Jordan Brand announced a large part of its spring 2017 line, unveiling eight different sneakers that are set to hit retailers beginning this year. There are some truly captivating takes on fan favorites, a little bit of history, and a lot of color innovation in what’s coming.
But there was one particular capsule collection inside the larger offering that caught our eye: The soon-to-be-released “Take Flight” trio of sneakers takes cues from Jordan Brand’s own ethos, of course, but also trends in the market that have caught on as of late. It’s an impressive combination.
The word “Flight” has been tied to Jordan Brand for decades, first arriving thanks to Michael Jordan’s own character being synonymous with flight. The logo for the company is literally Michael Jordan jumping an extraordinary height, also earning the brand’s “Jumpman” nickname.
Jordan Brand has riffed on this identity in everything from the Michael Jordan Flight School (which teaches kids the game of basketball) to having a line of sneakers named “Jordan Flight.” The team calls Michael Jordan His Airness and discuss his incredible wingspan at length–the long arms a complement to the legs that propel him well away from the surface of the earth.
But Jordan Brand doesn’t have a corner on the idea of flight. And if anyone else can lay claim to it, it’s the military. We get no better illustration of that in popular fashion and style than the MA-1 bomber—and it’s this style of jacket that Jordan Brand has turned to for inspiration in the upcoming sneaker pack.
The least obvious of the three pairs is an Air Jordan XV, one of the more rarely seen Air Jordan silhouettes, with a very low profile and a woven-and-leather upper. The sneaker comes in all black, making it an easier choice for anyone intimidated by the unique look.
Jordan Brand has pulled out all the stops on the Air Jordan V in this collection, using premium olive leathers from the tongue to the toe and wrapping the midsole in the same material. The traditional plastic mesh cage on the quarter is replaced with perforated leather, and even the lacelock has been reimagined. Waxed cotton rope laces complete the military-inspired look, making for a sneaker that’s as unexpected as it is understated.
The pinnacle of the “Take Flight” collection is a pair of Air Jordan VIIIs that flesh out the most obvious connections between inspiration and execution. An almost entirely olive green upper appears in neoprene and nubuck, countered by black on the tongue and midsole, with hits of safety orange–much like the “emergency orange” lining of the old-school, standard-issue Alpha Industries jackets.
When photos of these sneakers first leaked, fans (wrongly) assumed they were a collaboration with California retailer UNDFTD because of the color scheme. As it turns out, they’re pure Jordan and a welcome addition.
The military has long been a source of inspiration for fashion, even before many styles were made available to the public. It’s a delicate dance to show reverence for those looks without making a political statement, but this small collection of footwear is able to satisfy the sartorial appetite that we have for these colors while remaining true to Jordan Brand’s own identity—all while giving us something we can rock in the streets.