Air Jordan XVI: Introducing the Jordan Shroud

Name: Air Jordan XVI

Release: 2001

Designer: Wilson Smith III


It is now the second year after Michael Jordan’s retirement and it doesn’t look like he is going to come back to bless us with more memories. On top of that the genius behind the last 13 Air Jordan sneakers has stepped down from being the head designerLORD HAVE MERCYwhat next Nike decides to just stop making shoes…*SIGH* With all that said someone would have to step up and continue designing these high demanded sneakers.

Enter Wilson Smith III, who at that time was a Senior Footwear Designer at Nike.

Enter Wilson Smith III, who at that time was a Senior Footwear Designer at Nike. For the Air Jordan XVI he envisioned a sneaker that encompassed some of the features of the previous sneakers in the line. Some of the most evident features that reappeared on this sneaker were the patent leather portion located on the toe, which was feature on the Air Jordan XI and the clear rubbers soles that was featured on the Air Jordan V, VI and XI. Just like the previous Air Jordan sneakers Smith used the influences of automobiles and architecture to design this sneaker.

One of the biggest influences on the Air Jordan XVI was the removable covering over the sneaker. This portion of the sneaker was called a “Jordan Shroud”. It is stated that this idea came from the shoes that marching bands wore. The purpose of the “Jordan Shroud” on the sneaker was to add a more thermal feel to it, so when you took it off the shoe it felt like there was more ventilation going through it. A big concern with this part of the sneaker was that it would fall off the sneaker every now and then during use. This could be do the fact that the fasteners for it were magnets and could easily come apart while in use. It was also stated that the “Jordan Shroud” made the sneaker a bit stiff when playing.

The Air Jordan XVI had a full length inner sock/booty and the upper portion of the sneaker was constructed of a like weight mesh. As stated earlier when the “Jordan Shroud” was removed from the shoe lightweight mesh would be exposed. This was supposed to give this sneaker the appeal that it could be used a basketball shoe on the court and then as a casual shoe off court. Personally, I don’t know if they had realized by this point that the Air Jordan line of sneakers was being used in this manner regardless of how they designed them.

Compared to many of the other Air Jordans this sneaker had a lot more room in them and was very comfortable. One of the reasons for this was the use of the square toe, which gave you much more room in the front of the sneaker. Another reason for this was that this sneaker introduced new technology with its blow-molded heel and forefront Zoom Air.

All in all, the Air Jordan XVI was a very well designed sneaker. There were minor glitches here and there with the shoe, but Smith did a good job in trying to take the Air Jordan line to the next level. He introduced new technology and ideas the sneaker world, while still paying homage to previous sneakers in the legendary Air Jordan line.

Special Moments:

Although Michael Jordan had left the courts of the NBA he came back in another function. He was now the President of Operations of the Washington Wizards and although it wasn’t what the basketball fans truly wanted…it was just good to still see him around the game.

On the courts you could see players such as Mike Bibby, Quentin Richardson, Michael Finley, Reggie Miller and Darius Miles all wearing the Air Jordan XVI. One could even see his “Airness” himself wearing the Air Jordan XVIs in the official commercial with a suit to show how stylish the sneakers could really look.

  • electric shoegaloo

    Not sure why, but i hated these joints…the white and blue color wave was nice tho

  • K-Laced

    I wasn’t too thrilled about them myself. Event though the blue and white ones were the best, I still couldn’t bring myself to buy them.

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Sole Theory is a sneaker lifestyle guide that explores the social impact of the sneaker culture. Users can expect to gain insight on recent trends, historic brands and signature styles that have heavily influenced the shoe industry. Content will be driven by articles, interviews and reviews that will uncover interesting facts and stories that have rarely been told.