Whenever the team at Jordan Brand begins working on a new game shoe, they start with Michael Jordan himself. That’s because the games shoes are the spine of the company—reaching all the way back to the Jordan 1 and informing everything else under the Jordan umbrella. They are the front guard: displaying the best technological and design advancements while setting a tone for the brand’s overarching philosophy.
Whenever the Jordan Brand begins to design a new shoe, they always refer to Michael Jordan himself. This time, his instructions were very clear: Go look at the three decades of product that Jordan Brand had created. Then build off that history to create something fresh.
So they went back and took a look at the very first Air Jordan I, which debuted in 1985.
The red and black colorway of the XXXI is a tribute to the Air Jordan I. It features elements of that shoe, including a leather upper, and is the first time the shoe has an Air Jordan logo and a swoosh since the original. While the basic silhouette was maintained, they were able to fill that shape with whatever technology they wanted.
The Flyweave upper had to be meticulously designed in Italy with the help of complex machinery. They had to find the right vegan leather that was thin enough for a game shoe but still had a buttery feel. By the time they reached the end product, they designers had created the shoe that aligned perfect with Michael’s vision.