Virgil Abloh could have retired years ago. After teaming up with Nike to create what is widely considered the greatest sneaker collaboration ever in “The 10,” it seemed like all that there was left for him to do was ride off into the sunset, and take his rightful place in the Sneaker Culture Hall of Fame™. But since one doesn’t exist (yet), the mastermind behind Off-White has instead kept up a torrid pace of deconstructing Nikes and Jordans, applying the same cut-copy-and-paste ethos of that initial collection to seemingly every iconic design in Nike’s vault.
The latest subject to undergo Virgil’s proverbial scalpel is the Air Jordan 5.
Inspired by the “Fire Red/Silver Tongue” colorway that celebrated its 30-year anniversary this year, the new Off-White x Air Jordan 5 “Sail” is one of the most intentionally retro designs of any shoe on the market, let alone the Jordan 5. The colorway on the box says “Sail,” but a more accurate description of the look would be to say that it appears as if someone had stuffed it inside of an air-tight container and left it to marinate in the sun for an entire summer. Only the sole never crumbled.
There’s a gone-through-the-ringer vibe about the whole thing that feels familiar. The Off-White x Jordan 5 “Sail” is sort of like that old pair of Jordans you had fun wearing into the ground during your younger days. They were kinda cooked if you only judged the shoe on its yellowed sole, but still totally wearable, so you shoved them in a closet in your childhood bedroom when you moved out. Now they’re considered peak “vintage Jordans” by today’s standards, so you add them to your rotation again. And guess what? They’re still as great as you remember them being in 2006. Or whenever.
Like the Off-White x Air Jordan 5 that debuted over All-Star Weekend, the “Sail” also features die-cut circular designs placed randomly on the upper in reference to the Jordan 2010. Other details include exposed foam padding on the tongue and the ever-present Off-White signature zip-tie that hangs off the laces. The “23” embroidery on the heel salutes Michael Jordan’s old Player Exclusive model from 1990. The “Nike Air” on the back of the shoe finishes off one of the most visually-pleasing Off-White x Jordan Brand collaborations yet.