Welcome back to Mistakes Were Made, a look back at the sneakers we can’t believe we bought or we can’t believe brands thought were a good idea. In this case, hindsight is always the best sight. Previous installments include the other Juan’s most hideous sneaker purchases (my words, not his) and the equally atrocious Air Jordan Fusion models.
With all of the hype surrounding the upcoming Air Jordan 8 Aqua (and hate, either because you don’t like the Air Jordan 8 or you think the quality is terrible even though it hasn’t dropped yet), it’s amazing to see what the right colorway can do for a shoe. Even though most Air Jordan 8 releases tend to linger in stores longer than other retros, there is something about the “Aqua” that resonates with many sneakerheads. It’s a topic for another time, but I’ve always been interested in the reasoning behind the love for the Aqua 8 and lack of s**ts given to everything else.
Surely Jordan Brand sensed this love back in 2007 when they brought back the Air Jordan 8 Aqua for the first time. To this day, it’s still highly regarded among those that own the shoe. Since then, the Aqua colorway has come back in a variety of Team Jordan models like the 6-17-23, the 6 Rings and the infamous Fusion AF1. But none of those mistakes could compare to the Air Jordan 8.0 Aqua.
Released during the later parts of 2011 and early 2012, the thinking behind the Jordan 8.0 or any updated retro was performance-based. Instead of bringing back the Air Jordan 8 – or any retro for that matter – with outdated 20th century technology, they can update the shoe to perform to modern standards while still maintaining that old school look people love about retros. The Jordan 8.0 featured a brand new midsole and paint splatter graphic, a lighter upper that included Flywire and updated cross straps. Even the logo on the 8.0 was different as it sported the Jumpman logo on top of an artistic rendition of the Larry O’Brien trophy. Ironically, that same logo would be used on the Air Jordan 8 Three Time’s A Charm that dropped a few weeks ago. Right next to each other, the differences between the 8 and the 8.0 are glaring, but because the memory for the 8 is not as fond as other old Jordan models, it’s easy to see somebody mistaking the 8.0 as an OG revival.
Monta Ellis, a longtime Jordan Brand associate, famously wore the 8.0s – including the Aqua colorway – after his deal with AND1 expired during the 2011-12 NBA season. Something tells me he won’t be doing that again anytime soon.
While the 8.0 did seem to get good reviews for its performance on the court, the “hate” for the direction that Jordan Brand was taking its legacy models was bad. However, it wasn’t the firestorm like it was for the Fusions because holy crap, that was a terrible idea right out of the gate. This was a misread of the market that Jordan Brand has since corrected for the most part (see: Jordan Futures for how to do hybrids rights). Not surprisingly, these kicks hit outlet stores quickly and were forgotten and scrapped soon thereafter never to be talked about again until today. Sorry…