Behind the Design

SB x Air Jordan I

In 1985, the Air Jordan I released, starting a major shift within basketball culture. The shape, colorways, and design completely disrupted the footwear norms of the time. Years following the initial release, the Air Jordan I began to assimilate into skateboarding culture when other skate endemic brands were focused on other sports. Vert and street skaters of the 80’s called for a sneaker with cushioning, a high collar, and vibrant colors. With icons like Lance Mountain, Mickey Reyes and Bryce Kanights beginning to skate in the Air Jordan I, others took notice and its legacy began to form.

Since then, the two cultures have continued to cross paths and make history. This year, we celebrate their relationship with the SB x AJI “Defiant 1”. The collaboration pays homage to two sets of paralleled cities in Jordan Brand and skateboarding history ­Los Angeles and Chicago, Paris and New York. While the Air Jordan I still remains a basketball classic, the “Defiant 1” is designed to gradually reveal the second colorway with wear as a nod to skate culture.

The LA­ to ­Chicago colorway pays homage to the two cities that catalyzed the birth of skateboarding and greatness. While skateboarding history is prevalent between these two cities, their transcending love of basketball is also shown through their iconic colors.

With a more direct approach, the NYC ­to­ Paris colorway highlights two cities with iconic skate styles. The outer layer showcases a light bone and sail colorway representing NYC’s grittiness. Underneath this reveals a hyper pink and crimson colorway which represents Paris’ colorful vibrancy.

The colors references on this Air Jordan I play a huge role in bringing the two worlds together. That being said, the storytelling doesn’t stop with the colorway influences as the tongue and insole both feature Nike SB branding, as well as a Nike SB heel Zoom sockliner for skating comfort. Combined with referential color storytelling and skate footwear details, the SB x AJI “Defiant 1” represents a milestone in both basketball and skate culture.