The Air Jordan 4 Bred, otherwise known as the Black Cement, is set to release on May 4th, and while that’s still more than two weeks away, it’s already doing major numbers on our marketplace. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the classic silhouette, and Jordan Brand has a full year of celebratory releases planned. But none are more anticipated than the Air Jordan 4 Bred.
There are many things to appreciate about this particular Jordan 4 release, but one of the most profound is the sense of grand historical scale it is able to conjure. These days, the events of sneaker culture – like the wider culture it inhabits and reflects – proceed at a rapid, even frenzied pace. The breakneck calendar of new releases, new storylines, and new Ws and Ls, unfolds at a weekly if not daily cadence. Our attentions are strained by the non-stop stream of new events, making it difficult to distinguish between moments that are truly momentous and those of mere passing importance. The Air Jordan 4 Bred takes the breakneck speed of sneaker culture and slows it way down. Its history is measured, not in weeks, but decades.
The Air Jordan 4 Bred (aka Black Cement) debuted in 1989 and solidified its legend like so many other Jordan silhouettes – on the court. Michael Jordan’s Bulls, still a young team two years removed from their first NBA championship, were in a fierce first-round battle against the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the closing seconds of a decisive Game 5, Jordan took the inbound pass, drove to the foul line, and rose up to take the winning shot over guard Craig Ehlo, one of the Cavs’ best defenders. Ehlo jumped to block the shot, but Jordan hung in the air a split second longer than any other human possibly could. And once Ehlo’s outstretched arm had passed, he took and sunk The Shot. On his feet: the Air Jordan 4 Bred.
The Jordan 4 is still more than two weeks away from its official release, slated for May 4. But even at this early date, we’re already seeing a high number of sales on our marketplace- more than 1,000 as of this publication. This type of pre-release sales activity is exceedingly uncommon. We crunched the numbers and found only two other sneakers which had 1,000+ pre-release sales more than two weeks before their official release. One was the Jordan 1 High Game Royal back in July 2018; the other was the Jordan 11 Concord that released in December. Both went on to become two of the biggest sneaker releases in StockX history, in terms of sheer sales volume. So if the Air Jordan 4 Bred follows their same trajectory, it will likely be one of the biggest – if not the biggest – sneaker releases of the year.
As far as profits for resellers, it’s a bit early to speculate as to what the eventual price premiums for the Air Jordan 4 Bred will look like. As a general rule, Jordan 4s are among the most profitable Jordan silhouettes, with an average 50% price premium across all colorways. The only other silhouette to earn more cash for resellers is the venerable Jordan 1. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t occasional misses. Back in January of this year, Jordan Brand kicked off the Jordan 4 30th Anniversary celebration with the Jordan 4 Laser Black Gum. Following its release, the resale value of the Laser 4s fell below retail. Among Jordan 4s with at least 500 StockX sales, it ranked dead last in resale profit (as you can see in the chart below).
But the Air Jordan 4 Bred will likely prove much more attractive for resellers. Indeed, the more appropriate comp is likely the 2012 Black Cement – the most recent iteration of the Bred colorway. That sneaker has resold for an average of 2x retail over, making it the 5th most profitable Jordan 4 among those with 500+ sales.
But at the end of the day, the 2019 Air Jordan 4 Bred isn’t a sneaker made for short-term profits. Its significance is historical, not commercial: a rare reminder that our horizons extend beyond the day-to-day. And if early sales numbers provide any guidance, this colorway is on track to do enormous numbers on the resale market- an achievement befitting its genuinely historic status.