Air Jordan IV Black/Red 2012

There's a lot of reasons to love the AirJordan IV - there's the shoe's role in plenty of movies, album covers and, lest we forget, on the feet of Mike, the fact it got a wider distribution than the previous chapter (getting IIIs in the UK wasn't easy) and that design, taking the AJ dynasty into a new decade. We always thought the Flight branding was an odd touch, with Nike keen to make MJ a Flight figurehead and David Robinson a Force man, despite the Jordan line's evident ability to operate as its own franchise. We've heard a lot of rumors about people being unhappy with the IV design and a pressure to ditch the Jordan line in favor of Flight, but that could just be rumors.

The black and red variation (or 'Bred' to the newcomers) is top of a lot of people's favourite Jordan list, with the black, red and grey bringing a new aesthetic to the courts and the resilient Durabuck upper taking some punishment too. Back in the day, rumour had it that Nike first implemented Durabuck on designs for the Air Trainer SC/III Batboot for Tim Burton's 'Batman', but we're guessing that was a lie, but the fake nubuck originally known as Chlorenol and marketed as Durabuck by Nike and Hydrolite by Avia was good in the washing machine (hence its use on TW releases) and lighter than leather too.

This was a time when a fake leather actually seemed progressive and part of the sell-in. In 2012, with real leather being a rarity, we're not so psyched by synthetics. Especially with rising price tags. The 2012 black/red IV doesn't feature that trusty Durabuck that made the 1989 and 1999 versions so powerful. So minus that material and the NIKE AIR, why should we take an interest in Friday's retro? Because it's better than a lot of other more underwhelming resurrections. The nubuck texture here isn't as sloppy as the 2008 DMP editions, feeling a little more like the Doernbecher or Cavs uppers. There's less gloss on the paint and lacestays than that 2008 version too. We didn't see as many glue marks either. Having tried on pairs, they fit like the other IVs this year (maybe a little snugger but not enough to make us size up) and the packaging's decent again, with the black wrapping and the hangtag. It's nice to not be saddled with a pair of unwanted 19s this time too.

Whether we experience any cracking on the paintwork during wear over the next few weeks has yet to be seen, but our first impressions are largely positive given the low expectations we approach retros of our favourite shoes with. In 1989 we grabbed these from Champion Sports, Olympus Sports and other spots without too much panic. In 1999, the Cements seemed to exit stores faster than these did. In 2008, that extra shoe and the RRP prevented too much grief, though they did disappear from NikeTown shelves. In 2012, Jordan mania is a whole different beast - wristbands, social media lotteries, queues as standard and a colourway a week. These don't disappoint like some others have, provided the effort to grab a pair doesn't involve sleeping rough. These arrive in the Crooked Tongues store at midnight this Friday and they're liable to vanish with the quickness. And then, the black and red hype starts again as the Jordan XI release approaches.

Posted by, gwar on 21 November 2012