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
NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone
Views: 28,293,194
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,204,573
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 9,350,811

Featured Videos

A Day in the Life of NBA D-League Star Seth Curry Views: 68,738
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 8,003
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 131,367
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

Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,758
What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Views: 795,255
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,651
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,761
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,561,460

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Jordan Brand Unveils All-Star 'Pearl Pack' Collection

Under Armour Introduces the Curry One

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

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

Nike Officially Unveils the LeBron XII

SNEAKER ALERT: Reebok Announces Stash x Question Mid

SNEAKER ALERT: adidas Pure Boost

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

Nike Basketball Releases 2014 Christmas Collection

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

adidas Unveils 'Bad Dreams Collection' Kicks for Christmas Day

Get Your First Look at the Nike KD VII

Air Jordan Debuts NBA Opening Night Kicks

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

Jordan Brand Debuts the CP3.VIII

Nike iD Releases 'MVP' Print for the KD VI

Under Armour Releases Veterans Day Kicks

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

adidas Set to Drop the D Lillard 1

The 2014 NBA Sneaker Free Agency Forecast

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

adidas Debuts First Commercial for the D Rose 5 BOOST

Check Out the Upcoming Nike 'Shooting Stars' Pack

adidas Releases RG3 Energy Boost Training Shoe

Kyrie Irving's Nike HyperRev PE Collection Set to Release

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

4 New Jordan Future Colorways Coming This Summer

Is This the LeBron XII?

Nike Basketball Drops 2015 NYC All-Star Collection

SNEAKER ALERT: adidas Releases Originals Mutombo 2

Is Kyrie Irving Finally Getting a Signature Shoe?

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

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

Nike Basketball Officially Unveils the Nike Kyrie 1

SNEAKER ALERT: Nike Annouces LeBron 11 Everglades

Nike Delays Release of the LeBron XII

Nike Basketball Officially Unveils the KD7

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

Check Out the Nike KD7 'On the Road'