History Of Air Jordan
Air Jordan I | Designer : Peter Moore | Released : 1985 | Original Price : $65
Modern sneaker culture had its roots in the air; that is, the original Air Jordan that released in 1985. Nike, and subsequently the Jordan Brand, has honored this iconic silhouette numerous times since with releases of the Retro 1.
The Chicago Bulls used their third overall draft pick on Jordan, a 1982 NCAA champion who would go on to win Olympic gold later in the summer of 1984. Jordan signed a five-year endorsement deal with Nike, reportedly worth $2.5 million (plus royalties), an enormous outlay for an athlete who hadn't yet proven himself on the professional level.
The NBA banned the original Air Jordan for not meeting the league's stringent policy on uniforms and colors. Jordan wore them anyway and faced a $5,000-per-game fine as a result. Recognizing a unique marketing opportunity when it presented itself, Nike happily paid the fine. And MJ rocked them all the way to his Rookie of the Year honor.
This Air Jordan was the only one in the series to feature the familiar Nike Swoosh logo. And predating the Jumpman logo, the OG shoe featured the Wings logo - a basketball with wings stretching from both sides and "Air Jordan" printed above the ball. Nike filed the Wings logo as a trademark on May 7, 1985.
Leather overlays on the upper offered durability and easy color blocking, and a perforated leather toe box lent ventilation.
Air Jordan II | Designer : Bruce Kilgore | Released : 1986 | Original Price : $100
Nike faced a unique challenge following the unprecedented success of the original Air Jordan; how to follow it up. The popularity of the shoe's namesake, Michael Jordan, already had begun outgrowing his home country, and Nike went to Italy to produce the Air Jordan II.
While this nod to internationally renowned Italian style was the first - and to date, only - Air Jordan produced in that country, it wasn't the only first for the franchise. Bruce Kilgore, who also had designed the Air Force One, made the AJ II the first to not feature Nike's familiar Swoosh logo. "Nike" appeared across the top of the heel counter, and the Wings logo of the original Air Jordan was on the tongue.
The AJ II shared a silhouette with the Nike Air Python that released in 1987, including a faux lizard skin upper and swooping lines that resembled those of a sports car (which would factor prominently into the Jordan line in years to come). Known among sneaker collectors as the first "luxury" basketball shoe, the AJ II paved the way for the heat that would accompany the Air Jordan III.
In the testing phase for the AJ II, Jordan wore a prototype that featured the upper of the original Air Jordan fused with the cushioning of the AJ II. The new edition included a full-length Air-Sole unit meant to add extra cushioning for Jordan's sore feet. He only got to wear the AJ II for 18 games due to a broken foot.
Air Jordan III | Designer : Tinker Hatfield | Released : 1988 | Original Price : $100
If the basketball world was still getting to know Michael Jordan, the ad campaign surrounding the Air Jordan III introduced one prominent playground baller who knew MJ, and MJ's increasingly prominent shoes, all too well.
Released in 1988, the rollout of the AJ III included TV spots featuring actor/director Spike Lee as Mars Blackmon, from his 1986 film "She's Gotta Have It" sparking a series of catch phrases heard 'round the sneaker world.
Architect-turned-designer Tinker Hatfield took the lead on this, the first of more than two dozen Air Jordans he would go on to design. Hatfield sparked some style trends on the AJ III that have continued well into the 21st century. Most notably, he introduced elephant print overlays on the upper that have resurfaced periodically - in reissues of the AJ III as well as other Jordan models - ever since.
Prior to the AJ III, basketball shoes were mostly just basketball shoes. Hatfield knew Jordan was into luxury and rolled that into the designs for Jordan's signature shoes. While the Air Jordan II featured luxurious elements reflected in its Italian construction, Hatfield took this concept to a new level, even involving Jordan in the search for the right leathers to use on the shoe.
Another first on the Air Jordan III; it was the first Jordan signature sneaker to feature the now-famous Jumpman logo. The now-ubiquitous image is a silhouette of Jordan dunking on a 1985 Nike poster.
Finally, the shoe was the first Air Jordan to feature a visible Air-Sole unit under the heel. It retained Nike's "Air" embroidery on the heel, encapsulated Air in the forefoot, and a polyurethane midsole for cushioning.
Jordan averaged 35 points per game while wearing the AJ III to a fourth straight All-Star Game. There, among the game's elite, MJ earned MVP and a second straight Slam Dunk title, this time by flying in from the free-throw line.
