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Lock-In and Prepare to Fly with the Air Jordan XXXIII

When the Air Jordan XXXIII lands next month, it will introduce a new promise for pinnacle basketball shoe comfort, performance and style: Nike’s FastFit technology.

“This year’s game shoe, the AJ XXXIII, is the first basketball shoe to feature FastFit technology, which provides ultimate lockdown to prepare athletes for flight,” says Michael Jordan. “From day one, we’ve taken pride in the Air Jordan game shoe, where we focus on athlete insights and the latest innovations to create silhouettes that are distinctly Jordan. That balance also allows the game shoe to continually revolutionize both in sport and style.”

With the addition of FastFit, the Air Jordan XXXIII follows a clear Jordan path. For example, while Air has been the hallmark of Michael Jordan’s signature line since 1985, it took Tinker Hatfield’s 1988 design for the Jordan III to cement its defining attribute. In that shoe the Air technology was made visible, and with it, MJ’s hangtime took on an advanced aura (literally, as he soared from the free throw line in the ’88 dunk contest).

The Nike FastFit mechanism is visible under the arch of the Air Jordan XXXIII.

“Flight has always been part of our Jordan DNA,” says Jordan Brand Vice President of Design David Creech. “Our team considered the utility-led design of space flight suits and used that inspiration to help craft the AJ XXXIII. Like those suits, the shoe features visible technology designed for function, but that also becomes a staple style element.”

The Air Jordan XXXIII progresses the legacy of visible technology in the Jordan line by challenging a different aesthetic norm. FastFit eschews laces and proposes a new system for containment on court.

To activate FastFit on the Air Jordan XXXIII, pull up on the forefoot strap. 

How FastFit works:

  1. Loops on the tongue and heel allow easier entry
  2. The tightening system activates its cables with a single tug of the forefoot strap, creating a full 360-lockdown
  3. Eject by pulling the side loops to release the cables

Steps two and three are easily repeatable throughout game time. Release when resting, activate while in play — it’s all part of a transformative feel that designer Tate Kuerbis describes as “pull on and go.” Which means that, in some respects, the XXXIII is as much a visceral experience as it is a shift in construction.

"Applying FastFit allowed for a balance of art and science in the design,” says Kuerbis. “We were inspired by how space suits look and function. It’s all very utilitarian, and the various elements and what they do are all clearly called out. Thinking about this led us to highlight the pull cord, eject cord and the inner workings of FastFit, and make the function integral to the aesthetic and graphic integrity of the design.”

The use of “Nike Air” on the heel tab follows classic Jordan graphic cues.

Like all of the Jordan models post the XXX, the XXXIII also features subtle design cues from the past. The window to the tightening system mimics the original Air window, and the use of “Nike Air” on the heel tab is a reflection of the III, IV, V and VI. The extra-large tongue is also the perfect canvas for a Jumpman — just as it was when Hatfield debuted the logo on the III. 

"The ability to infuse our design innovation with our profound Jordan DNA has enabled us to deliver a statement on and off the court,” says Jordan Brand VP of Footwear Gentry Humphrey. 

From day one, we’ve taken pride in the Air Jordan game shoe, where we focus on athlete insights and the latest innovations to create silhouettes that are distinctly Jordan. 

Michael Jordan

Underfoot, the XXXIII follows suit with the latest iteration of Jordan Brand’s Flight Speed technology (now made with the same carbon plate approach as the Nike Zoom VaporFly 4%) and the Nike Zoom Air unit. Just under the arch, a circular cut-out reveals the mechanism of FastFit, and how it tightens and loosens. The combined system of the Air Jordan XXXIII — Flight Speed + Zoom Air + FastFit — underscores Jordan Brand’s commitment to continual evolution of basketball footwear.

The Air Jordan XXXIII launches October 18 at select global retailers and on Jordan.com. 

Read More: Jordan Brand Design