Warm and fuzzy nostalgia, limited production numbers, and a general reverence for Michael Jordan are some of the contributing factors to the overwhelming popularity of the Air Jordan collection and its original colorways. All three aspects have bubbled over on the equally desirable “Alternate” Air Jordan designs that remix the color blocking of those same “OG” looks.
Recently, Jordan Brand has taken to rearranging the color scheme of classics like the Air Jordan 3 “Black Cement” to produce the fiery “Red Cement.” The new Air Jordan 5 “Alternate Grape” is based on the desirable “Grape” colorway rocked by Will Smith on the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
Using these original colorways as a base, “Alternate” Air Jordans are creating considerable buzz in sneaker culture. Just as it was all those decades ago.
The NBA’s strict team uniform policy used to restrict players from wearing shoes that didn’t match their uniforms, which is why we never saw Jordan in the Air Jordan 5 “Grape.” Not today, though. MJ would have done work in the “Alternate Grape” design. If he was still suiting up for the Chicago Bulls, of course. Or, better yet, the team he currently owns, the Charlotte Hornets.
Based on the “Black Cement” colorway used to launch the Air Jordan 3 in 1988, the “Red Cement” design rearranges the Bulls’ red, black, and white color scheme while retaining the model’s timeless elephant print mudguard. How would the course of sneaker history been changed had Nike or designer Tinker Hatfield opted for red leather base instead of black leather on the upper? We have a feeling everything would have worked out all the same.
This is a prime example of a “remixed” original Air Jordan colorway. To the untrained eye, the Air Jordan 1 High “Bred Toe” appears as “OG” as it gets, but it's in fact an extremely well-executed combination of the “Black Toe” and “Bred” looks.
Unlike sports, there aren’t too many “what-ifs” in sneaker culture, only those dream-like scenarios that leave us wondering what it would be like to see “Money” wear remixes of original Jordan colorways on-court, like the Jordan 13 “Reverse He Got Game.” One almost has to wonder whether Jordan Brand has been sitting on this design for all these years and finally decided that enough time had passed to release it.
Wait, so you mean to tell us that the Air Jordan 8 “Alternate” didn’t actually exist before 2017? Appearing very similar to the silhouette’s original “Bugs Bunny” colorway from the ‘90s, this “Alternate” displays a few subtle tweaks.
Much like the Jordan 3 “Red Cement,” and new Air Jordan 14 “Gym Red,” the Jordan 4 “Toro Bravo” is a logical choice to pair with the Bulls’ road red team uniforms. There’s a good chance that MJ would have chosen to rock these for “The Shot” if this colorway existed in 1989.