Jordan Brand Debuts the Air Jordan XX9

April 17, 2014

Air Jordan XX9

Photo: Jordan Brand

A few years ago, the Air Jordan design team flew to Italy, looking for inspiration. They came back with the lightest Air Jordan ever.

On-stage in an undisclosed location in New York City with ESPN’s Michael Smith and Michael Jordan himself, designer Tinker Hatfield debuted the Air Jordan XX9, which will drop in September in two distinct styles, something the brand has never done before. The first design features elephant print woven into the upper, and the second showcases an all-gray upper with a jumbo Jumpman logo on the heel. What binds the two designs together, and what makes the XX9 unlike any basketball shoe on the market, is its one-piece, woven upper, created by high tech weaving machines in Italy.

Air Jordan XX9

Tinker Hatfield, Michael Jordan and Michael Smith debut the Air Jordan XX9

“The first sketch coming from Tinker said ‘I want a one-piece, woven upper. I want better tooling, better comfort, higher performance and more lightweight than the Air Jordan XX8,” said Tiffany Beers, an "Innovator" member of what Nike calls its "Innovation Kitchen," where most of its shoe designs originate. “I didn’t know what weaving was at first, but we started there, working with Italy. Normally we would add layers of material on to add more reinforcement, but we don’t need to do it now. With one piece coming off a machine, we can tell it to be stronger here, more breathable here, softer here. It was like a one-stop shop.”

The design team experimented with different detailing on the fabric, as you can see in the photos below. Then, people Hatfield called “programmers”  created the finalized uppers. Programmers need at least eight years of training before they are allowed to use the weaving machines in Italy. The material is then shipped to Asia where it is affixed to the shoe.

Air Jordan XX9

XX9 design possibilities on fabric

“The shell is very thin and very much shaped like a human foot. It’s way trimmer, much more sleek and lightweight and less traditional than any shoe that I’ve ever worked on,” Hatfield said.

Like its predecessor, the XX9 sits atop the popular Flight Plate technology, except this time, the sole and forefoot are connected. This gives the athlete a smoother transition from the back to the front of his foot as he moves around the court.

Hatfield took what he called a “woven shell,” a very early prototype of the XX9, and marked, with different colors felt pens, “a topographical map” of how he wanted the shoe to perform. The darker the color, the stiffer the fibers in that area of that shoe needed to be. Other colors marked where Hatfield wanted the shoe to be more visible.

Air Jordan XX9

Tinker Hatfield's XX9 prototype

“I developed a language using colors. I had never done that before,” Hatfield said.

Once the model was complete, it was sent to the programmers in Italy, who implemented Hatfield’s requests on the weaving machines. Thus, the Air Jordan XX9 was born. The kicks also feature a new technology entitled Flight Web, which enhances the natural motion of the foot and makes the shoe feel like an extremely comfortable sock liner.

“No one has ever made a performance basketball shoe using this construction process,” Hatfield said.

Watch for Jordan athlete Russell Westbrook to debut the Jordan XX9 on the court during the NBA Playoffs, and expect the shoe to retail at $225 in September.

Topics: NIKE | NEWS
Jordan Zirm
- Jordan Zirm is an Associate Content Director for STACK. After earning his BS in Journalism from the University of Missouri, he spent time writing for...
Jordan Zirm
- Jordan Zirm is an Associate Content Director for STACK. After earning his BS in Journalism from the University of Missouri, he spent time writing for...
Must See
RGIII Talks About His Legacy RGIII Talks About His Legacy
Views: 30,218,126
Why You Should Never Doubt Colin Kaepernick Why You Should Never Doubt Colin Kaepernick
Views: 24,704,762
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 11,371,676

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 1,016,699
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,631
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 70,354
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,676
Paul Rabil's Box Jumps Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 851,362
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,576,773
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,333,004
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,053

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Nike Delays Release of the LeBron XII

Nike Delays Release of the LeBron XII

Kevin Durant Re-signs With Nike. What Does It Mean?

Kevin Durant Re-signs With Nike. What Does It Mean?

