What happens when you take little bits of several great things and press them all into one? That’s what Jordan Brand has done since 2005, creating “mash ups” like the Son of Mars, which drops a new colorway on Saturday, July 27th. Sneakerhead purists have been critical of these hybrids over the years, but opening your mind a little to the concept and origins of these creations will allow the brands to tell interesting stories through the products.
It all started with the Dub Zero in 2005, which, in its original release colorway of White/Black/Photo Blue, was very successful at retail. The shoe commemorated 20 years of the Air Jordan signature from 1985 to 2005 with features from the AJ4, AJ6, AJ11, AJ12, AJ13, AJ15 and AJ20. My favorite non-signature Jordan shoe.
Jordan Brand came back to market with the coolest concept of all the hybrids. They created a shoe that had a piece of each Air Jordan signature that the GOAT won a championship in – AJ6, AJ7, AJ8, AJ11, AJ12, AJ13 and AJ14.
In 2006, the Spiz’ike was born; a mash up of all the Air Jordans that Spike Lee promoted years earlier through his invented commercial character, Mars Blackmon. The shoe is made up of features from the AJ3, AJ4, AJ5, AJ6, AJ9 and AJ20. Its initial popularity convinced the brand to work with Spike exclusively on these hybrid projects. These shoes have been a canvas for Spike, as he used colorways based on some of his more famous movies such as, “Do the Right Thing”.
The Son of Mars is the latest of these mash ups, and it draws from the same Jordan signatures that inspired the Spiz’ike, with a mid and low model. This shoe reflects the evolution of the Jordan hybrids and Spike’s latest shoe as a member of the Jordan Brand family.
The irony in the Jordan mash up business is that Spike Lee, a huge Knicks fan, made mash ups of shoes that Jordan wore and produced the commercials with Jordan, and Jordan was the biggest Knicks-killer of all time. Was it blatant hypocrisy or just smart business?