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Hate It or Love It: The Air Jordan XV

The Air Jordan XV is a shoe that many consider to be one of the least favorite designs in the Air Jordan line. Released in 1999, it was the first shoe to come out after what was thought to be Michael Jordan’s final retirement from the NBA. During this time, fans were still hanging on to “The Last Shot” against the Utah Jazz and the Air Jordan XIV which was a successful model with several fan favorite color ways. The Air Jordan XV may have not been the most anticipated Air Jordan of all time, but many people were wondering what the brand would do with Michael Jordan no longer in the NBA and if the shoes would even continue to be released.

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Tinker Hatfield once again took the lead in designing the Air Jordan XV, the mastermind behind the Air Jordan III – XIV. Many thought this shoe would be his last hurrah for designing shoes for Michael Jordan. With that in mind, it was expected that the Air Jordan XV would be something iconic and remembered for ages and there were a lot of expectations being the first shoe to carry the brand on without Michael Jordan ever playing in them. The inspiration for the design originated from the futuristic X-15 fighter jet developed by NASA during the 1950′s. The X-15 is the world’s fastest jet as it holds the current world record for the fastest speed reached by a manned plane at 4,520 mph. Hatfield often used vehicles as the base inspiration for his designs as this was also seen in the Air Jordan XIV and its inspiration being drawn from the Ferrari 550 Maranello. One of the distinct characteristics on this shoe was the tongue which stuck out from the top of the shoe. A lot of people did not like the look of this as it protruded out from the shoe quite a bit. Hatfield used this design to emulate Michael Jordan sticking out his tongue while playing which he was known for throughout his career. He wanted this shoe to be personalized to Michael Jordan and this was his way of doing that. The Air Jordan XV also drew inspiration from Prada and other Italian designers with the red stripe that went up the back of the shoe and bottom of the heel. Going down the heel of the shoe were the numbers 23.6.15 which indicated Michael Jordan’s jersey number, the number of championships he won and the model number of the shoe. On the bottom of the shoe you could find the numbers 2.17 which represent Michael Jordan’s birthday of February 17th. The last characteristic of the shoe was the woven upper which was supposed to give it a futuristic look. All put together, you had a unique design that definitely stood out.

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One of the sections we have here at Midwest Sole is called Sneaker Moments. Moments where we can look and immediately know why it was significant as well as the shoe that was a part of that moment. The Air Jordan XV lacks this appeal to fans as Michael Jordan never wore this shoe. There are not any iconic images that stay with us with this shoe; no moments where we were left in awe and being reminded of his greatness. Without Michael Jordan in the NBA, the brand looked to other stars such as Ray Allen and Reggie Miller to showcase the shoe on court. Despite this attempt to have other Jordan Brand athletes market the shoe, the Air Jordan XV did not sell well in the retail market. With that being said, nowadays many collectors love the player editions of this shoe that are harder to find. Maybe it was the fact that Michael Jordan never played in the shoe or the unusual design, but the Air Jordan XV was never well received in its high top or low top versions. Perhaps with the current popularity of Air Jordan’s and the retro craze, another re-release could spawn a renewed interest in the Air Jordan XV.

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One Response to “Hate It or Love It: The Air Jordan XV”

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