Thursday, December 10, 2009

Air Jordan XII Retro - White/Red

Jordan Brand released a slew of Air Jordan XII (12) retros this year, some of which were a slap in the face to collectors (Nubucks) and some that had some lame controversy around them (Rising Suns) and some that radically changed materials (flu games), but after a year of releasing 12s, I think they saved the best for last. This white/varsity-red/black Jordan 12 is a classic and they didn't screw it up one bit.

The Air Jordan 12 (XII) is the signature sneaker Michael Jordan wore in the 1996/1997 season when he led the Chicago Bulls to a 69–11 record, their 5th of 6 NBA Championship titles (the middle year of their second three-peat) and earned his 5th of 6 NBA Finals MVP award. Jordan was so dominating, so crushing during those years--and so were his sneakers. The shoes of the second three-peat era (XI, XII, XIII) are some of the best designed, most loved of the Jordan line.

The Air Jordan 12 was originally released in five colorways. The shoe, designed by legendary Nike/Jordan designer Tinker Hatfield, was inspired by 19th century womans' dress boots and the Japanese Rising Sun flag, which you can see in the style of the ribbed leather stitching. The design is even carried past the leather and into the rubber midsole, making it seem as if the lines reach all the way to the ground. The tongue features the Jumpman logo and the unique "TWO 3" text denoting Michael's jersey number, and the Jumpman is even integrated into the front of the sole. From a technology standpoint, the XII was the first Air Jordan sneaker to feature the Nike Zoom Air unit, a tighter and more responsive air system than the older air technology. Lotsa great details in this shoe, but it still retains a clean and uncluttered overall look.

One important historical note: 1997 is the year Nike launched Jordan Brand as a stand-alone subsidiary, so the XII was the first Air Jordan that didn't have a Nike Swoosh or logo visible anywhere on the shoe, including the insole. Since then, no Jordans have had a Nike Swoosh on them, and JB has even gone so far as to remove them from most older Retros, replacing it with the Jumpman. The only Jordan left with the Swoosh is the Jordan I which, of course has the Swoosh integrated into the design.

The Air Jordan 12 (XII) Retro white/varsity-red/black sneaker has an official release date December 19. Of course, as you can see here since I took these photos, I got mine early thanks to a hook up from a buddy. Thanks, T.

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