Whether it was that ’88 dare from the free-throw line, the soaring switched-hands layup of ’91, or any number of the cradle-rocking dunks he perfected in Carolina, Michael Jordan holds some of the most memorable jumping sequences in basketball history. Those moments are a scientific sandbox for Nike’s Sport Research Lab (NSRL), who can dissect less than 10 seconds of an action and translate it into years’ worth of intense laboratory study and testing in order to design footwear that serves the most talented movers in the sport. Bringing together the modern insights of sports research and a modern treatment of reductive layering, the Air Jordan XXXVII is a top-to-bottom performance system for flight.
While the Air Jordan XXXVII is built for multidirectional play, the shoe’s components are rooted in the NSRL’s study of the three stages of jumping: crash, load and launch. For the crash phase (think the instant deceleration on the jump, or even the landing on a rebound), the shoe’s heel features a TPU mold encasing responsive Formula 23 foam, which acts as a crash-landing pad for all of that energy striking down into the floor. The newest flagship foam from Jordan Brand, Formula 23 is designed to be lightweight and responsive, and it’s one of the most sustainable performance foams made by a NIKE, Inc. brand. Next, the load phase is the conduit transferring the motion from the heel through the midfoot. That’s why a carbon fiber midfoot shank returns to the Jordan signature line for the first time since the Air Jordan XXXII. Finally, the launch phase — the moment for liftoff — is set up by the Zoom Air strobel unit with the additional forefoot unit for a double-stacked pop off the pad off the foot.
The upper is a new exploration of Lenoweave that uses a yarn called Arkema, a monofilament variety that is both strong and pliable. The design of the Lenoweave pattern itself, along with the profile of the tooling, is inspired by the AJ VII and the hand-shaped craftsmanship of West African basket weaving. The zones of support in the upper are modeled after the configuration of sandal straps and ankle tape. This pattern not only provides containment in the areas of highest need, similar to a layered Huarache exoskeleton, it also adds to the handmade character of the shoe’s design.
The Beyond Borders colourway of the Air Jordan XXXVII releases in September. The Hare colourway releases later in autumn 2022.