Written by Alex Strum
Edited by by Jenkin Au
Photography by Alan Ng
For the average sneaker aficionado, the debate remains the same. Quality vs. Quantity.
Most of us collectors, even in the best of times, can’t always just run down to the closest independent shop and buy the newest release whenever they like. Sneaker collecting requires a well thought out plan of execution, and the financial means to support this ever evolving beast. Most collections can be defined by this one long standing question, so which side are you on?
They may not have always had a literal stranglehold on the sneaker game such as they do now, but Nike has been instrumental in growing the culture to what it has become today. Over the years Nike has become the number one collected sneaker brand in the world, and year after year continue to have all eyes on them when it comes to the newest concepts and innovation. So why can’t they maintain a reliable standard when it comes to quality of their top tier product, being the monster we know as Jordan Brand?
If someone had told me a decade ago that one day the quality of Air Jordans would be under fire the way it is today I would have said they are crazy. Believe it or not, there was a point in time that when you picked up a pair of Jordans, you simply knew you were getting nothing but the best. Sure, having “The Best Player in the World” wearing and attaching his name to the product doesn’t hurt, but when you put on that new pair of J’s you would just know you had a well built sneaker. These days, not so much. First, let me say that there are a few decently made Retros that have been peppered into the mix here and there, but for the most part you can determine just by looking at the sneaker that JB is clearly cutting corners. I’m referring mostly to the materials used in the ‘upper’, but the same goes for excess glue around the midsole, decreased quality of the once premium laces, and premature flaking of the paint along the sole.
If you own any of the original releases, next time you decide to rock them do yourself a favor and drop by any local sneaker shop and compare them to the latest retro. I admit that being a shop owner myself has given me a lot of experience in examining each Retro as it releases, but if Jordan Brand is going to continue to command a $189 (cdn) price tag for each new retro, I can’t help but call them out every time I see not-so-minor flaws in production. Maybe it’s time Nike relied on a little more than genius marketing campaigns and player/celebrity endorsements, and get back to the type of quality control that had previously earned Air Jordan Retros their “Holy Grail” status in the minds and closets of sneakerheads everywhere.