In 1989, Michael Jordan was in his 5th year with the Chicago Bulls, and would have one of his best seasons, averaging 32.5 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. He did this in 81 games, just one short of a full season. All, of course, achieved in one of Tinker Hatfield’s masterpieces; the Nike Air Jordan 4. It’s gotta be the shoes.
13 years later, Nike would branch out into skateboarding with the creation of the subdivision Nike SB. And now they’ve joined forces to create a new masterpiece, the Nike SB x Air Jordan 4 'Pine Green'.
Nike SB x Air Jordan 4 'Pine Green'
The Nike SB x AJ4 'Pine Green'
The first colorway to drop is the 'Pine Green', and boy it’s a thing of beauty. The colorway and silhouette alone are something to behold. The old-heads are welcoming back the classic ‘89 shape with open arms; something sneakerheads across the globe have been vying for, for a long time. And although to some, they may look like just another super clean colour for the Jordan 4, take a closer look, and you get way more than you bargained for.
With neutral grey, white and sail dominating the upper, the pine green hits hard on the heel tab, mudguard and support wings. The use of red across this pair is underrated - the insole, the Jumpman on the tongue, the Nike logo on the outsole, and then, the subtle placement of red inside the air unit. All executed to perfection.
The thing with this pair is, the big changes are to be felt, not seen. The support wings and heel tab are a softer material than a standard Jordan 4, and the suede mudguard around the toe box is a little tougher than normal, you know, for ollies and kick-flips and the like.
They’ve also done without the zoom air units to give better board-feel, leaving only the air unit in the heel for classic Nike cushioning. Throw some gum sole patches onto the midsole to help with grip, and they’ve really hit the mark with this one.
OG SB fans will be wondering what box they’ll arrive in, as Nike SB have a famous boxing system to help distinguish the era of SBs; orange, silver, pink, gold, blue, Tiffany… and in this case, it’s a classy box for a classy pair. A glossy off-white, with a silver Jumpman Flight logo on top, and a subtle Jumpman and Nike SB on the side. The box is as clean as the sneakers inside.
Nike SB x Jordan: The History
They’re not the first Jordan x Nike SB to release, and I’m sure they won’t be the last. It’s just a surprise that it’s taken this long for them to marry up the Jordan 4 and Nike SB, considering original Nike SB appointee Sandy Bodecker was one of the developers on the Jordan 4 back in 1989.
Bodecker kicked things off for Nike on the SB front, appointed by Mark Parker at Nike to help make a mark in the booming skateboarding market. They were helped along by the fact that the Jordan 1 was a sneaker a lot of skaters fell in love with. A sturdy sole with a tough upper, it’s all they needed to give them the confidence to enter the skate scene.
Although Nike SB would start with the Dunk, in more recent years they’ve delved back into the Jordan 1 era releasing a number of collaborations. 2014 saw the skating photojournalist Craig Stecyk design a futuristic Air Jordan 1. With its black and green metallic panelling, and funky ‘AJ One SB’ writing on the outside, and inside, of the heel, it certainly stood out from the rest.
Then the groundbreaking Jordan 1 Lance Mountains came along, with their innovative wear-away uppers. Although starting off black, or white, the paint would wear away to reveal a mismatched pair of Black/Red and Black/Royal shoes. This was a shout-out to the days when Lance and other skaters wore painted and mismatched Jordan 1s on the ramps.
The Jordan 1 High OG Defiant ‘NYC to Paris’ then released in 2019. And although the colorway was Light bone/black/crimson tint/hyper pink - you wouldn’t have thought it on first appearance. It was simply a grey, black and white sneaker… That is, until you wore it. The black swoosh would begin to reveal the hyper pink and a crimson tint would start to show through on the grey upper. It was a beautiful thing.
Nike SB X Air Jordan 1 OG 'Light Bone'
Not only did the NYC to Paris joints drop, Nike SB and Jordan would also supply us with a LA to Chicago pair to boot. The pair arrived in purple, white and yellow Lakers colours, only to eventually wear away and give your shoes a second life as a pair of Chicagos… but this time with black soles instead of red.
Nike SB X Air Jordan 1 OG 'La to Chicago'
Nike SB x Supreme: Another great collaboration in the works
More recently though, Supreme are at it again as they’ve announced another Nike SB Dunk collaboration. Such longevity. The fact these brands can collaborate in 2002 and then 21 years later still hold such a strong connection in the streetwear space, it’s really something. The latest iteration is a Dunk low and high with artist Rammellzee’s artwork scattered across the canvas uppers. And a strong touch to finish the sneakers off is the gold Supreme branded dubraes above the toebox. Good work Supreme.
Each Nike SB project is seemingly going from strength to strength; the future looks bright for collaborations. And after seeing the Air Jordan 1 White/Cement drop recently, which bears a great resemblance to the original 2002 Supreme Dunk Low Pro SB, it’s a stark reminder of all the incredible Dunks of the past, and how they may be reimagined in the future. Long live SB.