Union x Air Jordan 4

Jordan 4 Union LA (AJ4 Union)

One of the biggest shoes of 2020 is one that no one liked at all at first. The Union x Air Jordan 4, the follow up to the brand's much-talked-about collaboration on the Air Jordan 1 from 2018, was destined to be a "sneaker of the year" since rumors started to swirl about its existence last year. People didn't need to know what it looked like to want it. It was an Air Jordan by Union. It was going to be great. It was going to resell for $1,000. And everyone who mattered was going to wear them and make you want them even more.

To talk about the Union x Air Jordan 4, we need to go back in time a bit first. Union was started by James Jebbia in New York City in 1989, before he founded Supreme in 1994. The store became one of the first outlets for a burgeoning streetwear culture that would help overlap skateboarding, hip-hop, sneakers, and surf into a style and aesthetic unlike anything before it. Chris Gibbs bought Union in 2008. The NYC store closed in 2009. And now only a Los Angeles store represents the business.

Union became known as a taste-leader in the streetwear world. It wasn't a typical sneaker boutique, although some of its past collaborations include its era-defining take on the Nike Air Force 180. It was a shop that sold the brands and products that it liked, whether they were the biggest labels at the time or not. (Union was one of the first shops in the U.S. that sold Visvim.)  Its Air Jordan 1 collaboration came out not long after the retailer worked with Gary Aspden on an Adidas SPZL collection.

After collaborating on an apparel collection in 2019, Jordan Brand and Union were back like Mike wearing the 45 with sneakers in 2020. Chris Gibbs and co. went down the Air Jordan line and chose the Air Jordan 4 as its canvas with an all-new design direction — a perforated, stitched foam tongue. Polarizing at first via leaked images, the Union x Air Jordan 4 in the “Off-Noir” and boutique-exclusive “Guava” rose in popularity following the official unveiling.

Combining heritage with a new-aged lens brought flair, timelessness, and details for Union’s second collaboration with the Jumpman.

The sooting hues with premium details also made their way on the Jordan Delta Mid and the Jordan Zoom ’92 as the brand tried to issue new fusion models with brand DNA. While the Air Jordan 4s overshadowed the Delta and Zoom ’92, the collection’s versatility showed that Union could do it all.

To follow up the first Union 4s Jordan series, the boutique celebrated its 30th anniversary with the “Taupe Haze” and “Desert Moss” colorway. While not as universally loved as the first AJ4 tandem, the Union-exclusive “Taupe Haze” and the wider released “Desert Moss” offered a premium reinterpretation of the Air Jordan 4 with both a standout colorway and a more neutral, muted option.

Like the previous capsule, the Union LA Jordan 4 featured the stitched tongue, premium packaging, and high-end materials.

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