Nike has just launched the newest Air Jordan in 2011, the 26th version in Air Jordan shoes series, though we don’t know for sure if the number is correct. Besides its classic 3 colorways, this new version has a special limited edition: the Year of the Rabbit Air Jordan — 2011 is Rabbit Year in Chinese Lunar Year. It might seem strange for a basketball shoe named like this, but obviously the decision is to coincide with a momentous year for Michael Jordan himself — Mr. Jordan was born in the year of the rabbit, 1963. As he turns to be 48 years old today, he enters the year of birth for the 4th time with his shoe slathered in Chinese symbolism. The Rabbit Year Air Jordan shoebox is designed to match the red envelopes, which is used to give lucky money at Chinese Lunar New Year, in red and gold with iconic geometric designs and Chinese characters, revolving around the Jumpman silhouette logo.
The shoe itself bears a white/metallic gold/varsity red/wolf grey colorway, at least two of them are popular colors in China, and it also matches well with Chinese national team uniform, Chicago Bulls uniform. The special edition Jordan shoe also features an insole reads “Brooklyn”, which is the New York borough where Mr. Jordan was born and also home to many Chinese people.
Another explanation for the color scheme is: According to Chinese popular superstition, the year of one’s birth sign is full of potential misfortune, and one way to avoid the bad luck is to wear red color.
When Chinese people typically fulfill this requirement by stocking up on crimson underwear, it might be that Mr. Jordan wanted a way to lay down some protection when he is playing some pick-up games.
This special edition shoes were released to only a small number of stores in China at the beginning of February, and will land in a few more in China and a small number of stores in the U.S. on Feb. 19.
Nike stores in Beijing and Shanghai last week has reported selling out of them instantly, and in Hong Kong, the shoes were only available via a lucky draw. Such limited edition Air Jordan shoes are not made for the common consumer, they are released in short supply, and quickly are snapped up by collectors, they are auctioned in eBay for upward of $400.
This special edition isn’t as ugly as last year’s model, yet it’s far from19932s Air Jordan IX, which was known to many people as the design that got cool years after its initial release.
With its gold laces, red tongues and translucent soles, it might be a while before the Year of the Rabbit Air Jordan shoes are looked on so fondly.