Jordan Grown -- Lifestyle I Can Get With
Has the brand finally come out with a worthy casual sneaker?
words_Nick DePaula For five years now, the term "lifestyle" has meant an entirely different thing to what would conceivably be the Jordan Brand's target demographic. To perhaps suit your Jordan tastes, there were jeans that literally had shoes painted on them, citrus and "orange peel" (?) plaid abominations that ruined what was left of the legacy of one of their most iconic models and to top it off, we even saw confused geriatric-looking skytop-bites that aren't quite getting any run from anyone. The L'Style chapter was largely a failure. After quite a few miscues, the Jordan Grown, seen above in Wolf Grey/ Black, is an entirely new silhouette based on classic principles, and it works. Designed by Jordan Brand Creative Director Mark Smith, the vulcanized and canvas model is offered up in muted base colors that stress versatility and wearability over a head-to-toe Jordan look that rightfully never caught on. Perhaps they finally figured out that not everyone wants to look like a Champs mannequin. The shoe's abstract lines yet simple nature give it just enough flair to stand out from the overly saturated vulcanized market, and also give the shoe a unique look different from what Gourmet might be offering. Yes, that's important. It's definitely funny as hell that Gourmet was founded on copying classic Air Jordan models, and that one of Jordan Brand's best lifestyle models of the past few seasons, the Campus Chukka, looked like a Gourmet copy. Things like the quarter contrast panel in black, and the foxing nod to the XX3 make the Grown a great step towards modern design that the brand has been truthfully lacking. Unseen online up to this point is a cement print pattern that lies in the shoe's gum outsole. Perfectly understated in a world of way too damn much cement print. The Jordan Grown isn't entirely without its faults -- the branding isn't awesomely executed. In going for an understated and...ahem..."grown" look, the shoe's Wings Logo hit would probably be better suited along the heel, a la the best vulcanized shoe ever, the Jack Purcell. But I can see why they went a different route, to make it immediately known that the Grown is surely not a Gourmet model, and because that heel placement would be ideal, sure, but it'd also be predictable, and that's most likely why Mark Smith landed on the lateral midsole instead. I'll still be ripping off the logo strip once I get my pair. At $90, the Jordan Grown is well priced, well executed in several sweet colorways, and will be available just in time for the summer months. Though the brand can be trying as all hell at times for those of us who simply want a basic lifestyle shoe that doesn't feature (tacky) visible Air, endless splashes of cement print or an altogether ridiculous and unwearable colorway, finally the Jordan Grown has gotten it right. Jordan Grown -- Velvet Brown/ Light Bone -- September Release Jordan Grown -- Obsidian/ White -- July Release: