Introduction to the Air Jordan 22
In 2007, D’Wayne Edwards was back as lead designer for the second time in a row, bringing his distinctive futuristic style to Air Jordan. Like the model he designed the previous year, the 22 features a deceptively simple aesthetic that conceals hidden details and big technology.
AJ 22 Design and Features
The Air Jordan 22 (often styled as Air Jordan XX2), like many previous editions, is inspired by a high performance vehicle. This year, Jordan Brand looked to the sky, taking design cues from the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jet. Regarded at the time as the most advanced military aircraft ever built, the Raptor was fast, aggressive and able to easily blow past enemy defenses before the enemy knew what was happening: just like His Airness.
Edwards began by translating the strong, angular lines of the Raptor into the aggressively sweeping panels and zigzag stitching on the upper. Hearkening back to the Raptor’s stealth capabilities, the shoe also features a special, reflective 3M material camouflage print that changes the look of the shoe as lighting conditions vary. Similarly, the heel features a special heel cap that makes the Jumpman invisible from certain angles.
Like Edwards’ other Jordan design, the 22s possess a super-premium look and feel that also provides long-term durability. The attention to premium materials continues inside the shoe, with a beautiful, comfortable quilted cloth lining.
AJ 22 Colorways, Retros and Collectability
The original generation of the 22 dropped in four standard colorways and two lower (but not low) top versions called “5/8” height.
Air Jordan 22 (XX2) White/Metallic Silver – Varsity Red
White/Metallic Silver – Varsity Red is perhaps the most popular colorway, featuring in lots of review videos of the 22.
Air Jordan 22 (XX2) Black/Amber Basketball Leather
The most distinctive, however, is unquestionably the Black/Amber Basketball Leather edition. Not an exaggeration or a merely evocative name, the Black/Amber colorway has an upper made from the recycled leather of retired NBA basketballs.
Air Jordan 22 (XX2) Black/Varsity Red – Metallic Silver
Air Jordan 22 (XX2) Omega White/Varsity Red – Black
Air Jordan 22 (XX2) 5/8 White/University Blue – Orange Blaze
Air Jordan 22 (XX2) 5/8 Black/Varsity Red – White
The 22 is too recent to have received a standard retro release but it has been re-issued in two special editions. Both re-releases were part of countdown retrospectives that featured new releases of every past Jordan model. The first, called the Countdown Pack, came just a year later in 2008 and boasted an elegant black and white color scheme. The second, part of 2013’s “28 Days of Flight,” was black and electric green, like all of the re-issues in that series. These limited series were tremendously popular events and so the special editions of the 22 from the countdowns can be a bit harder to come by.
Like all collectable sneakers, Air Jordan 22s should be kept in a cool, dry place. For longer-term storage, remove them from their original box and paper (which are slightly acidic) and place them in airtight, plastic bags. Before sealing the bags, remove as much air as possible to reduce oxidation. Sneakers in long-term storage should be periodically removed from their containers (about once a month) and allowed to air out overnight.
Technology and Performance of the Air Jordan 22
The 22 is regarded as one of the best-playing Jordans ever released. The chevron pattern traction on the sole provides excellent control and stability. An extended, extra-stable heel counter prevents heel rolling and the innovative lace lock system keeps everything firmly in place on the court.
Like the 21s before them, the 22s sport the IPS (Independent Podular Suspension) system with interchangeable cushions. This allows players to choose which heel stack they prefer – encapsulated air or double-stacked Nike Zoom air capsules. The 22s feature a somewhat more angular pod shape, extending the fighter jet theme inside the heel of the shoe while also making the pods easier to swap. Comfort on the court is extended even further by the integration of metallic mesh panels along the ankle and perforation along the tongue that allow the shoe to breathe.
Arch support comes in the form of a thermoplastic urethane (TPU) shank with a titanium-infused coating that makes these a bit lighter than the last year’s model. Hardware for the laces (eyelets, lace lock) are also made of titanium. Why titanium? Besides its exceptional durability and strength-to-weight ratio, its atomic number – 22 – continues the Jordan tradition of tying the shoe’s detailing to the model number.