words // Zac Dubasik

Rumors of an Air Jordan and Nike SB collaboration go back many years, and are probably most directly linked to the “Tinker” P-Rod 1, which took an original Nike Skateboarding silhouette, and added signature Jordan details like elephant print and Jumpman logos. But that obviously wasn’t the first time that Air Jordans have been tied to skateboarding.

Thanks to the Air Jordan 1 being widely available at highly discounted prices, skaters began to scoop them up. It turned out that the shoe worked from a performance standpoint, with skaters enjoying the ankle support, as well as the durability of the leather upper and rubber sole.

The association was truly immortalized though by a photo taken during the filming of The Search For Animal Chin, which featured Bones Brigade members Steve Caballero, Mike McGill and Lance Mountain all wearing the black and red colorway of the shoe. The connection was genuine. Skaters wore them not only because they looked cool and were cheap, but because they also suited their skating needs.

Although a slightly different silhouette, the fact that the Nike Dunk went on to become the most important shoe in SB history couldn’t have hurt the Jordan x SB rumors. It was a shoe intended for basketball, from the exact same era, which shares more than a few aesthetic similarities with the Air Jordan 1.

The fact is that a Nike SB x Air Jordan project has been inevitable. There was just too much history, speculation and demand, for it not to happen. And as of today, it’s become a reality. Nine years of expectations can be hard to live up to, but this moment should have been an easy win considering the popularity and passion for all of the involved parties.

After that extended wait, we finally got our first look at the initial Nike SB x Air Jordan this morning. There was a lot of hype to live up to, but considering the parties involved, and the built-in interest, it could have been an easy victory. Instead the first shoe of the collaboration seems to be met with a lot of indifference, as well as confusion in regards to the storytelling.

We know that skaters like the aforementioned Lance Mountain skated in the Air Jordan 1, and according to the press release, we’ll see more versions designed by him. The “Northwest Passage” story seems to be a confusing one though to our readers, and hasn’t inspired a ton of excitement in the comments.

The heel font, which was developed by Stecyk and first seen in a skate magazine in 1982 - you know - a full three years before the Air Jordan 1 was even released, has been one of the most criticized elements.

The history was there. The interest was there. But as you can see from these comments, the final product has left our readers feeling largely underwhelmed. With two more models on the way though, courtesy of Lance Mountain, the project could still turn out to be a great success.

If there’s one thing our readers seem sure of though, it’s the fact that hype alone will sell them, regardless of the execution.

Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments. Did the first release from this collaboration live up to your expectations?