One-Of-A-Kind Air Jordan 3 RTNA Concept Brings Butterfly Tech to the Sneaker World
An incredibly rare, and truly unique, Air Jordan 3 concept is bringing butterfly technology to the sneaker world. Currently on display at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, just outside London, the ‘Air Jordan 3 RTNA’ (or ‘retna’/retina) is a ground-breaking concept, and the result of a years-long partnership between research company Lifescaped, Jordan Brand, and Tinker Hatfield.
The AJ3’s name refers to the RTNA coating, which has been used in different ‘zones’ across the whole sneaker. A step towards ‘the future of colour’, the coating uses Lifescaped’s Pure Structural Colour technique, inspired by the process found in nature on everything from grasses to butterflies. An incredibly thin, transparent silicon dioxide coating, RTNA is made up of microscopic structures, which are described as ‘tiny prisms or holograms’. These can be designed and sculpted to selectively reflect only certain wavelengths of light, resulting in specific colours to the eye of the viewer – without the use of any pigments or dyes.
‘It’s the minute structures at a microscopic level which interact with light rays to produce an incredibly bright colour,’ says Andrew Parker, zoologist and owner of Lifescaped, who has been researching the phenomenon since 1990. The sneaker’s coating is less than 1/100,000th of a hair thick, and can be applied uniformly over any material.
As part of Lifescaped’s ongoing sustainability push, developers are investigating ways that RTNA could be applied to ‘refresh and recolour’ reclaimed stranded materials in sneakers. In other words, the underlying colour of the material can be used as a component to create new hues. Adding to the eco-friendly focus, the midsole also appears to be made from ,Nike’s Grind material.
Don’t expect a release for these anytime soon… the Air Jordan 3 RTNA is part of the Naturally Brilliant Colour exhibition, which is open now until September 26 at the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Via Wired UK.