When I first saw the upcoming Air Jordan 2 Low Gym Red, I immediately thought about the Air Jordan 2 Legends of the Summer for this edition of Sneaker Grails. It’s hard not to make the comparison; both sport a vivid red upper – albeit with very different materials – that makes the shoes a whole better than they really have any business being. Sure, it might not sound like a compliment to call the Gym Red 2s an ersatz Legends of the Summer 2s, but that is high praise considering where most sneakerheads rank the Air Jordan 2 overall.
If you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of the Air Jordan 2 – it’s a blight on the greatness of early Air Jordan models – but something about the red gives them that luxurious touch that Nike was shooting for when they designed the shoe in the first place. No disrespect to Don C and his well-received Air Jordan 2 collaborations, but they pale in comparison to the awesomeness of the Legends of the Summer pair that Justin Timberlake wore for his concert tour with Jay Z back in 2013.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “really, Justin Timberlake?” He’s one of the most popular artists in the world, there’s no arguing that point, but you would never figure him to be a sneakerhead even though he does appear in sneaker blogs regularly whenever he rocks a pair of Js. But somebody at Jordan Brand noticed and as evidenced by their recent packages to one Shane McMahon recently, when they sense a high-profile celebrity has an affinity for kicks and might be doing something on a grand stage, like say a concert series with one of the greatest rappers of all-time, they cook up something special for the occasion. So the Legend of the Summer Jordans were born. Somewhere Jason Sudeikis is like, “what the hell, man?”
Featuring a handful of Air Jordan 1s, an Air Jordan 3 and the subject of this post today, the Legends of the Summer Jordans were a huge hit among sneakerheads. Those whoe were able to get close enough to see them in person were blown away and the blogs were lighting up like it was Christmas every time a picture popped up online. What made the hype train even bigger for the shoes was Timberlake signing the shoes and leaving them in the cities that they toured in. The 2s ended up in Vancouver where a pair of fans scooped them up. I’m guessing Timberlake had one to rock and one to stock so he had no problem giving away the ones he wore on the tour.
Originally, the Legends of the Summer Js were supposed to be a limited affair just for Timberlake and maybe a few friends and family. But soon everybody associated with Jordan Brand from Chris Paul to Carmelo Anthony to Russell Westbrook to DJ Khaled to Macklemore were all getting hooked up with a pair. There are a few that managed to make their way to the resale market and as you might expect, their prices are stupid high. Of course the only pair of 2s I’ve ever wanted in my life cost about the same as a down payment on a decent car.
I first saw the Lengends of the Summer 2s at a (redacted) event with (redacted) where they showed off (redacted). They were on the feet of (redacted… seriously, I’m pretty sure I signed an NDA before that event) and I couldn’t help but stare at them. Yes, I became that sneaker creeper who stares at somebody’s kicks for a little longer than what would be deemed socially acceptable. Thanks goodness (redacted) was really nice about it and I managed to not get escorted out by security. Needless to say, the Air Jordan 2 Low Gym Red now has me seriously considering an Air Jordan 2 purchase for the first time ever. Well, the first time since I saw the Legends of the Summer 2 again at Flight Club.