The AJ III was first retro'd in 1994.
Air Jordan IV | Designer : Tinker Hatfield | Released : 1989 | Original Price : $110
Following the success of the Air Jordan III, designer Tinker Hatfield delivered one of the more comfortable Air Jordans in the series, the Air Jordan IV.
The Jumpman logo made its second appearance on the tongue but with the word "Flight" added below it.
Carrying over from the AJ III were the sculpted midsole and the visible Air unit and padded tongue and collar.
The sneaker world was introduced to nubuck with the upper of the Air Jordan IV. The AJ IV featured mesh for the first time, increasing breathability. Multiple areas of the AJ IV featured plastic. A lean triangular plastic piece attached to the nubuck heel was connected to a hard plastic lace holder. The lace holder at the forefoot added lockdown.
A plastic heel tab that read "Nike Air" was similar to that of the AJ III. Also on the upper, a plastic grid pattern that lay over the breathable mesh and behind the triangular piece.
Mars Blackmon returned to the ad campaign marketing the shoe, continuing a relationship that has continued - to varying degrees - well into the 21st century.
Ten years after its original release, Nike retro'd the AJ IV in 1999; it sold out immediately.
Wearing the AJ IV, MJ was voted to his fifth consecutive All-Star game and won the league scoring title for the third consecutive year. One of the most memorable AJ IV moments was when Michael hit the series-clinching, hanging jumper over Cleveland's Craig Ehlo in the first round of the playoffs - better known as "The Shot"
Air Jordan V | Designer : Tinker Hatfield | Released : 1990 | Original Price : $125
The Air Jordan V was a statement of Michael Jordan's aggressive nature on the court. Released in February 1990 for $125, the AJ V featured a sharktooth design on the lateral (outer) midsole that designer Tinker Hatfield drew from a World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane.
Hatfield also reflected the attitude of "aggression" both in the traction the shoe offered, and by molding foam into the upper. The AJ V also introduced the concept of "iced" outsoles of translucent rubber, as well as the inclusion of lace-lock toggles.
The designer carried over the visible Air-Sole unit from the AJ III and AJ IV, as well as the mesh from the AJ IV.
An embroidered Jumpman logo graced a tongue that, in certain colorways, also featured 3M reflectivity on the outside. "Air Jordan" was stitched inside.
Another first on the AJ V was an offset ankle collar, designed to boost support while offering flexibility where a player needed it most. The overall cut of the shoe was higher than previous models.
The Grape Purple/Emerald colorway was the first time those colors had appeared on a basketball shoe. And it brought even further attention to MJ and his sneakers at a time when his game already was turning heads.
During that season, Jordan earned his sixth straight All-Star Game appearance, won his fourth straight league scoring title, and was named to the All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team. He and his Bulls were not able to get past Detroit in the conference finals, but they were knocking on the proverbial door to something truly special.
Air Jordan VI | Designer : Tinker Hatfield | Released : 1991 | Original Price : $125
The Air Jordan VI is a fixture in basketball history. Released in February 1991, Michael Jordan wore it to the Chicago Bulls' first championship just a few months later.
While the sports world focused its attention on MJ's emotional first embrace of the coveted Larry O'Brien trophy, with his father looking on proudly, the sneaker world was trying to catch glimpses of what was on his feet.
Most apparent on the AJ VI was the leather overlays, which upon careful inspection reveal a "2" and a "3" to honor MJ's uniform number.
Carrying over from the AJ V were the sculpted midsole, Vis-Air heel cushioning, and translucent ("frosty") outsole. And while the original releases consisted of leather, the Black/Infrared colorway included rich suede.
But largely, the AJ VI included a clean toe cap, a rubber tongue with finger loops, lace locks, a molded heel tab, and an inner booty sleeve designed for comfort.
Years later, Ray Allen and Vin Baker would wear the White/Navy/Red colorway at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. But the shoe's popularity reached well beyond the hardwood, as comedian Jerry Seinfeld wore it on early episodes of his eponymous sit-com, "Seinfeld".
While MJ wore the shoe, he averaged 31.5 points per game on his way to a fifth straight scoring title. He also earned first-team All-NBA, first-team All-Defense, and a seventh straight All Star appearance to go along with the league MVP honor. And to cap it off, MJ earned Finals MVP, all of which likely paled in comparison to clutching that trophy.
