As if Michael Jordan
didn’t have enough nicknames already. The Air Jordan 22 (Air Jordan XX2 or XXII) took inspiration from the high-tech Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth fighter, which led to Jordan referring to himself as “Stealth” throughout the design process. The mid-cut shoe featured a digital camo pattern toward the rear, a prominent series of midfoot vents, and an angular design taken straight from current stealth technology. Zig-zag stitching continued the radar-evading scheme, and the Jumpman on the heel counter was only visible at certain angles. Underneath, a polished titanium plate took the place of the usual carbon fiber, and titanium was also used on the lace loops and the lace lock. Designer D’Wayne Edwards wanted the XX2 to be lighter than its predecessor — which it was.
Again, the Air Jordan 22 relied on a podular cushioning system, once again including replaceable elements in the heel — only this time they were visible from the outside so you knew what you had on. The Zoom was double-stacked this time around, to give a little more bounce. And an improved version of the clear rubber that had become more or less standard on Air Jordans provided an even stickier grip.
The stealth scheme extended all the way to the box, which was made up of angles that didn’t quite lend themselves to stacking. Extra compartments held the additional cushioning elements.
There was also a “5/8” version, slightly lower-cut, that was made to celebrate different cities including Seattle and Atlanta, worn by Ray Allen
and Joe Johnson respectively. And there was also a more expensive, more limited basketball leather version made to celebrate Michael Jordan’s birthday and his ongoing love of the game.The Air Jordan 22 (XX2) was a much more guard-oriented shoe than the higher-cut Air Jordan 21 (XX1 or XXI), and was in turn worn by a wide variety of NBA
and NCAA players.