Skip to main content

The Shoe Surgeon Gives the Air Jordan 13 a Premium Python Makeover

A private session for a captive audience
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

In honor of the return of the "Bred" colorway of the Air Jordan 13, which hits stores tomorrow, Jordan Brand invited the Shoe Surgeon to conduct a private session at the brand's South State St. store in Chicago. There, in front of a captive audience, the L.A.-based sneaker customizer deconstructed and subsequently reconstructed a pair of the Air Jordan 13 "Bred," with the finished product featuring luxurious python paneling and contrasting red suede trim. Continue reading for an interview with the Shoe Surgeon himself, in which he describes his relationship with the AJ13, and scroll through images from the event in the gallery below. 

You work with so many different types of shoes – high end, low end, different brands. What makes the AJ 13 unique?

Everything from the design, to the padding, to the binding and how the eyelets are laced. One of my favorite parts of the 13 is the hologram. I feel like this is one of the first soles that had a suede cover. I think that was very unique for the time as well.

When you have shoes that are almost architecturally built, inspired by anything from a lawnmower to a cat’s paw, do you see that in the construction compared to other shoes?

I definitely do. From the first Jordan I ever did. It’s always just been about how many pieces and how it’s layered. Like you said, it’s more of an architectural way to approach a sneaker.

What was challenging about the 13?

This was probably one of the most difficult shoes I’ve done just because of all the detail already on the shoe – from the suede sole that could so easily be messed up, to the hologram, to the reflective fabric and the eyelets.

There are shortcuts I can take on other shoes to make things slightly different, or change a detail that no one would normally see, but for the AJ 13 the goal was to create it as closely as possible to the original.

Most Jordans are very complex, due to the design. I don’t think they take any shortcuts to make production easier. The focus was definitely on the design and how the shoe looks and functions rather than how inexpensive the production could be.