Air Jordan VII | Designer : Tinker Hatfield | Released : 1992 | Original Price : $125
Like Michael Jordan, Tinker Hatfield set out to repeat as a winner with a championship-caliber design on the Air Jordan VII.
Released in 1992, the AJ VII drew inspiration from West African tribal art, with bold lines on the midsole.
It also incorporated Nike's Huarache technology - named for a Mexican style of sandal - as a neoprene inner booty to improve comfort and fit. This helped eliminate extra weight and made it one of the lightest basketball shoes at the time.
The visual paid homage to west African tribal art, featuring bold lines on the midsole. A USA colorway released later that year commemorated the "Dream Team," Team USA that went on to dominate international competition. This was white, trimmed in blue, red, and gold.
The AJ VII bid farewell to the visible Air-Sole, the translucent outsole, and the prominent Nike Air logo (except on the insole). The upper carried over the toecap from the VI.
Among other changes in the Air Jordan series, ads shifted from MJ's collaboration with Mars Blackmon to Michael and Bugs Bunny. One commercial featured the duo both wearing the AJ VII beating another team in a game of hoops.
MJ wore the Olympic-inspired colorway to a gold medal with the incomparable "Dream Team" at the 1992 summer games in Barcelona. That pair featured the number 9 on the heel, MJ's jersey number on Team USA. He won his sixth straight scoring title while wearing the AJ VII and was again named first team All-NBA, first team All-Defense and an All-Star for the seventh consecutive time. He was voted league MVP for the second straight year and won his second NBA Championship ring and Finals MVP with Chicago.
Air Jordan VIII | Designer : Tinker Hatfield | Released : 1993 | Original Price : $125
It was the third time he'd done it, but it was still a first for Michael Jordan. It was 1993 when MJ won his third NBA championship. But it was the first 'three-peat' of his storied career.
Earlier, in February, MJ saw the launch of his Air Jordan VIII. This edition of his signature footwear, the heaviest ever in the line, featured a splash of color along the heel and on the midsole and outsole.
The brand returned to its padded collar from the Huarache style of the VII, and the inner booty sock returned as well. Also returning was Bugs Bunny in the shoe's marketing campaign.
One aesthetic twist was the carpeted circular Jumpman logo on the tongue; the only such appearance in the Jordan line.
The shoe consisted of a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) support and a polycarbonate plate, along with anti-inversion crossing straps to lock down the foot. Extra padding added protection but also added weight.
Jordan originally produced three colorways of the AJ VIII: White/Black/Red (leather), and two suede versions, Black/Red and Black/Aqua. The Aqua, which MJ wore in the February 1993 All-Star Game, remains highly sought after, selling out immediately when it was reissued in 2007.
The player netted first-team All-NBA, first-team All-Defense, and made his eighth consecutive All-Star Game. Wearing the AJ VIII, MJ scored 32.6 points per game to garner his seventh straight scoring title and was named NBA Finals MVP for the third straight year.
Air Jordan IX | Designer : Tinker Hatfield | Released : November 1993 | Original Price : $125
After leading Chicago to a third straight championship in 1993, the maestro walked off the stage. Michael Jordan shocked the basketball world by retiring that October.
He signed with the Class AA minor-league Birmingham Barons the following February, and as he worked his way through the bus leagues, Nike prepared the Air Jordan IX to hit the hardwood without him. Penny Hardaway, Kendall Gill, B.J. Armstrong, and Mitch Richmond each wore an exclusive version of the shoe during the 1993-94 season. And, a decade later, a high school senior named LeBron James wore the White/Green/Gold colorway to commemorate his school, St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron, Ohio.
The AJ IX became the first Air Jordan that the man himself would never wear in competition. Though, ironically, it's the AJ IX that's depicted on the statue of MJ outside the United Center in Chicago.
Nike built the AJ IX's upper with leather, nubuck, and mesh. The nubuck area wrapped around the toe and included reflective sparkles in three of the four original colorways. The inner booty sockliner carried over from the previous two Air Jordans. A one-pull lacing system debuted with the AJ IX.
A polyurethane midsole sat atop the rubber outsole in a tooth-like design. The back of the shoe featured a molded plastic globe graphic with a Jumpman logo. The sole of the shoes featured words in different languages, symbolizing MJ's popularity expanding globally.
He retired from baseball on March 10, 1995, and returned to the hardwood on March 19.
