Nike Launches Breakthrough Air Jordan

Nikes It had to happen sooner or later: After 23 years of selling the Air Jordan, Nike and the basketball great had to change it up a little, and the team has unveiled the latest model: The Air Jordan 2009.

The Beaverton, Ore.-based company says it is retiring the old naming convention, which covered the Air Jordan I, launched in 1985, through last year's Air Jordan XX3.(Jordan wore No. 23 throughout his career.) Now in its 24th year, the Jordan Brand division's new shoe also includes what Nike says is cutting-edge performance technology, and adheres to the Nike Considered environmental standards.

"Throughout the first 23 years of the Air Jordan franchise, we challenged ourselves and the industry by producing athletic footwear beyond the limits of what was possible," Jordan says in the company's release. "The Air Jordan 2009 ushers in a new chapter for the brand--it is the embodiment of what we can do and sets the course for the next 23 years for the franchise."



While a limited edition of the new shoe costs $230 and launches on Jan. 31, the nationwide push is scheduled for All-Star Weekend, releasing on Feb. 14, with the shoe priced at $190.

The new design includes what Nike calls Articulated Propulsion Technology, or APT, based on the carbon fiber prosthetic running technology used by paralympians, a design it says allows the athlete to explosively and quickly propel forward on the court. The company says the inspiration came in part from paralympian April Holmes, the first woman to join the brand--a Team Jordan track and field athlete who holds world records in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races.

Adding Holmes to the lineup signals yet another way that Nike is focusing more on women recently. It's also recently introduced the Sister Series, its first-ever women's-only training shoes. Those are based on DiamondFLX, the company's latest outsole technology, as well as Flywire construction, also used in Nike's Kobe Bryant Hyperdunk, and Nike+, its iPod-compatible tracking system.

The shoes are an important departure, a spokesperson says, because they are part of the process of educating women athletes--who still often use running shoes in gym workouts--about the benefits of a faster, more performance-oriented shoe. "Running shoes are a lot heavier, and are designed to support two to three times your body weight, and made for going forward," she says. "These shoes are much lighter, and allow quick side-to-side movement, so women can get the full benefit of their workouts."

Marketing plans for the Sister line include online advertising, with viral videos that show the shoes being folded up and compressed into tiny handbags.

Next story loading loading..