words // Zac Dubasik

For many years, fans have awaited a release of the low-top Concord Air Jordan 11s. For some, it’s yet another chance to own a pair of Concords. And with jeans, you can probably pull them off just the same. For others, it’s a chance to re-live that 1996 championship parade moment. While I think it’s great that they finally came out, it was another easy pass for me, for a few reasons.

For one thing, retro releases have gotten so hard to come by these days that I’ve basically given up even trying. It’s hard enough remembering what’s even coming out, with such a steady stream of drops. But getting them? That seems like a borderline impossible task these days. Even if they would have been easy to come across though, that wouldn’t change the fact that I’ve never understood the appeal of the Concords.

It’s far from my favorite model, but I understand the importance of the Air Jordan 11. I love it for the fact that it pushed the aesthetics of a basketball shoe in a way that enhanced its performance, rather than at performance’s expense. I think the black and reds are a true classic. Columbias are one of the few all-white shoes I’ve ever liked. And both the Space Jams and Cool Greys stand out as two of the strongest colorways of any model that didn’t originally release. The Concords, on the other hand, look like they belong at halftime of a high school football game.

Like one of those “When You See It” memes, I can’t unsee spatted marching band shoes when it comes to the Concord Air Jordan 11. No offense to any of our readers that may be in a marching band, but I don’t want a shoe that looks like it belongs with your on-field outfit - on a basketball court. Or casually, off-court. Or period.

I realize that this is an extremely unpopular position to take on one of the most legendary sneakers of all time. The fact that I love shoes like Prestos and have Rick Owens high tops dating back to the days when they still used exposed staples in the soles won’t do anything to win anyone over that I lost with my stance on the Concords, but at least I’m being honest. I like what I like, and I definitely do not like Concords.

Had the Concords released as a PE for the UNC football season, I’d probably think they were the coolest marching band shoes of all time. But as a hoops shoe, I just don’t “get” them, nor their hype, and I probably never will if I still haven’t at this late point. I don’t need to like it though to appreciate the fact that it’s as important as a shoe gets in the sneaker world. And the fact that I don’t like them means there’s one less person also trying to get their hands on a pair, and one more pair out there for someone that actually does want them.

Is there anyone out there that also doesn’t get the appeal of the Concords? And for those of you that do like the Concords, are there any popular shoes that you don’t understand the popularity of? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.