He wore number 45 for the remainder of that season - his 23 had been retired, though he defiantly put it back on for game 2 of that year’s Eastern Conference semifinals - and wore the next shoe in his signature line, the Air Jordan X.
Air Jordan X | Designer : Tinker Hatfield | Released : 1994 | Original Price : $125
When Michael Jordan returned to the NBA on March 19, 1995, against the Indiana Pacers, he wore the "Chicago" colorway of the Air Jordan X.
The AJ X's design was very simplistic. It featured clean lines, lightweight cushioning, and an outsole that commemorated his career to that point. The original "steel" version was designed with a stitched toe piece, which MJ didn't like. So all subsequent colorways of the AJ X had a clean toe cap.
The AJ X featured a padded collar, pull tab at the heel, and an elastic band lacing system. Nike built the midsole of the AJ X of Phylon lightweight foam. It was connected to a rubber outsole that listed Jordan's career achievements on alternating stripes.
The other original colorways were part of the city series that featured five color schemes of NBA teams: Chicago, Orlando, New York, Sacramento, and Seattle. These have become some of the most sought-after Air Jordans. The "Chicago," for example, has sold for thousands of dollars online.
Nine days after Jordan told the world "I'm back," he walked into Madison Square Garden and singed the Knicks for 55 points. MJ guided his Bulls back to the playoffs, but the Orlando Magic - led by Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O'Neal - dismissed them in six games in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
Air Jordan XI | Designer : Tinker Hatfield | Released : 1995 | Original Price : $125
Thanks to great performance coupled with an innovative design, the Air Jordan XI (particularly the Concord colorway) is one of the most-loved sneakers ever. Sole Collector magazine voted the XI the top shoe of all time.
Tinker Hatfield watched video of Michael Jordan and noticed MJ's foot would roll off the foot bed on hard cuts. So Hatfield took that opportunity to blend substance with style, adding patent leather for the first time on a basketball shoe. Patent leather was stronger, and it fit MJ's reported desire to have a shoe that could be worn with a suit.
The upper consisted of a polymer-coated, thin nylon ballistic mesh material. The collar and tongue were padded for ankle comfort. The translucent - 'frosty' - outsole lay atop the shank plate for extra spring. The shoe also included a full-length Air-Sole unit.
MJ wore the Black/Varsity Royal/White version in the movie Space Jam. Jordan also wore the same "Air Jordan XI Space Jam" shoe in the playoffs. Many Jordan brand athletes have worn the AJ XI over the years; Ray Allen sported a White/Green/Gold version during the Celtics' 2008-09 season.
When the AJ XI was made, MJ was quoted as saying someone would one day wear them with a tuxedo. Months later, Boyz II Men appeared at an awards show wearing tuxes and AJ XIs.
Air Jordan XII | Designer : Tinker Hatfield | Released : November 1996 | Original Price : $135
Tinker Hatfield drew from a very different area in designing the Air Jordan XII, taking inspiration from the Japanese flag.
The AJ XII was clean and simple. The rich leather upper was stitched to resemble a rising sun, while faux reptile leather comprised the toe and accent overlays. The AJ XII featured the slogan "TWO 3" down the tongue, metal lace loops with Jumpman logos, and a pull tab that ran up the entire heel that read, "QUALITY INSPIRED BY THE GREATEST PLAYER EVER."
This was the first Air Jordan to feature an ultra-responsive Zoom Air unit, as well as lateral and medial support panels designed to work together to create one of the most durable shoes in the signature series. The shoe also had a full-length carbon fiber shank like its predecessor.
Originally released in five colorways, the AJ XII's offerings included the Black/Red that MJ wore during Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz, a game that came to be known as "The Flu Game." Michael had fallen ill in the middle of the night prior to that game, and his appearance was questionable as he lay on a table in the locker room right up until game time. But he dragged himself up and onto the court. Not only did he play, he created a performance for the ages as he led all scorers with 38 points, including a big 3-pointer that put Chicago up for good with 25 seconds to play. The shoe he wore during that game is known among collectors as "Flu Game XII."
Other colors of the AJ XII saw the floor during that season as well. Jordan wore the Black/White shoe during 1997 playoffs. With the AJ XII on his feet, MJ made his 11th All-Star game, won his ninth NBA scoring title, and was named first-team All-NBA and first-team All-Defense. He won his fifth NBA title and NBA Finals MVP while wearing the XII.
Beginning in 2003, the Air Jordan XII was re-released in several additional colors.
