We recently caught up with Jordan Brand designer Tate Kuerbis in Oregon to discuss the AJ34’s design process. Of course, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get our hands (and feet) on the latest performance baller and, trust us, it’s a game-changer.
Billed by the Jumpman as 'an exercise in reductive design', the AJ34 strips the Air Jordan flagship down to the essentials. Kuerbis says the design was based heavily on feedback from athletes rocking the AJ33 and their desire for better traction and less weight. As a result, the AJ34 is one of the lightest Jordans ever, weighing in at just 13.1 ounces for a US size 9. As for the traction, the sole wears a herringbone make-up with modifications for a better first step and quick cuts.
An 18-month design process consisted of multiple rounds of interactions for testing. Ultimately, while the see-through tooling looks incredible, Kuerbis wanted the performance to be at the forefront, where players would have ‘no excuses’ regarding the weight, traction and lock-down. Straying away from the fast-fit design of the AJ33, the brand conceptualised the 34 from scratch, eventually landing on the fan-favourite Zoom Air as the sneaker’s paramount tech. Enclosed in a brand new Eclipse Plate, Zoom is combined with two Pebax pieces with a hollow core for explosive-yet-stable cushioning.
Taking cues from Michael Jordan’s love of performance automobiles, the AJ34 looks sleek as hell on foot – a key element stressed during the development. Adding to the aesthetic are a host of intricate details, including the number 23 in Morse code on the vamp, 'J4-34, 2.89-2019' on the outsole to represent the 30th anniversary of the AJ4, and different heel counter branding on every colourway.
The Air Jordan 34 hits shelves in 'Blue Void' on September 25 for $180.