Breaking Down New Air Jordan 9 'Doernbecher' Shoes

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2012

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Already a massive year for Jordan, the brand will continue to add to its stable of Air Jordan IX releases with the extremely limited "Doernbecher" kicks on Nov. 30. 

Benefiting the Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland, Ore., these sneakers are part of a "freestyle" campaign Nike has run since 2004. Each year, the company chooses a select number of children who get to design their own pair of kicks, with the proceeds going toward helping the underprivileged.

This particular Jordan IX release was designed by Oswaldo Jimenez, an 11-year-old who was diagnosed with severe pulmonary hypertension in 2011. The youngster chose a white base with a metallic gold and black accentuation for this colorway.

To come up with the design, he took inspiration from his family—especially his younger brother. 

"I think sporty kids will like my shoe, especially my little brother," Jimenez said (per OHSU.Edu)."He's my number one fan."

How do these kicks grade out? Here is a complete breakdown of the Jordan IX "Doernbecher" shoes. 


Wow Factor: 9.5/10

Anytime a metallic gold color is attached to a shoe's colorway, it instantly sparks intrigue and skepticism in the "sneakerhead" community. Too many times we've seen designers try to make a splashy statement only  for it to fall flat on its face.

Luckily, the Doernbechers don't fall prey to the gaudiness of their predecessors. Instead, interwoven with black around the sole of the shoe starting with the heel collar, the gold sticks out in a smart, eye-catching design.

The gold also works around the laces, where it is used as an accentuation to the all-black tongue and lace design. 

Wrapped around the white base, the black and gold work together and create an eye-popping contrast that doesn't push the boundaries too far. When consumers say they are looking for a "different" pair of kicks, this is what they mean.

Simply put, a commendably eye-catching design here.


Design: 9.5/10

With the rash of Jordan IX releases of late, it's not hard for the design of the shoe to become stale—even to the most strident collector. We've already seen massive missteps with the "Olive" release and some of the shrug-worthy looks in the Johnny Kilroy pack.

However, the Doernbechers defy the convention and come through with an excellent design. From the intricacies of the feather/leaf-like design going around the midsole to the way the designers did not overdo the metallic gold, everything about these kicks is well-done.

It's also touching the way the brand allowed Jimenez to put his special touches on the shoe. The "Pollito" on the tongue is meant to signify the youngster's nickname, "little chicken," and the No. 17 on the heel is his favorite number.

Each of these releases comes with special meaning for the child involved, and truth be told, it's just nice to see that Jordan allowed personal touches instead of just the colorway.


Overall: 9.5/10

Top to bottom, it's almost impossible to dislike the design of these kicks. Great for both on-court and off-court use, they use the white base well and don't succumb to the inherent gaudiness of the metallic gold.

Instead, what you get is a strong pair of kicks that may be the best Jordan IXs released in 2012. 

Couple a strong design with the good cause and wonderful story around these kicks and it's hard to find any major faults. In fact, the only reason these don't get a perfect score is because I reserve those for things like the original Jordan I "Black/Red" colorway.

Nevertheless, the Doernbechers are a no-brainer for any collector or casual buyer who just wants to support a great cause and smart design.