The 36 feels like the third act of this trilogy, upping the performance a bit more while simultaneously delivering the best-looking Air Jordan in years. The lightweight feel starts with the same Eclipse Plate introduced by the 34, but the secret weapon is in the construction of the shoe’s upper. It utilizes a jacquard-leno weave, the first of its kind on a performance basketball shoe, which is designed to breathe without sacrificing support. It’s also practically see-through, providing plenty of opportunities for the design team to play with color in a whole new way as the NBA season gets underway.
Underneath the sole the 36 features more Zoom Air than any Air Jordan to date, with a full-length Zoom Air strobel stitched to the upper and an extra Zoom Air unit directly underneath the forefoot. That double stack of Zoom provides the bounce you’d expect from a shoe that once promised young hoopers it was the key to finally being able to dunk. Whether the silhouette finally fulfills that promise remains to be seen.
Where the 35 drew from the Air Jordan 5, the latest installment in the hallowed Jordan line looks to the 6, most notably in the form of a lace cover that will look familiar to anyone who’s ever laced up a pair of Jordan’s first championship kicks. Speaking of championships: the heel of the shoe features an emblem displaying six rings chained together, an homage to Jordan’s monumental championship dynasty.
In addition to the first slate of colorways, which begin with the “Glory” in classic white and gold, the brand is releasing limited quantities of the PEs fans have seen Jordan athletes lacing up over the last few weeks. The lineup, dubbed the “Global Game,” hones in on the internationality of the Jordan roster, with drops being localized to the home regions of the players involved—for example, Guo Ailun’s colorway will be exclusive to China, while Jayson Tatum’s is getting a North America release. The release’s proximity to the Olympics doesn’t feel like a coincidence. Jordan Brand is using the Air Jordan 36 to celebrate how far it’s come. What one generational icon started in Chicago, Illinois has now reached across the globe, a torch now held by athletes hailing from Canada, Slovenia, and the Philippines alike.
The Air Jordan 36 makes its debut on August 16th with the “Glory” colorway, with Player Editions hitting shelves throughout August and September.