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Nike Goes Behind the Design of the Air Jordan IX (9)

The Air Jordan 9 was one of the first sneakers to tell a story along the outsole of the shoe. While wear-testing it for my Air Jordan Project I realized that rubber compound really helped dictate whether or not an outsole would grip the court.

Recently, Nike went behind the design of the Air Jordan 9 because the shoe is about to release once again in Retro form for the Space Jam 20th Anniversary. For those that may not remember, the Air Jordan 9 in the White/Black – Red colorway was the shoe Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck retrieved from MJ’s trophy room so he would practice prior to taking on the Monstars.

Below you’ll find some interesting tidbits of the Air Jordan 9, but if you wanted to know more then head over to SNKRS to take a look.

Air Jordan 9 Retro Performance Review 

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BEHIND THE DESIGN

AIR JORDAN IX

The Air Jordan IX is, at least at first glance, one of the most simplistic Air Jordan designs. But while the shoe is minimal in construction, it tells one of the deepest stories in the iconic signature series. At the time of the Air Jordan IX’s arrival, MJ was off the court and on the diamond, but his connection to the game was as strong as ever. In addition, his hardwood legacy helped inspire worldwide love for the game.

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When it came to designing the Air Jordan IX, Tinker Hatfield was once again at the helm, but he was searching for new ways to evolve the signature line. The innovation came in the form of outsole storytelling brought to life by designer Mark Smith. Looking to tell an international basketball story, Hatfield had the idea to make the outsole the narrative’s canvas, and he called on Smith to bring the concept to life.

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air jordan 9 behind the design

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RIGHT SHOE:

FRENCH – “DEDE”- DEDICATED

SPANISH – “FUERZA”- FORCE

ITALIAN – “INTENSO” – INTENSE

FRENCH – “LIBERTE” – FREEDOM

GERMAN – “ANMUTIG” – GRACEFUL

LEFT SHOE:

RUSSIAN – “СПОРТ” – SPORT

SWAHILI – “UHURU” – INDEPENDENCE

RUSSIAN – “СВОБО́ДА” – FREEDOM

GERMAN – “ATHLETISCH” – ATHLETIC

SWAHILI – “MUUNDAJI” – HOPE

Each phrase speaks to MJ’s way of living on and off the court. “We were talking about competition, about winning, the approach to basketball and those same terms meant more than just basketball, they should be viewed as a blueprint for a good life. Smith said as he looked back on his designs. “Again, we were trying to do something that was beyond just sneakers. We wanted to tell a story about being good to people.”

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Source: Nike

3 comments
  1. I was always curious as to how the traction performed on the court. Being that there’s no traction pattern, I always figured these would be like ice skates if you didn’t play on the most pristine courts in America.

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