The White/Fire Red Air Jordan IV
is the kind of shoe that attracts a younger clientele as it gets older — not in a seedy way though. For a generation, this was the first Air Jordan that was easily accessible in the UK and worn by both Sir Cliff Richard and Ice-T. Having to venture to south London and pay a markup for the IIIs or get our AJ1s though a Kay's catalogue meant missions, but these were in Olympus and Champion Sports alongside their Black/Red brethren. An inability to get your size when you'd amassed the cash usually made your mind up for you. And anyone who got the LA Gear MVP clone of this modern classic automatically got clowned. Over the years, the Fire Reds have been sullied a little by the retro quality. And Fire Red was superseded by Varsity Red for the reissues.
The Laser versions from 2005 were hard to get our hands on and the summer 2006 retro with Spike Lee's mug embossed on the heel promised so much, but delivered so little — we all made the high speed pilgrimage to Foot Locker that July day and some pairs seemed to be dented solely through handling. We should've known then that they wouldn't stand up to daily wear and the Mars editions developed sharp creases before we'd even exited the front door, matching the Military Blues of that year for atrocious materials.
These 2012 versions are a purer rendition of this classic — the shape is exactly like this year's Cements and (upgraded) Militaries and like the Cements, complete with that puffy shape, but the materials can withstand a wander without looking like you've hit hard times. That's not to say that they're especially premium, but they don't dishonour a powerful legacy. In 2006 you got a glossy box and the middle finger, but at least the packaging's akin to the last key IV drop too. That all comes at a price of course — these will retail at £130 when they arrive in the Crooked Tongues store on Saturday (twice the 1989 £65 pricepoint), but they're the best rendition of this shoe to date, or at least the first real retro of the White/Fire Red. Admittedly the old Nike AIR on the heel played a huge part in this shoe's original appeal, but at least these tick the majority of the boxes that justify ownership. Even if you're got the OGs, they're doomed to crumble like they're under some malevolent magic spell, so these are the next best thing. Even if these were made out of sugar paper, they'd probably sell just as well, so we're pleased to see that there's been some attempts to right some major wrongs.