Photos: @asphaltchronicles

Don C is standing in a room in the middle of Paris, surrounded by the new Jordan Legacy 312s. The shoe represents his most personal collaboration with the brand to date — a manifestation of years spent admiring Michael Jordan’s legendary talent and the shoes that helped him make history.

“I remember when I came to Paris for the first time, in the ‘90s,” says Don, who describes Paris as feeling like “a new world” back then. “When I’d tell people that I’m from Chicago, the first thing they would say is, ‘Do you know Michael Jordan?’”

More than a decade later, Don started visiting Paris for Fashion Week. “The first time I came to Paris for Fashion Week, it was overwhelming,” he recalls. “We couldn’t get into any shows! They wouldn’t let us in. It’s funny to see that we, Chicago, run this now.”

The Jordan Legacy 312 is a tribute to Chicago that’s equally inspired by MJ and today’s multifaceted youth. Its name references the 312 area code of the city, as well as the shoe’s juxtaposition of the Air Jordan 1 and 3.

“I wanted the Jordan Legacy 312 to have the sole of the Jordan 3, because to me, that shoe is the foundation of the brand,” Don explains. “The 1s and the 2s were Nikes first. The 3s were Jordans. That’s when the brand became the brand. I’ve always felt that the foundation of the brand is the 3, but it was built on the 1 first.”

While at Nike campus in Beaverton, Don chose to combine the vamp and upper of the Air Jordan 1, the midfoot strap and eyelets of the Nike Air Alpha Force Low and the midsole, heel counter, elephant print and outsole of the Air Jordan 3. “I remember bringing up this new idea,” Don says. “We put it together on campus that day. We came out of that one meeting with a rough sample.”

The addition of the strap and eyelets of the Nike Air Alpha Force Low reference a lesser-known chapter in Jordan history. MJ wore the Alpha Force in 1988, in between the Air Jordan 2 and 3. He debuted the Air Jordan 3 just a week later. “The early Jordans always had a clean toe box,” says Don. “Jordan Brand wouldn’t have done a strap back then. The new generation likes to swag things a little different, which is why we added it.”

The Jordan Legacy 312 is unmistakably the creation of a Chicago native — equal parts an evolution and a reverent understanding of the past. Don’s “Just Don” tag is proudly sewn onto the tongue of the launch colorways. “I will admit that I get emotional thinking about my connection to the brand,” Don adds. “I’m just a kid from Chicago who now works with Jordan. I’m honored. Let’s keep it going.”

The Jordan Legacy 312 is available in Sail/Black/Stormblue and Ghost Green/White/Cement Grey starting July 14 in North America only. It’s available globally in White/Black/Volt/Vivid Blue, White/Midnight Navy and Hot Lava/Black/Zen Grey starting August 11.