This week’s edition of Fire or Hype? takes a look at the new KAWS x Jordan collaboration, which sees the New York artist come through with an all-grey colourway for the Air Jordan 4. Are these a worthy investment or are Jordan putting out a hype generator in sneaker form?
First off, I didn’t know it was possible to make the Air Jordan 4 this boring, but the greyed out, suede-built basketball shoe does just that. Prolific artist and toy and fashion designer KAWS has at least made an interesting build. With its glow-in-the-dark outsole, not only will this make you look like a 10-year-old kid at a school disco, but it glows in a sickly shade of bright green.
My issue with the sneaker is that it’s clearly not a fashion statement, rather a chance for KAWS to show off his innovative and twisted view on sneakers and streetwear. As an object, almost a piece of art, the shoe is a marvel. The all-grey suede look is a unique one, and all-suede is a relatively untouched area for the 4. We’ve seen glow-in-the-dark YEEZYs dropping left, right and centre, but KAWS is exploring uncharted territory for the iconic silhouette. This colourway isn’t designed to be flaunted by the exotic streetwear enthusiasts of America- it’s designed to be admired by forward-thinkers and art buffs.
The shoe will retail for $350 (about £290, for my homeland sneakerheads) which is an incredibly difficult price tag to justify. For almost £300 you get what is essentially the dullest Air Jordan 4 we’ve seen, depending on how you feel about glowing green outsoles; I’d actually prefer an old-school white or black outsole. The resell will probably rocket to at least $1,000, with a sample pair listed for over $4,000 on eBay last week. For this amount of money, you’d expect something that will make you stand out in a crowd, but while the colourway isn’t bad by any means, it’s just so plain. When you consider the potential a KAWS x Jordan collaboration had, the sneaker feels like a missed opportunity. Here’s hoping the artist hops on another Jordan silhouette with better results.
Fire or Hype?: This one is an easy Hype. The shoes themselves are a nice enough pair, but this opportunity has been squandered and the ridiculous price tag reminds me of how money and sneakerhead culture have become symbiotic.