When Air Jordans started releasing a newer, updated sneaker annually to fit in the NBA season they unknowingly set the rules for signature sneakers that still holds true a couple decades later. You could go through the list of common procedures with signature basketball sneakers today that can be directly traced back to the Air Jordan. New silhouette a year? Special colorway for All-Star Weekend? Inspired themes from animals? All tips provided by Michael Jordan and the good people at Nike.
Having a player be the face of a sneaker is great for business. This depends not only on the skill level of the player, but usually having an active NBA star endorse a certain sneaker gives it character through association which adds to the appeal of the shoe for many. When players go beyond just giving a sneaker, from whatever brand they have an endorsement deal through, a co-sign to having a signature sneaker with their name attached everything seems to be done bigger. Signature sneakers for NBA players are typically one of the highest-selling for brands which is why companies go the extra mile for their endorsee’s shoe. Knowing that, why would you cut the release short of a sneaker that took months of R&D work? Sneakers should at the very least be in stores for a longer period of time than what it took design it.
For example, the time difference between the current Jordan Melo M9 from the previous Melo M8 Advanced is not very long. There was exactly five months between the release of two different signature sneakers for the same athlete and that is crazy. In 2012, Carmelo Anthony wore three different signature sneakers. Not colorways, but completely different silhouettes starting off the year in the Jordan Melo M8 before debuting the M8 Advance during the Olympic Games and the Jordan Melo M9 (his current sneaker) was first seen during the Knicks/Lakers game played on Christmas day. Essentially a .5 of the Melo M8, Carmelo himself didn’t even spend half a year in the shoe since he first wore the ‘Olympic’ M8 Advance which ended up being the first colorway released. Now the Melo M8 Advance is a great shoe and the argument could be made for it being the best out of the trio especially due to the colorways that dropped within its short shelf life.
‘Home’ Jordan Melo M9 on top & ‘Away’ Jordan Melo M8 Advance on bottom.
By releasing multiple signature sneakers in the same year, brands are are setting themselves up for tons of backstock due to removing the remaining pairs of the previous model from stores to accommodate the newer version. Worst yet is that by moving on the next sneaker so soon, the previous shoe is likely to not get the attention it deserves since marketing would shift. Signature basketball sneakers tend to be well constructed, so making an otherwise great sneaker essentially appear & disappear during the same NBA season is a disservice to customers. Unless the older model is heavily discounted, which is the only positive I can think of from dropping a new signature too fast.
When the idea for this piece first came to me I had on a pair of the Rose 3s and was scheduling time to wear/test the Melo M9 (tough life right) later on during the week when I realized I hadn’t even run enough games in the M8 Advance. From my position its like my birthday but on the consumer end it is too much confusion and great sneakers have a higher risk of getting missed on.
If you want to wear the latest signature sneaker of your favorite player, you should be able to for a period of time longer than between iTunes versions.
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