One way or another I’m going to end 2016 crossing two retros I’ve waited a long time for off my list. On Black Friday, the Black/Cement True Blue Air Jordan 3 will have sneakerheads camping out outside of malls across America as the beloved classic returns with the much-desired “Nike Air” branding. Meanwhile, our annual Christmas Air Jordan 11 is going to be the big one as the Air Jordan 11 Space Jam has now been confirmed to be making a comeback right on time for its 20th anniversary. Needless to say if things fall into place, 2016 is going to be 30th anniversary of Jordan Brand that we should have gotten in 2015.

But at what cost? Jordan Brand increased production, quality and price of retros across the board in 2015, using classics like the Air Jordan 8 Aqua, obscure gems like the Air Jordan 6 Maroon and a new Air Jordan 11 colorway as test cases for what the market will support. The results were clear; people will buy retros at a higher price, but Jordan Brand can’t get away with releasing just any colorway they can crap out anymore if they want immediate sell-outs like the halcyon days of 2010 through 2014. Drop the right colorway, like the Air Jordan 4 White/Cement and give it “Nike Air” and you will move units in the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions. Meanwhile, a Maroon 6 will languish in stores waiting for somebody to inevitably bite or for a price drop to happen. So Jordan Brand is going for the sure sure things this holiday season.

Right now, general release retros are going for $190 with “Nike Air” branding apparently worth a $30 premium. Assuming things don’t change between now and the Holidays, that’s $220 for the Air Jordan 3 True Blue and that doesn’t even include taxes. As for the Air Jordan 11 Space Jam, expect to pay a little bit more than the $220 you did for last year’s Air Jordan 11 72-10, which went up from 2014’s Air Jordan 11 Legend Blue that was priced at $200, which was an increase from the $185 price tag of 2013’s Air Jordan 11 Gamma Blue. See the trend? So it’s possible you could be looking at $240 or maybe $250 even for the Space Jams before taxes. That’s nearly $500 for two retros and you have to “work” twice as hard to get them and they won’t come in a special box like a retro pack would. And we’re all going to buy them because we’re suckers fans. It’s the price we pay to stay in this sneaker game. Save for this weekend’s Air Jordan 12 The Master and the Flu Game 12s, I can see myself not really buying too many kicks between now and Thanksgiving just to both save up money (not really a problem) and patience (little problem), energy (actual problem) and good will to connects (biggest problem).

Yay?

While I am glad that the Air Jordan 11 Space Jam is returning, there’s still the issue of the Air Jordan 3 making an all-too-soon comeback. If you’ll recall, Jordan Brand’s David Schechter said towards the end of 2014 that the 3 would be “going back in the vault.” In my mind, going back in the vault means that we won’t be seeing a new retail release for at least a minimum of five years. But then we started hearing rumors of an Air Jordan 3 and Air Jordan 8 pack that pays homage to Kobe Bryant’s career which turned out to be true, although the talk of that pack eventually dropping at retail hasn’t slowed down. There was the Air Jordan 3 Black/Cement at the Air Jordan XXX launch that looked way too new and clean to be the 2001 retro. And now word of the True Blue making a return is all but confirmed with the only thing missing is a leaked sample. Not that we’re saying the Jumpman is being a little disingenuous when they claim something is going away for a while, but maybe their definition of “going back in the vault” could use a little clarity.

Needless to say, this Holiday season is going to be a very busy time for sneakerheads. Actually, we always say that, but this one might top all of the previous seasons that came before. Two certified classics dropping in the same year? You could say that 2011’s Air Jordan 3 Black/Cement and Air Jordan 11 Concord combo or 2012’s Air Jordan 4 Playoffs and Air Jordan 11 Playoffs two-fer were better, but their Black Friday releases didn’t have “Nike Air” branding. The True Blue will more than likely have it. But what if it’s not the True Blue 3s that we have to worry about? What if it’s something else we weren’t expecting at all?

Welp, what could that mean? Is that the “price” we’re going to pay this time around?

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