that has been missing from their drop sheet for quite some time now. Overtime these will undoubtably crease beautifully; after all this is one silhouette that only improves with age, similar to the Jordan 3.
As a whole, the sneaker itself is a perfect release for the franchise- this retro leads on nicely to the rumoured ‘Royal’ re-vamp at some point during 2017. Where does this put the company as a whole? Well, Nike have been far more consistent during 2016; opposed to 2015 where Boost tech took a literal stronghold on all things sneaker-related. A stream of sublime collaborations and re-releases successfully lifted them from the dull rut where a number of poorly formulated Sock Dart colour ways had eagerly taken them. By no means is this the pre-2012 Nike we once knew, but it’s definitely the direction that they’ll want to be moving. 2017 has potential to be a heavenly year for Sneakerheads; I see a lot of speculated drops scattered over a variety of brands…so lets hope these become a reality. Saying this, there are still over three months left within 2016, so who knows what’ll happen. I have my fingers crossed.
Below I’ve dropped OTF photos from the queue into a slideshow, I hope you enjoy!