Nike is re-purposing its Air Jordan 1 Retro High as a golf shoe, about 33 years after the design debuted as the first signature sneaker from National Basketball Association all-time great Michael Jordan.
The most obvious addition to the shoe’s tradition a design is soft spikes on the Nike Free-inspired outsole. Otherwise, the golf version of the shoe features extra padding to provide additional comfort and support around the ankle, the iconic Jumpman logo on the tongue, and a fully waterproof upper.
The Air Jordan I golf shoe will be available this Friday at via Nike's website and select retailers. It comes in two colorways — white/black/varsity red and white/metallic silver — at a suggested retail price of $200.
On the surface, this move looks like an attempt by Nike to milk its Air Jordan legacy for potential crossover success. In that sense, it’s surprising this didn’t happen sooner. It’s been 14 years since Jordan’s final retirement as an NBA player, and he made no secret during his entire playing career that he was both a prolific golfer and prolific bettor on golf — although not necessarily all that good at the game.
But there's more to this than just putting Jordan's famous silhouette back to work for Nike in a different sport. Nike is pretty clearly looking for new ways to spin its golf strategy after it decided last year to stop making golf equipment, and just focus on shoes and apparel. The brand last month announced the signing of top golfer Jason Day to a shoe and apparel contract.
Can Air Jordan shoes have the success among golfers and golf fans that the brand did elsewhere? Adding golf spikes to a high-top Air Jordan seems like a design move that would appeal most to consumers that already love the shoe and happen to play golf. We're going to guess there are a lot of weekend duffers in that group, and not serious, frequent golfers, but maybe we're wrong (and possibly just thinking of our own golf game.)
In any case, the new shoes may test whether (or how much) Michael Jordan's name continues to retain marketing value, and if that value can be turned into revenue in new market segments. Maybe we should all try a pair in any case, lest we make Michael Jordan cry over lack of interest.