The collection comes in women’s sizes 5-12.
In the last two years Nike’s dominance has been disrupted. Sales have slowed and there is banter throughout the industry that adidas caused problems for Nike. In the women’s market Lululemon and even Victoria’s Secret is the culprit. I’ve been covering the story for long enough to contribute a completely different understanding of the issues and I’ve repeated over and over that since 2012 Nike has been in the process of creating a new business. In 2017 the final stages were completed. From 2012 to 2017 every brand had an opportunity to steal shares of the market from the Swoosh and some did. Under Armour took a bit of shine with the signing of Curry. adidas has of course stolen a lot of the fire and is looking at gaining up to 15% of the market (ask me about my thoughts on this) and in women’s, Lululemon used a niche strategy to build their business (which is a move that every brand has to begin using). It’s been an interesting time in footwear. The promotional environment is a major factor and everyone is stating that performance is dead (which might be the most incomplete analysis in footwear).
Jordan Brand has decided to attack the “women’s athletic footwear problem” with a launch dedicated to ladies. The Season of Her features the Retro 1 primarily but adds in the Jordan 12 as well.
Jordan Brand’s Spring ’18 women’s footwear collection comes in women’s sizes 5-12. The SOH Air Jordan I releases on January 25 for $160, the Air Jordan I Hi Zip releases on March 8 for $150 and the Women’s Air Jordan XII Vachetta Tan releases on March 23 for $190.
They’ve taken the classic Air Jordan 1 silhouette (SOH- Season of Her) and delivered a color palette that looks more like a line of lipstick than kicks. With the Air Jordan 12 Retro they deliver a Vachetta Tan version. Which moves me to express the importance of the brand delivering the women’s size up to size 12. There was a point where women’s shoes would stop at size 11 and in some instances Lady Foot Locker would only get a size run from 5-10. I don’t know if these models are created on a different last, but Jordan Brand realizes that women’s shoes are often bought by men. The move up to size 12 takes care of men’s shoes up to 10.5 and possibly 11. It’s a strategic play.
The final iteration of the Season of Her pack is the Women’s Retro 1 Zip. The obvious ease of entry on a zip sneaker is appealing as it caters to the open back, sling aspect of women’s footwear that allows for a woman to quickly throw on footwear to get to her next destination. The shoe is a stylish play on the classic retro and features a pop of history in adding the Nike Air logo tag along the lateral panel zip. This is the least expensive shoe in the pack which isn’t saying much considering it’s 150.00.
Will It Work?
It’s an admirable move by Jordan Brand and a continuation of Nike’s rollout during 2017 of the women’s Air Force 1 packs which featured suede and velvet uppers as a direct competitor to Ri Ri’s Puma Fenty line of Creepers. Those Air Force 1 drops are still in the stores. Nike made a considerable error in simply adding materials and colors to attract buyers. Puma has Ri Ri. Nike launched the Women’s Force pack with asexual Ruby Rose as the face of the launch. While I actually think Rose is dope, she has very little crossover appeal culturally. Nike has been making a lot of marketing errors as many of their pics feature women posed/dressed in what could be a conversion from “men’s” wear to “women’s” wear. Puma’s approach feels more fashion friendly and honestly, beautiful (although I think a lot of the Fenty line is aesthetically ugly… to me, the merchandising/marketing is less a conversion from masculine. Get it?)
How will this SOH pack perform? Nike has once again taken a men’s silhouette and placed colors and materials on it. The difference this time is they’ve utilized an iconic shoe to do so. While the Air Force 1 is the kick that started the sneaker craze, it is distinctly tied to Hip-Hop and dudes. The Retro 1 is a much sleeker and less bulky model and the shoes are less velvet and more subtle suede and leather builds. That’s a positive. The Zip also has the ability to crossover and Nike understands that branding here has to be less visible. The swoosh is removed and I can see this shoe moving as a more mature model that can be styled in a variety of manners. That’s a positive. The Retro 12 I think will sit. Unfortunately it lies too close to the recent Wheat pack and Nike has killed the tan footwear play. I think it may be the best looking shoe, but at 190 that price is geared towards guy sneakerheads. Women tend to be a lot smarter than men (yep I said it) and they won’t feel the need to rush out and cop a 190 dollar kick. Now with that said, the 12 is one of the most popular models in the Jordan vault. The March 23rd release date is a smart move. It’s right around the time the weather begins to change and the colorway definitely caters to rocking shorts with sweaters in the spring transition. I think it will resonate more with guys than ladies.
Overall I think the SOH pack is a much better drop than the Air Force 1 women’s pack. If I were sitting in the room when Jordan Brand was planning this out I would have given a yes to the SOH 1 and recommended a drop to 110. I would have given the Zip a Yes on a very limited release format, and I would have made the 12 a men’s GR and pushed the size run for BG sizing up to 10. This means that I would have changed the entire release structure; which means I don’t think the SOH pack will work. I still think Nike/Jordan Brand is treating women’s sportswear like Men’s Lite and that’s the problem here. There isn’t any storytelling. No Aleali May, no Maya Moore, no women behind the story, just women featured in pictures.
Note: As I was writing this and about to publish it, I made sure to check my sources. The marketing and merchandising is showing up on Pinterest (major points for the women’s market) and more important the styling has been done by Aleali… This might just have a chance… Nike is using both Nike and Jordan Brand to market. This shows that they are actually paying attention to where and how people are reaching their product. This has a chance to be a solid play. I still would have adjusted the release to what I said earlier. Use the source link to read more.