The initial goal with the design of the Air Jordan 19 (Air Jordan XIX) was to produce an entirely laceless shoe. The support would be provided by â€śtech-flex,â€ť a space-age directional mesh that flexed one way and was rigid the other. A lot of this work took place in Nike
â€™s Innovation Kitchen, even before the launch of the Air Jordan 18 (XVIII). The laceless design didnâ€™t work out in the end, but the tech-flex stayed, providing a different take on the ongoing lace-cover look and providing additional, rather than primary, support. Underneath, rather than conventional laces, the shoe relied on thinner cables that strapped everything down via some decidedly functional lace locks.
Due to the distinctive reptilian appearance of the tech-flex, design inspiration was taken from the Black Mamba â€” the worldâ€™s deadliest snake â€” long before Kobe Bryant took its identity for himself. Double-stacked Air AND full-length Zoom provided otherworldly cushioning, and synthetics enabled the Jordan Brand to produce the lightest Air Jordan to date. And for the first time since the Air Jordan 10 (X), Air Jordans were produced in regional colorways â€” not for specific NBA
teams this time, but in colors that were only available in certain areas. In the NBA, All-Star guards Jason Kidd and Gary Payton represented, as did Ray Allen
and Carmelo Anthony.
The summery lowtops retained the tech-flexâ€”under the laces, this timeâ€”as well as the highâ€™s midsole/outsole, and also dug deep in the Jordan legacy for cement-print trim, adding a bit of a retro, off-court feel to the newest of the new. There was also a 19 SE that released towards the end of the run that (say it with us) did away with the lace cover entirelyâ€”those were the ones that GP seemed to favor. But by that point, everyone was too busy looking forward towards what was coming up next.