Release Date: April 28
The A Ma Maniére x Air Jordan 3 has it all. It’s a premium, high-quality version of one of the best Jordans in an elegant colorway. It’s a product of one of the best stores currently doing it and represents the vision of the store’s founder, James Whitner. It’s also been one of the more accessible hyped sneakers of the year.
Serving as a thank-you note of sorts to his mother, the collaboration uses the first Jordan model Whitner owned growing up and recrafts it with women—and the impact they have on everyone’s lives—in mind. The sneaker was released exclusively in ladies’ sizing, although a run up to size 16 meant (mostly) everyone could wear them. To cap the story off, A Ma Maniére released a “Raised by Women” video celebrating the role of women in Black families.
The leather and suede cuts on the shoe are among the nicest you’ll find on an Air Jordan 3, but it’s the intricate (and at times, hidden) details that make it truly special. The Jordan 3’s signature elephant print overlays are replaced with hairy suede, the edges of the tumbled leather panels were left raw, and the lining is draped in a quilted satin. The colors are neutral, mixing shades of grey with an amethyst-inspired mauve and cream. Bend back the TPU heel tabs and you’ll find two messages in Whitner’s mother’s own handwriting, and the lace aglets read “work harder,” a phrase inspired by an A Ma Maniére employee’s motivational screensaver.
Still, it takes more than a great design and meaningful story to make the sneaker of the year (so far). What tied everything together was the sneaker’s rollout. From the jump, Whitner was adamant that he wanted the shoe to end up in the hands of people who really wanted it, and it’s safe to say he and his team succeeded. The collaboration had multiple releases in decently high quantities, and even though it’s impossible to please everyone, you’re more likely to find Instagram comments praising the store’s release method than you are to find complaints. — Riley Jones