Yesterday, Feb. 7, marked the official unveiling of the Air Jordan 2012, the franchise's 27th shoe. Building off last year's modular system and the idea of "Choosing Your Flight, " the shoe offers three interchangeable midsoles, each designed with a different performance element in mind—"fly through" for explosiveness, "fly over" for jumping, and "fly around" for quickness.
The Air Jordan 2012 Deluxe also features two inner sleeves—a low-cut option for players who want more freedom of motion in the ankle, and a high-cut top for those who need more ankle support. Combined with the three midsoles, Jordan brand is offering six different configurations, all in one shoe. The composite upper combines signature Jordan FlyWire technology with premium mesh materials for breathability and lightweight support, and an external phylon midsole provides additional cushioning and responsiveness. A carbon grid pattern aligns the outer edges, and a "Flight Carbon" plate on the bottom of the midfoot is contoured to the foot's natural shape. The Jordan logo on the lateral sides is the last "puzzle piece, " says Air Jordan 2012 designer Tinker Hatfield.
Three different cushioning systems allow you to choose the one best suited to your style of play. "Even the same person, depending on the situation, might actually choose different parts of the system to suit [his or her] needs, " says Tom Luedecke, Jordan Brand senior footwear designer. The "fly around" green midsole has a Nike Zoom unit in the heel for light and responsive cushioning, while the blue "fly over" has a Nike Zoom unit in the front of the foot, with an encapsulated Air Sole unit in the heel for impact protection. For the orange "fly through" flight choice, the Air Sole stretches the full length of the foot.
According to Hatfield, the aesthetic concept for the Air Jordan 2012 draws from the post-World War I jazz-filled streets of "Jumptown" (a.k.a. Portland, Ore.) and similar areas in different cities across the country, such as the 18th and Vine Jazz District in Kansas City, Central Avenue in LA and Black Belt at 47th Street in Chicago. Taking cues from wing tips and saddle shoes, the shoe's design is marked by unique perforations, inspired, Hatfield says, by the "audacious, daring, confident nature of young people [in that era], changing the fashion game and making it theirs."