Air Jordan XIII | Designer : Tinker Hatfield | Released : 1997 | Original Price : $150
Michael Jordan attacked the court - and opponents - with the quickness, power, and ferocity of a predatory cat. Tinker Hatfield tapped into this feel for the Air Jordan XIII, not even realizing at the time that some of MJ's friends already had been calling him the "Black Cat."
Released on Nov. 1, 1997, the Air Jordan XIII was loaded with both performance and design elements. Perhaps the most prominent feature was a hologram on the upper that resembled the eye of a panther, while the outsole featured a paw-like design. The XIII also featured Zoom Air in the heel and forefoot, and a Phylon lightweight-foam midsole. That and podular tooling made this possibly the most comfortable Air Jordan in the series.
A carbon fiber shank in the midfoot lent torsional rigidity, and an asymmetrical collar was designed to balance ankle support with flexibility needed for hard cuts.
The XIII originally was released in five colorways for the mid and two for the low. MJ favored the white-based colorways at home and the black-based on the road. He wore the mid through the 1997-98 season and into the playoffs (until he introduced the AJ XIV in the 1998 finals against Utah, beating the Jazz for a third straight championship).
That season, MJ was voted to his 12th All-Star Game, where he again earned MVP. He also won his record-setting 10th straight league scoring title and was named first-team All-NBA and first-team All-Defense. MJ's sixth NBA championship would net him his sixth NBA Finals MVP honor as well.
Air Jordan XIV | Designer : Tinker Hatfield & Mark Smith | Released : 1998 | Original Price : $150
Tinker Hatfield teamed up with Mark Smith on the Air Jordan XIV. Introduced during the 1998 NBA Finals, it would be the last shoe Michael Jordan would wear as a Chicago Bull.
MJ hit the famous "Last Shot" in the Black/Red colorway of the AJ XIV, sinking the Utah Jazz for the second straight time in the finals. Seven years later, Jordan brand athletes rocked the Retro XIV when it began hitting retail shelves. One hot OG colorway, the Indiglos, have yet to be re-released.
Hatfield and Smith modeled the XIV after MJ's love for exotic sports cars, inspired specifically by a Ferrari. The AJ XIV featured a Ferrari-like shield featuring a Jumpman logo, just one of seven Jumpman logos on each shoe; a total of 14 per pair. The logo is visible on the side heel, outsole, insole, back heel, toe, and on the metal lace tips.
The shoe's asymmetrical collar was designed to blend ankle support with flexibility, while Hatfield and Smith worked breathable mesh vents into the outsole. They also included dual Zoom Air units into the outsole, and the low-profile heel and forefoot gave the AJ XIV a sleek silhouette as well as a comfortable ride.
Air Jordan XV | Designer : Tinker Hatfield | Released : 1999 | Original Price : $150
Michael Jordan announced his retirement on Jan. 13, 1999, prior to the beginning of the lockout-shortened season. So designer Tinker Hatfield was once again challenged to design a shoe that MJ would never wear on the court. Hatfield again tapped an aspect of MJ's playing style, this time drawing inspiration from the X-15 fighter plane, which set speed and altitude records through the 1960s.
Like its inspiration, the AJ XV had an aggressive, sharp-edged silhouette. The upper was built with a woven Kevlar material, it had a fully molded Pebax reinforced heel counter, and it incorporated a large mesh tongue that stuck out (mimicking MJ himself). The heel counter featured numbers significant to MJ's career: 23.6.15 represented his jersey number, the number of titles he won, and the shoe model. The heel counter extended to the outsole and read 2.17, Jordan's birthday.
The XV featured a hidden speed-lacing system, a seamless dynamic-fit sleeve, rubber herringbone traction pods, an injected thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) external heel counter and a breathable leather pattern. The XV also featured a full Zoom Air for low-profile cushioning.
The original was released in four colorways in 1999-2000. The XV was also released in player-exclusive colors including White/Green, White/Carolina Blue, White/Red and White/Purple. Several Team Jordan athletes sported the Air Jordan XV: Mike Bibby, Michael Finley, Ray Allen, Derek Anderson, and Reggie Miller.
Air Jordan XVI | Designer : Wilson Smith III | Released : 2001 | Original Price : $160
Much like the man himself, the Air Jordan line went through a transition with the AJ XVI. Michael Jordan transitioned into his role as a part owner and the president of basketball operations with the Washington Wizards, and Wilson Smith III moved into the role of lead designer for the Air Jordan XVI.
