This Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro is the latest in the long run of ‘What The’ renditions of popular silhouettes. The concept was first featured on some special release Staple SB Dunks in 2007. The idea is to create an eye-catching ‘mash-up’ of features from past and imagined styles. The result is an amalgamation of colours, fabrics and patterns that sometimes appear they have been created from the leftovers on the factory floor. It is this Frankenstein effect that has brought the ‘What The’ range both praise and criticism over the years. Even the name could be taken as a statement of pleasant surprise, or of dismissive shock, depending on the tone of how it is said.
Since the Skateboard Dunks that started it all, the ‘What The’ concept has been adopted wholeheartedly by Nike’s Basketball and Sportswear divisions. Featured basketball styles include the Zoom Kobe 7 &8, the Zoom KD4, 5 & 6, and the LeBron 10 &11, plus more. In the Air Max franchise the 2013 ‘What The Max’ Pack gave us luminous, no-sew versions of the 95+, 90 Hyperfuse and AM2012.
The presentation has varied throughout all these releases, with the only common factor being they are all vibrant visual mixes with each shoe in a pair differing from it’s partner. Compared to past ‘What The’ releases, this AJ5 is quiet tame in it’s design, with a predominant base of white and hits of primary colours and recognisable patterns. The ‘What The’ effect is only really apparent when you see both shoes in the pair beside each other. I think this toned down approach, and the popularity of the silhouette indicate that this will be one of the more well received ‘What The’ styles. The likelihood of this is further increased by the rarely seem ‘Nike Air’ logo heel plates replacing the usual Jumpman.
The Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro SE White / Military Blue / Fire Red – CI1184-146 is available online and in store.