Jordan Brand has made the zip-off cargo pants of Air Jordan 1s, and its not a pretty sight. The new AJ1 High Switch has surfaced, and it utilizes an unseemly zipper to allow it to be worn as either a high- or low-top. No release date has been set, but we can expect to see this monstrosity arrive some time in 2021.
The timing is right for the color scheme, which utilizes both of Pantone's colors of the year for 2021. Ultimate Gray and Illuminating yellow do look fantastic together, but the choice isn't enough to save a shoe that didn't need to go modular. One thing Jordan Brand seems to have overlooked with its removable collar is how annoying it'll be to unlace the sneaker before making a swap.
That's not all they added — Jordan Brand didn't stop at adding modular capabilities to one of the best sneakers ever made. The AJ1 also has a bungee cord on the heel for some reason, as well as snaps for folding the collar over itself. From a pure aesthetic standpoint, the addition of a tiny Swoosh on the toe serves no purpose beside distancing the shoe from a classic that doesn't need any extra embellishments.
It's a shame because if you removed all of the ornamentation, you'd have yourself a fine new color variant for the Air Jordan 1. Just like modular pants, it's a high risk proposition. Do it right and you have the bangin' The North Face x Supreme joints. Do it wrong and you have the cream colored pants you wore as a child and look back on in shame. Indecision isn't something you should always encourage.
A much better alternative — If you want a modular sneaker that's as attractive as it is versatile, consider the New Balance Tokyo Design Studio Niobium instead. Available in non-Snow Peak color variants that are still available, it serves an actual purpose — offering a rugged hiking boot, a mule for casual wear, and a slipper for your days inside.
Jordan Brand seems to have done it simply because it could. Considering the AJ1 is more of a lifestyle shoe than a basketball sneaker now, there's no functional reason to switch between high- and low-top. In a bid to show off, Jordan Brand has just shown its ass.