Smith drew inspiration from marching boots, high-performance automobiles, and architecture. He designed the upper of the AJ XVI with lightweight mesh and included a full-length inner booty for sock-like comfort.
The shoe was styled with the boardroom in mind. It had a patent leather toe rand - taken from the AJ XI - and the full-grain leather and breathable mesh upper was covered by a unique removable shroud that allowed the AJ XVI to transition from the hardwood to the halls of power. The shroud was the first such lace cover on an Air Jordan since the AJ VIII and began a run of five Air Jordans that would cover the laces. The XVI included a magnetic fastening cover for added lockdown.
The square toe box was very roomy compared to previous Air Jordans, and the shoe returned to the visible Air-Sole cushioning and the frosty (translucent) outsole that was featured on Air Jordans V, VI and XI. The AJ XVI introduced a blow-molded heel and forefoot Zoom Air to the line as the Air Jordan progressed toward performance basketball.
Four colorways of the AJ XVI were released in 2001. The Black/Red and White/Navy versions featured patent leather toes and the wheat model had a rich suede upper. The Cherrywood color consisted of full-grain leather. Two low versions were released as well: White/Red and Black/Black.
Considered to be one of the most stylish off-court Air Jordans, Michael wore the XVI with a suit in ads for his brand back in 2001.
Air Jordan XVII | Designer : Wilson Smith III | Released : 2002 | Original Price : $200
When Michael Jordan resigned as the Washington Wizards' president of basketball operations and returned to the court, he did so in the Air Jordan XVII. Wilson Smith III made a return as well, as the designer of the AJ XVII.
Smith had a couple of inspirations for this shoe. About the time sketching for the AJ XVII started, the Jordan brand signed jazz musician Michael Phillips. Smith elicited the smooth lines and flow of a jazz solo as his theme for the AJ XVII. He also incorporated the fine details of the luxurious Aston Martin automobile, and the outsole design is said to resemble the fairways, sand traps, and greens of a golf course - testament to one of MJ's favorite pastimes.
The XVII featured a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) heel stabilizer, heel and forefoot Tuned Air (pods that adjust the amount of air they contain, a first for the Jordan line), a dynamic-fit sleeve, hidden quick-lace system, lace locks, a full-length composite shank plate, and variable-width lacing for a more snug fit. Among Smith's innovations was the inclusion of a removable midfoot cover, which allowed the wearer to choose whether the laces would be visible. This was a visual carryover from the AJ XVI.
A CD-ROM and metal briefcase also were included, contributing to making the AJ XVII the priciest Air Jordan ever produced at the time, with a suggested retail price of $200. It was the first and only Air Jordan to break the $200 barrier for all versions until the XX8 in 2013.
One slick innovation lay in the eyelets. If laced properly, the wearer could spell out "XVII" with the laces along the medial (inner) and lateral (outer) sides of the shoes.
The AJ XVII had multiple versions. Three colorways were released for mids: White/Blue, Black/Black, and White/Red. Another AJ XVII featured metallic copper and faux alligator leather on the heel. Three lows were released, including a White/Lightning All-Star version. Capping the AJ XVII run were three colorways of super low mule slip-ons.
In Jordan's first year back on the court with the Wizards, he averaged nearly 23 points per game. In January 2002, he scored his 30,000th point - fittingly against the Chicago Bulls - while wearing the AJ XVII. At his 13th All-Star Game, he wore the Air Jordan XVII Low in White/Lightning.
During the 2001-02 season, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, Mike Bibby, Michael Finley, and Eddie Jones were among the players who wore the AJ XVII.
Air Jordan XVIII | Designer : Tate Kuerbis | Released : 2003 | Original Price : $175
The Air Jordan XVIII marked another transition for Michael Jordan and the design team for the brand that bears his name. The shoe's release year, 2003, saw MJ's final NBA game, and Tate Kuerbis stepped in to design the 16th edition of MJ's signature shoe.
The senior footwear designer drew inspiration from high-end automobiles: sleek racing lines, F1 race cars and race driving shoes. Fine Italian dress shoes also inspired the stitching on the AJ XVIII's outsole.
