Changing Colors: The Nike SB x Air Jordan I Transforms

Wednesday April 16th, 2014

The Air Jordan I not only launched Michael Jordan’s shoe into a realm the basketball sneaker industry had never seen before, but the emergence of the shoe in skateboarding circles took off in a completely different way aesthetically in the late 1980s, led, in part, by skateboarder Lance Mountain.

Now, Mountain has teamed with Nike and the Jordan Brand for a second edition of the Nike SB x Air Jordan I, a new iteration of the original shoe, but with a completely unique way of revealing personality for the boarder wearing the high-topped sneaker.

In a throwback to the late ‘80s, when skateboarders would mismatch their shoes—or at least interchange differing colors of shoelaces to personalize contrasting looks—and then sometimes paint over them to choose uniformity, Mountain has helped create shoes that will have the paint wear away as they are worn, revealing different colors underneath.

The new look—out in June—comes with one black/red colorway and one black/royal. But the shoe starts, in DIY-style, Nike says, covered in black or white paint. As each pair is worn, the paint wears away.

“Mismatched Jordans are the way you used to wear them,” Mountain says. “How do we make them our shoes? Everything was about modifying it and putting your own brand on it.”

Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb. 

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