Designed by Tinker Hatfield, the stylish Air Jordan XII is said to be inspired by both a women's fashion shoe and the Japanese flag. The pattern of the upper was stitched to resemble a rising sun, and the toe pieces feature a faux reptile pattern.

The XII features the word TWO 3 down the tongue, metal lace loops with Jumpman logos and a pull tab running up the heel that reads "QUALITY INSPIRED BY THE GREATEST PLAYER EVER". The XII has a full-length carbon fiber shank.

Originally released in five colorways, the Air Jordan XII gained a following throughout the 1996-1997 season, and most notably when Michael wore the Black/Red colorway against the Utah Jazz in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals. Although he was ill at the time, MJ still torched the Jazz for 38 points in what became known as the "Flu Game."

The Air Jordan XII White/Varsity Red/Black "Rising Sun" colorway features an all-white upper. Every other panel is perforated leather to further resemble a rising sun. The side toe piece is white patent leather with a faux reptile print. The outsole is white and black with a red accent. The mostly white "Rising Sun" XII is a colorway paying homage to the original inspiration of the shoe. With the release date delayed, MJ's son, Marcus, wore the all-white XII in the midst of the UCF shoe debacle.

The "Flu Game" Air Jordan XII features a black nubuck upper with red faux reptile print accents. The "Flu Game" logo can be seen on the back heel as well as running up the tongue. The numbers 97 and 38 are incorporated in the logo representing the year and number of points when the game occurred. The originally Black/Red AJ XII is all leather, but for the "Flu Game" tribute shoe Jordan Brand decided to switch to a nubuck upper. The Black/Red colorway of the XII is a classic sneaker remembered for when Pippen helped MJ off the court after an exhausting win.

The Air Jordan XII White/Red is one of the most anticipated Jordan retros in recent years. It is the only original colorway of the AJ XII that has not been released in some form or another. Michael wore the classic colorway throughout the 1996-1997 season and a caricature of him wearing the White/Red Jordan XII was shown on the cover of Sports Illustrated on March 10, 1997.