It featured a one-piece leather upper, a carbon fiber comfort control plate incorporated into the midsole, a hand-stitched outsole, dual-layer heel and low-profile Zoom Air cushioning in the forefoot. The AJ XVII was released in a pull-out box with a cut-out "18" on the lid. It included a brush for the black suede colorway, a towel for cleaning, and the Air Jordan XVIII Driver's Manual booklet. The brand did a "Love" campaign surrounding the release of the AJ XVIII, celebrating MJ's career and final NBA season.
Jordan released three colorways of the AJ XVIII in 2003. The Black/Royal was made of suede, while the White/Royal and White/Red were leather. Two lows were released in Black/Black and White/University Blue. Along with the mids and lows, Jordan released the Air Jordan 18.5. The primary difference in design was a perforated Jumpman logo on the side of the upper.
In 2002-03, Michael Jordan wore the AJ XVIII and was selected to his 14th and final NBA All-Star Game. Other NBA players wearing the shoe included Richard Hamilton, Scottie Pippen, Ray Allen, Mike Bibby, Michael Finley, and Carmelo Anthony.
Air Jordan XIX | Designer : Tate Kuerbis, Wilson Smith III, Jason Mayden, Josh Heard, Suzette Henri | Released : 2004 | Original Price : $165
Senior Designer Tate Kuerbis returned to lead a team of Jason Mayden, Wilson Smith III, Josh Heard, and Suzette Henri in designing the Air Jordan XIX. The team drew from the deadly black mamba to reflect MJ's aggressive on-court persona. The AJ XIX featured lightweight, supportive Tech Flex material on the upper to create the lightest, most breathable Air Jordan to date. Tech Flex made the AJ XIX flexible while retaining support and comfort.
It featured a carbon fiber shank plate for torsional rigidity, a Phylon lightweight-foam midsole, patent leather toe box, a Velcro heel strap, and plastic lace-locks. A double-stacked heel and full-length Zoom Air ensured responsive, low-profile cushioning.
The AJ XIX's unique box opened from the middle, and each shoe came in a netted bag. Five colors of the original AJ XIX included the Black/Red, White/White/Grey, White/Black, White/Red, and White/Navy. Four AJ XIX SE colorways were released, as were four low-top models.
Carmelo Anthony, Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, Michael Finley, Mike Bibby, Ray Allen, and Richard Hamilton were among the players who wore the Air Jordan XIX.
Air Jordan XX | Designer : Tinker Hatfield | Released : 2005 | Original Price : $175
Michael Jordan had his grand returns; Tinker Hatfield had his when he retook the reins to design the commemorative Air Jordan XX that released in 2005.
As he had previously done with the AJ XIV, Hatfield once again drew on MJ's love of automobiles and motorsports. The XX also was the last in a five-model run of Air Jordans that covered the laces.
The shoe featured a ventilated sphere lining, an integrated midfoot support strap, a floating ankle leash, and an impact distribution plate. The midfoot strap offered lockdown while hiding the lacing system. Jordan introduced in the AJ XX the Independent Podular Suspension, a free-moving targeted cushioning technology.
The heel bore the numbers 85 and 05, signifying the year the Air Jordan line was born and the year the XX released. The outsole of the XX included 20 herringbone pods that displayed the heritage of the Air Jordan franchise. An interesting highlight of the AJ XX was the laser-etched logo treatment on the strap, created by Mark Smith, to pay homage to Jordan's life.
The XX released in three original colorways: White/Red/Black, Black/Black/Red, and White/Black/Red. Three regional colorways also were released: Chutney/White/Black, Red/White/Black, and University Blue/White/Black. A low and a 3/4 also were released in 2005.
Ray Allen and Carmelo Anthony were among the pros who wore the XX in the 2004-05 season.
Air Jordan XX1 | Designer : D'Wayne Edwards | Released : 2006 | Original Price : $175
D'Wayne Edwards began a two-shoe run as a lead designer on the Air Jordan line, taking the helm for the Air Jordan XX1. Maintaining the theme of sporty and/or luxurious automobiles that was popular throughout the Jordan line, Edwards drew his inspiration from a Bentley Continental GT coupe.
The embodiment of premium style and elegance featured a seamless diamond-quilted bootie, clean upper, and a lower foot air grille. The double-lasted Phylon lightweight-foam midsole lent a low-profile feel, while a carbon fiber shank plate allowed for maximum midfoot and arch support.
One innovative component of the AJ XX1 was the evolution of the Independent Podular Suspension technology. The wearer could choose between Zoom Air or encapsulated Air cushioning in the heel.
