Breaking Down New Air Jordan IV 'Thunder' Shoes

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 16, 2012

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Originally released in very limited supply in connection with the Jordan Motorcycle Race Team, the Jordan IV "Thunder" shoes have become one of the most sought-after pairs of the legendary sneakers.

Luckily for those who missed out on the original release in 2006, Jordan will have a special holiday treat, as the brand plans on a re-release of the sneakers on Dec. 22.

As any member of the "sneakerhead" community will tell you, the re-release of the Thunders has been long talked about and hoped for. Kept to relatively low shipments in their initial push, desperate collectors can be seen all over eBay bidding up the original supply to this day.

Originally scheduled for a Nov. 17 release date, the folks at Jordan pushed the release back a bit. While that's likely due to the brand's dilution of the retro market, the date change will only serve to create more hype for these coveted kicks. 

All that's left is one question: Do these kicks live up to their lofty expectations? With that in mind, here is a complete breakdown of the Jordan IV "Thunder" shoes.


"Wow" Factor: 9/10

Simply put, there's a reason why the "Thunder" shoes are among the most sought after by collectors.

They aren't flashy in a gaudy sense but instead rely on the keen eye of the observer to catch intricacies. In particular, the tour yellow and black has always been a winning combination. The two colors contrast almost perfectly, with the yellow making these shoes really pop out in the crowd. 

What's most impressive is the use of the colorway. It's not just two colors dumped on one another for contrast's sake. Instead, from the webbing on the sides to the wonderfully unique lace holders, the colors are instead interwoven together as part of a whole theme.

With so many black bases out there, it takes a brilliant contrast to avoid a boring look. The Thunders do that in a way that avoids gimmicky colorways and is ultimately understated despite an extremely detailed design. 


Design: 9/10

The overarching change in this re-release from the originals is that the Jordan brand has decided to go with a suede upper instead of the leather finish.

While that news certainly caused some hesitance out there, you can rest your pretty little head because these kicks still pack a brilliant design. Sure, the suede is a little easier to rough up—especially when using the shoes on the court.

But if used simply for casual wear, the suede actually accentuates the tour yellow color a little better. 

As for the overall design, the Thunders don't disappoint one bit. Oftentimes, we see special releases make a stark change just so buyers know that it's "different," but that wasn't the case here. The designers had a beloved formula and worked hard on replicating that iconic look, all while keeping the price relatively reasonable.

The lack of leather keeps this from being a perfect score, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a better designed pair of kicks. 


Overall: 9/10

For the avid Jordan collector, these are like the holy grail. Both highly sought after and incredibly rare, the brand should see a massive wave of collectors pawing over each other to get a pair of these kicks.

Obviously, we'd never advise pawing over another person over a pair of shoes. But considering how nice these kicks are, I have a tough time not understanding the plight of a desperate collector.

As for the casual fan, grabbing a pair of Thunders is a must for those with disposable income. If kept in pristine condition, a nice return on investment could be in store if you hold onto these kicks long enough.

Even for those just looking for a new pair of kicks, there are a million ways to go wrong, and the Thunders are certainly not one of them. In other words, if we were on "Mad Money," I'd be advising all of you to buy, buy, buy.