Beaters: Air Jordan V Retro ‘Grape’ VS Air Jordan V Retro ‘Black Grape’

Published on April 3rd, 2013 | by Jeremy M | 0 Comments | 1,859 Views

Welcome to the first installment of our new segment “Beaters” Where two shoes are pitted against each other to see which pair reigns supreme and stays deadstock while the loser is subjected to a fate that no sneaker wants to face: becoming a pair of beaters. Each sneaker will go through a series of categories; whichever sneaker wins the most rounds will be crowned the champion.

Now that we know the rules Let’s meet our contenders:


It’s old school VS new school today with the Air Jordan V Retro “Grape” colorway facing off against the brand new Air Jordan V Retro “Black Grape”. Today’s matchup will be a tough one. A classic Air Jordan colorway meets its bizarro incarnation, the Air Jordan V Retro “Black Grape”.

Two very similar shoes enter. Only one will come out the victor.

Round One: Hype

Air Jordan V Retro “Grape”
The Air Jordan V “Grape” was first released in 1990 where they weren’t met with the same enthusiasm as they are today. The AJV Grapes sat on shelves and most pairs found their way to many shoe stores’ bargain rack. You could argue that the AJV Grape was ahead of its time, as the shoe became one of the most sought after Air Jordan V colorways ever with prices skyrocketing to unbelievable amounts. Originally, the shoe sold for $125 but can now be found on the internet for no less than a few hundred dollars (we even found one pair for $1,000). In 2006 sneakerheads were treated to the model’s first retro release which was met with great enthusiasm. Now in 2013 the shoe is being retroed again and it’s one of the most anticipated releases of the year.

Air Jordan V Retro “Black Grape”
News of The Air Jordan Jordan V “Black Grape” first started hit sneaker blogs in March 2013. The shoe was met with mixed reception. There were the OG heads who claimed that Jordan Brand was failing and only wanted money. People also complained that the shoes were ugly and that the quality had diminished. There were also individuals that were completely stoked to add something fresh to their sneaker collection. With a black nubuck upper instead of leather and an emerald and purple midsole, these kicks were the EXACT opposite of the leather bound, pure, OG colorway.

The Verdict:
While the Black Grapes are awesome, they just haven’t received the same praise and anticipation, but don’t sleep on the black grapes, their time will come and maybe in the future their worth will be as much as their white counterparts.

Round Winner: Air Jordan V Retro “Grape”

Round 2: Concept

Air Jordan V Retro “Grape”
The AJV was designed by legendary sneaker architect, Tinker Hatfield, who worked on many shoes in the Air Jordan line, including the Air Jordan III. The AJV was the first shoe to feature a clear “icey” sole, and idea which Hatfield got from designing Marty Mcfly’s sneakers in Back To The Future II. The icey soles became a staple in the AJV shoe line. Another interesting feature of the shoe are the “flames” or “teeth” that Hatfield added to the side of the shoe when he noticed that Michael’s playing style was aggressive and dangerous like a fighter plane. Hatfield based the “teeth” off of the Supermarine Spitfire MkVIII aircraft which featured a similar design. The last interesting thing to note about the shoe was the fact that the tongue had a touch of 3M material which reflected bright lights and made MJ look like even more of a superstar on the court when photos were snapped of him.

While the AJV Grapes colorway don’t have a real “concept” behind them, the OG colorway was made with the above in mind with an all white leather upper and emerald and purple being featured on the tongue and midsole, while the white contrasted the colors nicely. It’s a shame that they weren’t as well received as they are now.

Air Jordan V Retro “Black Grape”
Being an Air Jordan V model, the above paragraph applies to this shoe as well, and though there is also no “real” concept behind this shoe’s colorway, the use of nubuck instead of leather is a nice change and the black also contrasts  against the purple and emerald very well.

The Verdict:
While I absolutely adore the Black Grapes the only thing that sets them apart from the OG colorway is the fact that they’re black instead of white. OG colorway wins here because of seniority.

Round Winner: Air Jordan V Retro “Grape”

Round 3: Rarity

Air Jordan V Retro “Grape”
If history repeats itself, then the AJV “Grapes” will be very, very difficult to cop. These shoes are one of the most anticipated shoe releases of the year and there will be hypebeasts lining up to buy three pairs. One to rock, one to stock, and one to resell for way above retail price.

Air Jordan V Retro “Black Grape”
The AJV “Black Grapes” will probably be the easier pair to obtain for a couple of reasons:

1. They’re not as well received.
2. They’re not an OG colorway.

The only difficult part about getting these shoes is the fact that they ARE heat and it’s a strong colorway. People who purchase the White Grapes may purchase the Black Grapes as well.

The Verdict:
The Air Jordan V Retro “Grape” colorway is going to be harder to cop than the “Black Grapes”. Good luck trying to buy a pair. You might want to try growing a pair instead.

Round Winner: Air Jordan V “Grape”

Round 4: Edibleness

Unfortunately both AJV colorways are shoes and are inedible (except in EXTREME conditions, in which the white grapes look tastier.)

Round Winner: TIE (Points awarded to both sneakers)


Both AJV colorways are great, and I love them both but as the scoreboard shows:

Hype: AJV “Grape”
Concept: AJV “Grape”
Rarity: AJV “Grape”
Edibleness: TIE

The Air Jordan V Retro “Grapes” win this battle with a score of 4-1. I’m sorry, Black Grape but maybe someday in the future you too will be a force to be reckoned with like your sibling, but until then you will be some sneakerhead’s next pair of beaters.

Until then, let us know in the comments how you feel about our winner, and if you have any ideas for a future a Beaters matchup shoot your suggestions to and if you’re lucky you’ll see your matchup on the next installment of Beaters!

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