February 7, 2012 BY Aaron Kr.
Jordan Brand is well known for pulling out all the stops for the launch of a new flagship model, and this year’s Air Jordan 2012 media unveiling was certainly no exception. Sneaker News was fortunate to be part of a select group of media picked up this morning and driven to a mystery location for the event. The cars eventually pulled up to a hangar in New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport with a large metallic Jumpman logo on the side of the building leaving little doubt that we had arrived at our destination. Once inside, media was “checked in” to their “flight” at a counter manned by members of the JB team and even a few flight attendants, and then piled into a room where the Air Jordan 2012 was officially introduced. After a brief set-up, the shoe’s designers, Tom Luedecke and none other than the legendary Tinker Hatfield (proudly repping his alma-mater in a pair of ‘Oregon’ Air Jordan III’s), were brought up on stage to run through the backstory and details of Jordan Brand’s latest installment to the Air Jordan heritage line.
As you might expect from what you’ve seen of the shoe, there is certainly a dress shoe influence, but it’s origin might not be what you were thinking. The inspiration for the wingtip aesthetic came from quite an unlikely place – a Tinker Hatfield architecture gig for the city of Portland. Tinker had been working on a rejuvenation project for a Portland neighborhood known as Jump Town, which was once a Northwest hub for jazz music and its fashionable culture. He was intrigued by the idea of the wild “zoot suits” that were worn in those days and the flashy footwear that often accompanied them. The idea was born and the look was translated via iPad sketching into what eventually became the Air Jordan 2012 – a shoe with some visual call-outs to a forgotten era crossbred with some next level technology found inside.
Aside from its unique look, the standout feature of the Air Jordan 2012 are its modular parts and the wide variety of options that can be explored. The idea of offering two different inner sleeve booties and three swappable insoles with different levels of cushioning comes down to one simple concept – allowing the consumer to tailor the shoe to their own customized specifications. No matter your size, position, style of game, there is something to cover it all, whether it be over the long haul of a season or switching up from game to game to adapt as you go. The innovations cross into some new ground for the Air Jordan line and are definitely worth a closer look in person when they start hitting retailers tomorrow in the first two colorways. Keep reading for a thorough look at this afternoon’s Air Jordan 2012 introduction with Tinker Hatfield and Tom Luedecke and stay tuned for part 2 of our launch recap later tonight.