If you follow the NBA, you’ll probably be counting down the days until the season begins on October 17. While you’re at it, add another item to your iCal: Jordan Brand will be debuting the Air Jordan XXXII 'Bred' the following day. It’s like a big kid/basketballer’s version of an advent calendar. And, adding to the excitement, Jordan has just announced the release of an OKC-themed 'Why Not' colourway of the latest Jordan model. 'Why Not?' is, of course, the personal motto of Oklahoma City's star player, Russell Westbrook. Westbrook has also founded a charitable foundation under the same name.
We’ll no doubt see the XXXII worn by a host of Nike-sponsored players in a range of team colourways, but we’re expecting that Westbrook will pull off the shoe the best. Of course, the league’s reigning MVP has already tested out the shoe and deemed it a ‘great combination of performance and style.’ When it comes to style, the Brodie’s an expert: we’ve seen him enter Chesapeake Energy Arena in countless outlandish outfits and he’s just published a fashion guidebook – Style Drivers – through Rizzoli.
The XXXII’s designer, Tate Kuerbis, notes that Westbrook’s opinion of the shoe’s aesthetic was crucial to the design process. Thanks to Russ’s input, we’re presented with a sneaker that merges high fashion with the latest in Nike performance technology; this is a model that’s intended to be worn with either shorts or suit pants. There’s even herringbone grip on the sole so, if you’re as daring as Westbrook, you can match the 32 to your suit.
Kuerbis describes the XXXII like a motoring enthusiast would a car; it’s all style on the outside and ‘many of the performance elements [lie] under the hood, so to speak.’ The shoe takes its inspiration from the Jordan 2’s luxury Italian construction but, this time, the leather’s been swapped out for a digitally crafted Flyknit upper. This is no ordinary Nike Flyknit: it’s been knitted from high-tenacity yarn and developed to disguise a sophisticated webbed harness system that lies beneath the lace area. Kuebris’ newly designed Flyknit snuggly locks in your foot while simultaneously enabling flexibility in the forefoot area.
Eagle-eyed sneaker freakers may also spy a few other similarities between the Jordan 2 and the new 32. Most notably, the XXXII has borrowed the OG’s moccasin-like toe box and touches of premium leather on the heel serve as a nod to the 1987 classic. While we can certainly see a lot of Westbrook’s influence in this model, Kuebris hasn’t forgotten His Airness: six ribs have been incorporated into both the heel and collar to commemorate MJ’s legendary six rings.
The 'Why Not' colourway is, however, all about Westbrook. Decked out in OKC's blue, orange and white hues, the shoe sports Westbrook's signature 'Why Not?' mantra on the innersole, inside the tongue, and on the sole.
Nike may be stirring up a little too much excitement among basketball fans by releasing models of the Jordan XXXII so soon after the NBA season’s commencement, but it seems like they’ve adopted Westbrook’s motto here: ‘why not?’ Expect a range of colourways to of the Jordan XXXII to drop over the next month.