Go into any Champs Sports store in the country and you’ll see Jordan hybrids and fusions. You’ll see shoes inspired by others and you’ll see shoes derived from what came before them. This entire generation sees these shoes as formalities. They expect them. Just know it wasn’t always that way, and all of this can probably be traced back, in a way, to the original Jordan Spizike — stylized in the beginning as Spiz’ike — that released eight years ago in 2006.
The Definitive History of the Jordan Spizike starts, surprisingly, not at the Sole Collector sneaker event that offered us our first glimpse. Nope, it starts much earlier than that. You could say it starts — lets overlook the whole Michael Jordan and Spike Lee partnership for just a moment — with the fans because they were the unofficial designers of this shoe.
For years, the Jordan Brand stuck to classic colorways, the red and black and white sneakers that Michael Jordan wore on the court. A military blue or a maroon or even the lightning colorway used on the All-Star edition of the Air Jordan XVII were about as far as it went. You didn’t redirect the train. You didn’t screw up something that didn’t need changing. But by 2006, young cats still loved the sneakers even as many of them grew up in a world where MJ didn’t exactly matter. Those kids wanted something different. They wanted their style to be different. In that sense, we should’ve seen the Spizike coming long before our first glimpse. Instead, many long-time collectors disliked the original design, even as the first colorway dropped in just over 4,000 pairs in the fall of 2006 and immediately sold out. (Lee also requested that they only be available along I-95.)
Coming on the heels of the popular Dub Zero line — and the first Spizike was initially thought to be the Dub Zero 2 — the original Spizike took some of the most popular design aspects of classic Jordan shoes — the tongue of the VI, the elephant print of the III, the wing of the IV, the webbing of the V — and also featured green accenting that most of us just weren’t totally prepared for.
The first two colorways came and went without a great deal of fame behind them. It wasn’t until the following year when JB released “Cement,” “Fire Red,” and “True Blue” colorways did we fully take the dive. Since that point, Jordan has altered its approach significantly, releasing increasingly odd colorways that sport everything from lime and violent to an “Italy Blue” to even transitioning to NIKEiD in 2012. However, the 2011 release of dual “player exclusive” colorways for the New York Knicks pushed the sneaker to the forefront for many collectors, especially after seeing Spike wear the orange and blue pairs on the sideline at Knicks games.
Tomorrow at Champs Sports, the Spizike will return once again in a classic grey/red/black colorway that’ll surely have the sneakerheads going crazy. Don’t miss out on history and cop yourself a pair because, in the end, being a shoe collector is all about recognizing the history behind every sneaker you wear. In this instance with the Spizike, it shouldn’t be very hard, considering you’ll be wearing a history lesson on your feet.
Beside the design aspects that point directly back to many of JB’s greatest sneakers, this shoe is most well-known for being a tribute to Spike Lee. Originally, Lee featured a character in his 1986 movie She’s Gotta Have It named Mars Blackmon, a young cat who was obsessed with his pair of Air Jordans. Then beginning with the Air Jordan III, Spike/Mars found his way into commercials for the sneaker, developing a legacy that continued throughout the Jordan line, from the special edition Mars Air Jordan IV that released in 2006 to the ad campaign for the Jordan XX that featured Spike/Mars reminiscing on all of the good times.
The Spizike is the culmination of that 20-plus year partnership — Lee also went on to heavily feature the Air Jordan XIII in his movie, He Got Game — and ties the beginning of Spike’s partnership with Michael Jordan with the Air Jordan III to the present day collector. What was once way ahead of its time in 2006 is now hitting at just the perfect time.
BUY NOW: Jordan Spizike
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