Jordan Brand Ready to “Take Back the Courts” with AJ 36
Jordan Brand has been the gold standard for basketball sneakers since 1985. Now on their 36th silhouette, JB is once again looking to raise the bar. The Air Jordan 36 is going to revolutionize the way we look at hoop shoes forever. Innovation and forward-thinking have always been a part of the Jordan Brand’s creative process and the AJ 36 is a flawless combination of both.
The latest model in the Jordan line is the culmination of a process that started with the AJ 34. The 34 was intended to be the lightest shoe ever. The team went in the lab for the 36 and emerged with materials that are 33% lighter than those of its’ predecessor. That was a key innovative piece for this model. That wasn’t the only area where the design team, led by Jacqueline Lefferts, managed to reach their creative peak. They introduced a complex weaving technique that took two years to perfect. The folks over at Jordan Brand definitely reached deep into their bag for this one and the result is nothing short of amazing.
When getting into the inspiration for the shoe, there has been an internal rally cry to “take back the courts” within the company. While the history and the prestige of the Jordan Brand is virtually unmatched, if you surveyed the footwear of every league from AAU to the pros in recent years the Jumpman logo hasn’t been as prevalent as it once was. The focus for the 36 was to make it the lightest hoop shoe ever, while also creating a visual masterpiece. The AJ 36 was made to be the pinnacle shoe in the industry. Having several marquee athletes on the men’s and women’s side of hoops that were recently added to the Jordan Brand roster will definitely bring some added excitement to this model.
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Kia Nurse is no stranger to performing on the world’s biggest stage. From humble hometown beginnings to becoming a global superstar, Kia has proven when you put in the work, the game can take you anywhere. Her limitless and effortless style of play makes challenges on the court fun and exciting to watch. Inspired by all of the places basketball has taken Kia, “Global Game” celebrates the purpose and pride that comes along with taking the game to new heights.
While being cutting edge and inventive was a huge part of this process, it would be borderline criminal to not lean into the historical significance of the Jordan Brand. There are sprinkles of the Jordan VI throughout the shoe. Paying homage to the heralded legacy of the brand, while still pushing forward and creating the future is a constant goal for the team. I asked Tate Kuerbis, Lead Senior Footwear Designer for Jordan Brand, is there ever any pressure when creating the next chapter in the company’s history. He said it’s always an honor to work on a project like this. Every year the team wants to raise the bar and improve on the previous year. They keep things in perspective by just setting goals, having something to focus on and having a solid plan before starting a model.
When trying to create the best-performing hoop shoe, the crew takes many things into consideration. The main factors they weigh in on are athlete’s feedback and advancements in technology. Getting the input from your athletes and involving them in the process is a surefire way to get the results you want out of your product. Jordan Brand has fully leaned into this ideology, with the addition of the ladies from the W to the roster.
They want to bring them in as close as possible to provide some authenticity to the process. They namely want to have Satou Sabally involved with the development of the game shoe specifically. Satou set off the “intentional leak” of sorts of the AJ 36 a few months ago. Since then, we’ve seen everyone from Jayson Tatum to Luka Doncic lacing up the shoe on court. Even with the shoe getting some run, long before its’ official release date, there is still a lot of anticipation surrounding it.
There is a lot of internal excitement surrounding this model as well. It’s one of the most ambitious the line has ever seen, considering the intricacies of the design and groundbreaking technology that’s used. MJ himself was even surprised when he got his first glimpse of the finished product. 36 years in and Jordan Brand is still pushing the envelope and finding new ways to remain at the forefront of the sneaker game.