See what I just did there? The Jordan XXXI is Jordan Brand’s latest model, and the shoe is doing very well as a new release. Reggie Miller wore number thirty-one, and famously did a choking gesture during one of the greatest moments of his career. So from there we have the “XXXI Ain’t Choking”. Saying the Jordan XXXI has been revitalizing is an understatement. While I enjoyed the XXVIII through XXX as many others did, they weren’t as iconic of models as they would’ve hoped to have been. The XXXI is different in that aspect. It’s innovative in almost every aspect. The 2009 through the XXX (XXIV to XXX) all seemed to be models focused on “On Court” and performance, much more than style and fashion. And, the only one of the “Year” models receiving any casual wear being the 2011. A decent amount of people felt the 2011 to be a sleeper amongst non-retro silhouettes. But, this isn’t about the 2011.
Moving back to the recent “Numbered” models; the high top zipper sock of the XXVIII did inspire some later high top basketball shoes. The XXIX lead to the first large Jumpman emblem which we are familiar with now, and also had a very solid low top version. The XXX which was said to be designed in less than a year by the legendary Tinker Hatfield, was a beautiful silhouette in my opinion, but very short lived. One common thing about these pairs is they each have at least one must have colorways. Each shoe had one color that was executed perfectly and truly showcases the greatness of the shoe. For the XXVIII it’s the XX8 Days of Flight, along with the “Bel Air” and “Christmas” SE version of the shoe. The “Riverwalk” was that shoe for the XXIX. I may just be a sucker for the blue/purple colorway since Jordan Brand does it so well. But, I feel like it was executed perfectly on the XXIX. The XXX flourished in the original white colorway and the “West” Jordan Brand Classic colorway. As mentioned these were pretty much the shining moments of those pairs. Like I said I was a fan but a lot of people yearned for more from Jordan.
The XXXI gave us that and more in my eyes. Let’s start with fact that it seems to be the only recent Jordan model to be accepted and appreciated by older sneaker enthusiasts. That statement hasn’t been uttered by many from the “I only rock with the J’s Mike wore” crew. But, apparently the XXXI held a mystique about it. There is another commonly overlooked truth of the XXXI. It’s the first Jordan model that immediately had casual wear appeal. Yes, they have always been intended for the hardwood or concrete courts, but these look great when attempted to be worn out. The comfort of the shoe after crossing into Flyknit technology is also a huge plus. It takes the shoe to a very breathable, lightweight shoe with the give needed to make waves in this era of trainers. The final and arguably most overlooked element of the XXXI as a shoe is that the colorways all seem to be solid. The least appealing scheme to me is the Olympic pair, which is a fan favorite of many. I really had to stop and think about this. The Banneds, Chicago, Black Cat, Shattered Backboard, N7, Fine Print, and Battle Gray have all been dope colorways. Take a moment to think about this. How many other Jordan’s have had this many solid colorways in it’s initial run? Honestly, I even left out the best version of the XXXI. Now think about this the shoe has so much potential it has garnered schemes of Jordan’s two most iconic shoes; The Banned Jordan I and the Space Jam XI. The Space Jam theme executed so well that I opted to pass on the retro. Yes, you did just hear me say that I chose the XXXI over the XI for the Space Jam release. That says a lot about this shoe.
I could probably continue to go in detail about this shoe, but honestly the best thing to do is to get it in hand and see for yourself. I see the XXXI as being one of those drops that we look back and truly appreciate how great it was. But, with that said why even wait to look back?
For those unfamiliar, here is the initial unveiling of the XXXI:
And get the Space Jam XXXI here via SNKRS.