The 2014 NBA Sneaker Free Agency Forecast

The 2014 NBA Sneaker Free Agency Forecast

Under Armour Introduces the Curry One

Under Armour Introduces the Curry One

Kyrie Irving's Nike HyperRev PE Collection Set to Release

Kyrie Irving's Nike HyperRev PE Collection Set to Release

Nike Basketball Releases 2014 Christmas Collection

Nike Basketball Releases 2014 Christmas Collection

adidas Debuts First Commercial for the D Rose 5 BOOST

adidas Debuts First Commercial for the D Rose 5 BOOST

Get a Closer Look at the 'Jordan Brand Classic' Jordan Future

Get a Closer Look at the 'Jordan Brand Classic' Jordan Future

Check Out Roger Federer's Air Jordan-Inspired U.S. Open Kicks

Check Out Roger Federer's Air Jordan-Inspired U.S. Open Kicks

4 Reasons Why the Nike LeBron 12 Is Superior to the LeBron 11

4 Reasons Why the Nike LeBron 12 Is Superior to the LeBron 11

What Will Be the Most Popular Shoe of the 2014-2015 NBA Season?

What Will Be the Most Popular Shoe of the 2014-2015 NBA Season?

Get Your First Look at the Nike KD VII

Get Your First Look at the Nike KD VII

Check Out the Nike KD7 'On the Road'

Check Out the Nike KD7 'On the Road'

How Nike Used the LeBron XI to Build the Innovative LeBron XII

How Nike Used the LeBron XI to Build the Innovative LeBron XII

Nike iD Releases 'MVP' Print for the KD VI

Nike iD Releases 'MVP' Print for the KD VI

Jordan Brand Debuts the CP3.VIII

Jordan Brand Debuts the CP3.VIII

SNEAKER ALERT: Reebok Announces Stash x Question Mid

SNEAKER ALERT: Reebok Announces Stash x Question Mid

Nike Basketball Officially Unveils the KD7

Nike Basketball Officially Unveils the KD7

adidas Set to Drop the D Lillard 1

adidas Set to Drop the D Lillard 1

The Great Debate: Which Nike LeBron Sneaker Is the Best?

The Great Debate: Which Nike LeBron Sneaker Is the Best?

Nike Unveils the Kobe X, Kobe Bryant's 10th Signature Shoe

Nike Unveils the Kobe X, Kobe Bryant's 10th Signature Shoe

Air Jordan Debuts NBA Opening Night Kicks

Air Jordan Debuts NBA Opening Night Kicks

Is This the LeBron XII?

Is This the LeBron XII?

Nike Basketball Drops 2015 NYC All-Star Collection

Nike Basketball Drops 2015 NYC All-Star Collection

4 New Jordan Future Colorways Coming This Summer

4 New Jordan Future Colorways Coming This Summer

SNEAKER ALERT: adidas Releases Originals Mutombo 2

SNEAKER ALERT: adidas Releases Originals Mutombo 2

SNEAKER ALERT: adidas Pure Boost

SNEAKER ALERT: adidas Pure Boost

Jordan Brand Officially Unveils World Cup-Inspired 'Brazil Pack'

Jordan Brand Officially Unveils World Cup-Inspired 'Brazil Pack'

Under Armour Releases Veterans Day Kicks

Under Armour Releases Veterans Day Kicks

Nike Officially Unveils the LeBron XII

Nike Officially Unveils the LeBron XII

Jordan Brand Unveils All-Star 'Pearl Pack' Collection

Jordan Brand Unveils All-Star 'Pearl Pack' Collection

Nike Basketball Officially Unveils the Nike Kyrie 1

Nike Basketball Officially Unveils the Nike Kyrie 1

Signature Sneaker Showdown: adidas J Wall 1 vs. Nike KYRIE 1

Signature Sneaker Showdown: adidas J Wall 1 vs. Nike KYRIE 1

SNEAKER ALERT: Nike Annouces LeBron 11 Everglades

SNEAKER ALERT: Nike Annouces LeBron 11 Everglades

First Look at Nike's 2015 'Black History Month' Collection

First Look at Nike's 2015 'Black History Month' Collection

Is Kyrie Irving Finally Getting a Signature Shoe?

Is Kyrie Irving Finally Getting a Signature Shoe?

adidas Releases RG3 Energy Boost Training Shoe

adidas Releases RG3 Energy Boost Training Shoe

Check Out the Upcoming Nike 'Shooting Stars' Pack

Check Out the Upcoming Nike 'Shooting Stars' Pack

adidas Unveils 'Bad Dreams Collection' Kicks for Christmas Day

adidas Unveils 'Bad Dreams Collection' Kicks for Christmas Day

YardBarker