The sneakers both released on June 9, 2012. Except the Yeezys were made in the thousands and the Military Blues were likely made in 100 times the quantity. But it didn’t matter. People wanted the Yeezys. They were the hottest shoe going at that point, maybe save for the “Galaxy” Foamposites. The problem was that the majority of people couldn’t get them. But in that era, there was no StockX or reselling apps, and the general public was pretty uneducated about how to get a limited-edition shoe.

This moment might have just seemed like a blip on the radar, a mere coincidence. But it fits a narrative that Kanye West pushed shortly after the release of the Yeezy 2s on his 2012 track “New God Flow” from Cruel Summer, when West rapped, “I ain’t trying to stunt, man, but these Yeezys jumped over the Jumpman.”

There may have been more factors at play that caused the “Military Blues” to not instantly sell out in 2012, but it certainly was odd at the time.

We’re now 12 years past that release (just typing that out made me feel old). And the “Military Blue” 4s are set to retro for a third time. And they’re back in their original form. For the first time since their 1989 release, they have Nike Air on the heel tab.

Retro sneakers have changed a lot since 2006 and 2012. Back then, it was much more about just making sure the sneakers looked good enough. Not really a one-to-one bring back of an old shoe, but an artist’s rendering of the original model. But in this era, people expect retros to be as close to the original source material as possible. And it looks like the Military Blues this go around will do just that. Except for one thing. Jordan Brand’s not calling them “Military Blue.” They’ve been officially named the “Industrial Blue” Air Jordan 4.

There’s been quite a few conspiracy theories floating around as to why there was a change. On the surface, it would appear that Nike’s Portland crew is progressive to the point where they feel it’s inappropriate to use the word military at all (and I personally feel like there’s truth in that, but that’s just my opinion). The box itself says “Military Blue,” but they’re being called “Industrial Blue” through official Nike communications. 

There’s been chatter online suggesting that the sneaker being white and blue and using the word “military” in the name would conjure connection to Israel’s military offensive against Palestine and destruction of Gaza. While this sneaker has zero to do with that and feels like a stretch in every way imaginable, I can imagine a mindset where Nike’s Portland employees wouldn’t want to tread into those waters. 

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