If you weren’t into sneakers and casually landed on any given sneaker blog, Instagram, or Twitter conversation, you would probably notice that there is a lot of back and forth around Air Jordans lately. Everything from “Jordans are dead” to “resell is dead,” and every imaginable cold take in between seems to pop up after every new release. If a shoe doesn’t sell out on its first drop on SNKRS, it’s dismissed. If a Jordan model is slightly varied from the “OG” version, it’s somehow not as good. If a sneaker release does sell out, it’s problematic because of “resellers” ruining the game. At some point, we’ve probably all landed somewhere near one of the above statements but there is a formula that somehow becomes irresistible for sneakerheads, true to the original.
The Air Jordan 2 is set to return this holiday season and all indications have been that it will be as close to the 1986 version as we’ve ever seen in retro form. The AJ2 has always been one of the most underappreciated Air Jordan models. It’s a shoe MJ won the Slam Dunk Contest in (some would even argue his best dunk contest performance). It was on the trading cards and posters. It was made in Italy. Of course, it won’t be made in Italy this time around because we’ve dismissed that possibility in favor of purchasing mass quantities of sneakers. It had all the pieces to make it legendary. It really should have the respect of the models that it preceded. Maybe it’s the lack of Swoosh, or the over-simplified aesthetic it carries thanks to almost zero branding when viewing it from the side, but that’s an endless debate.
For some reason this time feels different, though, this retro seems different. It shouldn’t, but it does. The market for sneakers, both at retail and on the secondary market is currently in a lull. We could blame it on overproduction, supply chain frustrations, recession talk, or any number of things, but that’s a deeper dive for another time. All of that said, the Air Jordan 2 in its upcoming “OG” form, seems to have a level of hype around it that makes you wonder if it’s the continued impact of Virgil Abloh’s Off-White collabs, the original form that die-hard collectors have been waiting for, or some combination of the two, that will finally make the Air Jordan 2 as important as other Air Jordans. To be fair, Virgil’s appreciation of the Air Jordan 2 does deserve some credit. The original Air Jordan 2 molds went missing in the late 1980s. Nobody seems to know whether they were lost or stolen. Retros prior to last year’s Off-White collab were modeled after disassembling an original pair. Virgil’s designs, love them or hate them, were created using 3D scanning technology that just wasn’t widely available before.
Nevertheless, here we are, looking at photos from Yankee Kicks that make the upcoming version of the Air Jordan 2 Retro look as good as the rumors have led us to believe. While all the pieces are in place for this to be one of the best Air Jordan 2 releases yet, we’ll have to wait until December 30th to really know if this is the release that earns the AJ2 the respect it deserves.