A Closer Look: The Jordan 33

A Closer Look: The Jordan 33

Everyone loves a pair of Retro Jordans. And while much of the brand's identity is tied to its retro product, the newer product and messaging is what the brand is working tirelessly on to ensure it stays relevant to future generations who view Michael Jordan as more of a historical figure than an immediate idol. The Jumpman brand has also been working hard at increasing the brand's reach. This can be seen with the Jumpman logo featuring on Paris Saint-Germain football kits, the jerseys of the Michigan Wolverines, as well as footwear for hip-hop superstar Travis Scott.


While most expected the Jordan 33 to feature Flyknit and Elephant print, referencing its predecessor the Jordan 32, the final product featured neither. Instead, you can see designer Tate Kuerbis’ Jordan 3 influence on the shoe. But it isn’t an influence that dominates the design of the Jordan 33. 


Many complained that the Jordan 31 looked too much like the Jordan 1, the Jordan 32 too much like the Jordan 2. It seems Jordan have heard these complaints and created a sneaker that references the past, while also creating something completely new for the customer. This is thanks to the subtle applications of Air Jordan 3 detailing throughout the sneaker.


The oversized tongue with the Jumpman logo, the mudguards on the heel and the forefoot, and the toe-box structuring are all impressive nods to the 1988 model, and last but not least, the circular window beneath the sole that reveals the FastFit mechanism – a nod to visible Air. 


Jordan’s new innovative FastFit mechanism means that the Jordan 33 is the first completely lace-less basketball sneaker. Once your foot is in, the shoe locks down by pulling up on the black cord that sits across the midfoot. That activates the FastFit system, which locks down to your foot for a true one-to-one fit. All this FastFit action can be seen through the circular window under your foot. 


The overhanging “space flight” theme of the Air Jordan 33 is also apparent in the design of the shoe. It looks like footwear meant for walking on the moon, but without the oversized bulk. The exposed stitching, untucked seams, visible moving parts, and even the gold foil detailing all speak to that space travel aesthetic, while touching on the current “deconstructed” trend.

More of this instructional design is revealed via the red outlines that denote the Zoom Air bags on the forefoot and heel. A nice easter egg is on the tongue and heel pull-tabs; the lines are textured for grip, but if you fold them at their peaks, the number “33” is revealed.