The retro releases of ?94 and ?95 are often storied for their slept on sales, iconic packaging, and ahead of their time concept. More forgotten are the OG Air Jordan 4 revamps from 1999. Known more for their Nike Air branding than their impact on the culture, the shoes proved that retros could sell in a modern market. Moreover, they paved the way for future re-releases and set a precedent for the importance of MJ-worn colorways and attention to detail.
Moving in May and dropping in June of ’99, the Black/Red colorway released almost a month before the White/Cement pair. The shoes were welcomed with far more fanfare than retros of yesteryear, coinciding with a retirement once again, but garnering reactions geared more toward ??classic? ?than ?dated.? An updated retro card proved nostalgic and educational, highlighting the silo’s place in time in the historic signature line.
While the OG makeups sold through and were sought after, the newly founded Jordan Brand also introduced the Retro+ concept by releasing amended makeups of the classic silo in ?Columbia? and ?Oreo??form. Adding new colorways but subtracting mesh, the sales slumped in comparison to their basketball-born brethren.
Could lifestyle colorways live on in the Jordan Brand legacy? On the solo tip, no. The early Retro+ releases would sit on shelves, with most loyalists disliking the mixed up materials and lack of Swoosh stamping rather than the new set of shades seen on the silo. Next year?s Air Jordan 5 retro releases would follow a similar formula, with two original colorways leading the launch in welcomed fashion, followed by lackluster sales on the plus-branded ?Laney? and White/Silver installments. The demand for said sleepers sees hindsight at 23/23: were retro+ renditions fashion forward or has a reversal of rarity altered our clarity?
Regardless of one?s stance, the Jumpman continues to soar off the memories made on court by Michael Jordan and the shoes he made history in. It?s no coincidence that the models MJ played in (and played best in) still stand as the most popular, and detail-oriented fans continue to obsess over the intricacies of the tale Tinker told via leather, rubber, and mesh. Though retro product is as renowned as ever in colorways both original and creative, it all started in 1999, and it started with the Air Jordan 4.