History is hot these days, and two beloved figures of the 1990s are back and as popular as ever. Thanks to an extended period of downtime, many Americans are falling in love with Will Smith’s signature sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. For sneaker aficionados, The Fresh Prince is synonymous with the Air Jordan 5, which were frequently featured on the feet of His Freshness, Young Willie Style. Nike continues to honor this long-lasting union with a fresh pair of fives, “Ghost Green,” a/k/a “Alternate Bel-Air.” Hitting at the peak of summertime, these retros are everything a “Nineties Baby” could ever wish for and more.

The Americans of Generation Y have reached adulthood, which means what was once considered modern and chic is now completely retro-fabulous. It can be seen in trends across fashion, music, and media, the Neon Nineties are back in style for both the nostalgic and novice. In May of 2020, HBO Max was released to the world, and included in its vast library was the entire 148-episode series run of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. With six seasons to binge, many young parents are now able to share their youth with their own progeny, ensuring another generation understands the need for maxin’ and relaxin’. With those Millenials in mind comes Jordan Brand’s latest brilliant retro, “Alternate Bel-Air,” an Air Jordan 5 with roots in the 90s and a flair for the flashy. These kicks are an easy indicator that the wearer knows more than a few lyrics to “Yo Home to Bel-Air.”

This sneaker takes the silhouette of the Air Jordan 5 and infuses it with the glowing energy of the decade it helped to define. The shoe is anchored by a rich, dark “Court Purple” midsole, baring a few visions of the bright hues that make this vivid colorway. The unmistakable shark-tooth pattern of the Jordan 5’s sole is drenched in “Racer Pink” with gray spattering, bursting forth toward the pristine white body of the sneaker. In fact, the majority of the canvas is colorless, hence the shoe’s neon highlights steal the show. Much of the show is on the interior, with a funky, era-inspired multicolored pattern reminiscent of the graphics on The Fresh Prince. The front of the tongue is a billowy, plush black with an embossed and embroidered Jumpman, alternately in “Ghost Green” on the left and “Racer Pink” on the right. The image is mirrored on the heel of the shoe, mismatching the logo colors fantastically. Similarly, the side panels feature the drop-shadow embroidered “23” in the appropriate tone to match. Finally, the shoe’s undersole combines a glassy “Ghost Green” with translucent rubber and another Jumpman, this time in the same grape-like purple of the midsole. Without going overboard in graphics, this shoe is totally radical.

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Fashion and sports were fundamentally fused in 1984 with the release of Michael Jordan’s first signature Nike, the Air Jordan. Using the young, driven basketball phenom as a muse, legendary shoe designer Tinker Hatfield revolutionized the footwear industry, a market now valued in the billions. At the time, signature shoes were rare, and Nike had not yet broken into the NBA significantly. The marriage of Nike and MJ was the spark that would evolve into the wildfire that is the modern sneaker game. The marketing world was also turned upside-down when the rookie became the face of both a product and the brand itself, a strategy that resulted in the now-iconic Jumpman logo and its eventual splinter brand. Without the talent of Jordan and the innovation of Hatfield, decades of trends would be radically altered.

Before Michael Jordan, an athlete’s signature shoe was relegated to a niche market of fans, if it was available en masse at all. With Nike’s Air Jordans, every year a new model was redesigned and unveiled to unprecedented anticipation, creating a new model to obsess over annually. In February 1990, the Air Jordan 5 was released on the precipice of MJ’s ascent into the stratosphere of professional basketball. As the Chicago Bulls seemed poised to take the top spot in the NBA away from teams like the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers, Mike’s stock was rising both on and off the court. Later, in September of the same year, a rising star from West Philadelphia took his talents from the awards show stages to the small screen. As one half of the hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, Will Smith had captivated fans with his laid-back, fun-loving style that was the antidote for the gangsta rap blues. As a model of 90s fashion, Will was seen sporting Jordan 5s more often than not. The show went on to be a smash hit for NBC, just as Michael Jordan’s Bulls dominated the NBA.

With e-commerce experiencing a huge boom, Instagram has become a major platform for promoting collectors’ stock, make sure to check out our exclusive offer for free Sneaker Shields if you want to stay photo-fresh. Our product is guaranteed to keep your J’s crease-free for years, either with regular wear or in storage. Nobody wants to be seen wearing Air Jordans that look cheap or busted, so make Sneaker Shields a part of your routine shoe care.

Just as Will Smith once kicked up a pair of “Grape” Jordan 5s, modern sneakerheads can revel in the glory of the newest “Bel-Air” inspired pair of classics. Throughout the Jordan retro-revival, variations on the original colorways have taken the OG and made it fresh again, which is precisely what Nike has done with the “Alternate Bel-Air.” The pair is perfect for dancing the Carlton or just kicking back, and they’re a slam dunk if you’re looking to flip flash for some cash.
With a retail price of $190, these retros are sure to fly off virtual shelves in no time, so whether you are a collector, reseller, or an everyday trendsetter, make sure to pick up some Sneaker Shields and keep your new J’s crease-free.