Marvel Studios’ newest superhero, Shang-Chi, triumphantly arrived on the scene and saved the world in style, and now the film’s star Simu Liu explains why his character wore Air Jordans.
Along with Shang-Chi’s fantastic martial arts skills, viewers couldn’t help but notice his choice of footwear throughout the film. Speaking with Inverse, Liu, an admitted sneakerhead in his own right, reveals he wasn’t initially on board with Shang-Chi doing his superhero thing in a pair of basketball kicks but eventually warmed up to the idea.
“I fought against it initially,” Liu told Inverse, “I remember doing the costume fitting and being like, ‘Is he the first superhero to wear running shoes?'” Shang-Chi is not the first superhero in a Marvel Studios film to wear sneakers, Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron wore silver adidas. “He should be wearing, like, battle boots or something. I didn’t see it the way they saw it.”
“As we got into production, I was like, Oh, it’s actually really cool,” Liu said. “It makes him relatable.
Liu told no lies because in the film’s an epic showdown between Shang-Chi and his evil father, Wenwu (Tony Leung), not only does the mythical Ten Rings take centerstage, but Shang-Chi’s Jordan Access sneakers stand out. The sneakers bred colorway is a perfect compliment to Shang-Chi’s superhero drip. It features a specially designed black and red top designed by Shang Chi’s mother and is passed onto him by his aunt in the film made from the Great Protector Dragon’s magical scales.
Marvel’s concept designer further explained why they settled on a pair of Jordan Brand sneakers, stating they went through plenty of designs but went with the kicks because they tell a story. Park broke down to Inverse that Shang Chi’s costume is a combination of things passed down from his mother and father, so they wanted to give him something that was his own.
“Whenever we design a costume, we’re trying to tell a story of that character,” Park says. “The dragon [armor] symbolizes Shang-Chi’s mom. The Ten Rings are given to him by his dad. He’s a product of his mom and dad. But he’s also a product of his time in America.”
“I wanted to give him a piece that’s solely his,” Park continued. “That’s why I added the shoes, to have something from the west that is his. That’s the story of him. You see it on his costume.”
In the sequel and future Avenger films, we hope Shang Chi gets an upgrade to some Jordan 1s. He deserves a pair.
Shang Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings is now streaming on Disney+.
Photos: Ryan Emberley / Kevin Winter / Getty
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