October 1, 2013 BY Aaron Kr. / 20
Getting your hands on the Air Jordans you want has become an increasingly difficult undertaking over the years. Back in the early days of Jordans, there weren’t any instant release day sellouts, and chances are that even a few weeks after the shoes hit the shelves, if you called around to enough shops, you could usually find the pair your looking for. As the legend has grown, so has the level of painstaking measures that many dedicated fans of the brand will endure to make sure they get the shoes they desire. Nowadays, even for general release Retros, some degree of legwork or luck is usually needed to get the job done, so when it comes to the quickstrike and limited edition drops, best believe that most would-be consumers wind up empty-handed and left to deal with outrageous resale prices as their only alternative.
Even though the golden age run of OG Air Jordans became an unprecedented phenomenon, it was still too early on in the sneaker game for limited editions and most colorways were widely released and easily accessible. We caught some glimpses of what was to come with the Air Jordan X “City Series” back in 1995, and since then, the landscape of limited edition colorways has expanded exponentially, presenting all sorts of new challenges for devoted collectors hell bent on acquiring them all. We’ve seen regional drops, online-only releases and super-limited editions, but up until fairly recently, at least we had the unknowing benefit of living in the country they were sold in.
The emergence of overseas exclusives like the QUAI 54 offerings and the much lusted-after Air Jordan V “Tokyo23” have thrown a significant wrench in the works for obsessive Jordan completists and offered a daunting new breed of challenges in the process. These days, Air Jordans are a global juggernaut and with so many different cultures and regions embracing the brand, it only makes sense to return the love with some occasional special edition
exclusives. The latest geographic recipient of their very own Air Jordan Retro colorway is one of the fastest growing sneaker hot spots in the world and their shoe is swiftly on course to become another unobtainable grail for the vast majority of Stateside appreciators.
So far, the Air Jordan V has been front and center for a large majority of these international make-ups and the trend will continue with the “Shen” edition of the Air Jordan V, a flipped black version of the Laney colorway with some special nods to one of China’s most legendary cities. The Air Jordan V “Shen” pays respects to the city of Shanghai and its incomparable history and culture. Dating back to ancient times, the city was once known as Chunshen or Shen, a nickname that has persevered through the years and now makes its way into the sneaker lexicon and provides us with a little historical tidbit in the process. The shoe also gives a more contemporary callout to the city of Shanghai with the embroidered graphic on the heel taking it’s cues from the design of a major Shanghai highway built to mimic the shape of the Chinese character for the city’s name.
Like the other overseas exclusives that have come before it, the Air Jordan V “Shen” will be a next to impossible cop for Stateside Jordan connoisseurs, but that won’t stop them from trying, and in many case paying absurd aftermarket prices for them once they begin to trickle into circulation. If you have any connects in China, now would be the time to call them in, but that still hardly guarantees you’ll get a pair considering demand will be high and quantities are expected to be pretty limited. While it might not be as good as having a pair on your feet, at least you can get an up-close look at the “Shen” Air Jordan V here and lament over another juicy Jordan exclusive that will most definitely elude the majority of us.