The Nike Air Jordan XX8 is Not Very Popular

There's innovation and there's improvements, and then there are these.

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There’s innovation and there’s improvements, and then there are these.

Nike Air Jordans are the chameleons of the footwear kingdom, undergoing an aesthetic metamorphosis pretty much every year since they were introduced in 1984 (when their namesake, Michael Jordan, was just 21 years old). Some incarnations were good, some were really good, and others were just downright iconic.

(PHOTOS: The Air Jordan Generation: Remembering 25 Years of Sneaker Power)

The Air Jordan XX8s are none of those things. Designed by veteran Air Jordan mastermind Tinker Hatfield, the Air Jordan XX8 is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a black socklike casing. Once the baffling black jacket is unzipped, the neon green shoe has a similar look to previous Air Jordans, which begs the question: what’s the point of that…thing…anyway? Aside from that saving grace, the shoe is also apparently very light and was introduced by Spike Lee, so at least it has that.

XX8, an infuriating mashup of Roman and Arabic numerals, signifies that this is the 28th edition of the shoe. It reportedly took Hatfield two years to design it; a pair will retail for a cool $250. The kicks made their NBA debut on Tuesday night when Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook wore in a game against the Brooklyn Nets,  any non-NBA player who’s willing to wear them will have to wait until they are available to the public in February.

Unfortunately, that may not be too many people. Response to the shoe has been less than enthusiastic; bloggers have called them everything from “awful” to “dumb space boots”. “Is this the first pair of shoes to ever come encased in velour sweatsuits?” Deadspin’s Tom Ley wondered. We doubt, however, that the negative press will have an effect on sales or the reputation of the wildly desirable sneakers. And as Basketball Jones blogger Trey Kirby discovered, they don’t look quite as bad on the feet.

MORE: Guess What? Most People Won’t Buy Sneakers for $300 — Or Even $200