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.
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.
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.
FRENCH – “DEDE”- DEDICATED
SPANISH – “FUERZA”- FORCE
ITALIAN – “INTENSO” – INTENSE
FRENCH – “LIBERTE” – FREEDOM
GERMAN – “ANMUTIG” – GRACEFUL
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.”