As Michael Jordan
got older, his interests changed. But one thing stayed constant — he always liked fast cars and fast motorcycles, to the point where he went on to sponsor his own motorsports team. The Air Jordan 18 (Air Jordan XVIII) was designed to resemble a high-end driving shoe, with the tread rising up the heel and a fully wrapped upper. Even the tread pattern itself indicated speed.
And like the Air Jordan 17s (XVII), the Air Jordan 18s details didn’t stop with the shoes. There were plenty of extras. The Air Jordan 18 came in a drawer box — a first for an Air Jordan — and included a towel and a suede brush (for the first black and blue suede colorway—later versions were in a mix of tumbled and smooth leather). Elegance maintained. The laces were covered again, and this time the lace cover was permanent. There were also “intakes” on the side of the uppers where flaps covered metallic mesh, reflecting the influence of actual car design (Lamborghini this time around) as well as the driving shoe. Lead designer Tate Kuerbis was also inspired by high-end dress shoes, which came out in the form of the stitching on the outsole.
Again, Jordan introduced a low-cut version, and again the low-cut was more than just a cut-down version of the high. It sat on the same midsole/outsole, but there was no lace cover and the Jumpman logo came in the form of a medallion. The lows were only produced in leather, not suede. There was also the 18.5, which also lost the lace cover (you may be detecting a pattern here), and added a large embossed Jumpman to the lateral sides. The 18.5 was most notably worn by then-rookie Carmelo Anthony, as this would prove to be Michael Jordan’s final (for real this time) season in the NBA