Awww Yiss: Nike Mashed Up the Air Jordan V with Soccer Cleats
Late in 2014, Nike’s soccer footwear team met with Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, better known as Neymar Jr. At the meeting the Brazilian soccer star, who plays professionally for FC Barcelona, mentioned that he loves Michael Jordan.
And of course he does. Neymar Jr. is 24 years old—what child of the 1990s didn’t worship Jordan? But today, Neymar has something unprecedented to show for his fandom: the NJR x Jordan collection, a slew of new Nike gear that represents the first collaboration ever between the Jordan brand and Nike soccer. The collection includes a jersey, a jacket, and a pair of Jordan V Lows, but the marquee product is a pair of Nike’s Hypervenom II soccer boots. The cleats first launched last year, but this pair has been redesigned to look like the Jordan V—Neymar Jr.’s favorite from the canon of Jordan designs.
The redesigned Hypervenom IIs incorporate several iconic Jordan brand details. They have a silver swoosh on the toe that mimics the Jordan V’s reflective tongue, as well as the “fighter jet shark teeth” pattern, where the shoe’s sole bridges with the upper. Most importantly to Nike and Nate VanHook, senior design director for Nike Football (soccer), the cleats feature the Jumpman logo.
Performance-wise, these particular updates will have no effect on Neymar’s ball handling this summer, when he and the Brazilian national team compete at the Rio Olympics. But Michael Jordan is lending his brand—and his jersey number, 23, which is embroidered on the cleats—to the young soccer phenom. And if you believe in good omens, that surely seems like one.