Two original colorways of the Air Jordan XX1 released in 2006. The White/Red model consisted of full-grain leather, while the Red/Black was constructed of rich suede. Two low versions also were released in white and in black.
The commercial for the AJ XX1 featured young athletes reenacting famous moments from Michael's career, including the shot on Craig Ehlo, recreations from the Slam Dunk contests, the "Last Shot," and the "Michael shrug." The tagline of the commercial was "Let your game speak."
Air Jordan XX2 | Designer : D'Wayne Edwards | Released : 2007 | Original Price : $165
D'Wayne Edwards returned for his second turn as the lead designer for a Jordan signature model. For the Air Jordan XX2, he drew his inspiration from the F-22 Raptor fighter jet, an apt embodiment of the lethal speed and agility of the game's greatest player.
The sharp lines of the XX2's upper were patterned after the sharp maneuverability of the F-22, and the shoe's efficient sculpted design and a stable extended heel counter made it lightweight and supportive, similar to the jet.
The shoe featured a triangular quilted pattern on the collar and a seamless bootie that maximized comfort and breathability. It featured zigzag stitching inspired by the jet. The first titanium-coated shank plate was built into the XX2, as were titanium lace loops/lace locks. An invisible Independent Podular Suspension system, updated from the previous Air Jordan cushioning system, offered responsive double-stacked Zoom Air low-profile cushioning or shock-absorbing encapsulated Air. A fresh chevron pattern was introduced to the outsole to improve traction.
The XX2 was released during the 2007 All-Star weekend on MJ's 44th birthday, Feb. 17. Fifteen original colorways of the XX2 included a special edition made out of basketball leather. Other colorways represented Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, and Seattle.
Joe Johnson, Josh Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Richard Hamilton, and Ray Allen all wore the XX2 during the 2007-08 season. At the 2007 All-Star game in Las Vegas, Hamilton and Allen each wore an XX2 Player Exclusive.
Air Jordan XX3 | Designer : Tinker Hatfield | Released : 2008 | Original Price : $185
Since Michael Jordan made 23 one of the most famous numbers in sports history, it made sense that the Air Jordan XX3 would be one of the most anticipated sneakers in footwear history. Tinker Hatfield returned to lead the design, and his take included new technology and craftsmanship to deliver a timeless addition to the Air Jordan lineage.
The XX3 was the first basketball shoe to incorporate the Nike Considered construction system, which was developed to reduce waste and use environmentally friendly materials without affecting the performance of the shoe. MJ's initials are stitched on the upper of each colorway. The shoe features a hand-stitched upper, articulated chassis, full-length quilted bootie, carbon fiber shank plate, and reinforced quarter panels.
It has the lowest-profile midsole of any of the Air Jordans, adding a responsive performance element. Zoom Air and tuned IPS pillars combined to lend cushioning. The tongue of each shoe features different logos: the left has a Jumpman and the right has a "23" logo. The outsole was modeled after MJ's thumbprint. This also was seen on the inside of the tongue to represent the impact and identity of the man himself, whose signature was included on the toe box.
To create buzz around the XX3, 23 pairs of the Titanium model were released at the top 23 locations in the United States, retailing for $230 on Jan. 25, 2008. An All-Star colorway was released that February, and other colorways included the White/Red, Grey/White/Black/Gold, and Stealth that released shortly after. A series of three more versions were produced to commemorate MJ's three teams: Black/University Blue/White for UNC, Black/Red/White for the Bulls, and Black/Royal/White for the Wizards. After the general releases, 23 pairs of a Black/Red XX3 were released at the top 23 locations just like the Titanium launch.
Chris Paul, Ray Allen, and Carmelo Anthony wore the XX3 in the NBA All-Star game. The XX3 was the last numbered Air Jordan shoe in the series for a while, as the next four Air Jordans would be named for the year each was created.
Air Jordan 2009 | Designer : Jason Mayden | Released : 2009 | Original Price : $190
After the Air Jordan XX3, the Jordan brand continued the iconic Air series but transitioned away from the numbered system. Each of the next four Air Jordan game shoes would be named after the year it was released. Senior Footwear Designer Jason Mayden was given the task of designing the Air Jordan 2009, his first lead effort after working with the design team on the XIX.
Focusing on MJ's defensive game, Mayden drew inspiration from the sport of fencing, where skill, strategy, and athleticism are key to success. This design also is influenced by the Air Jordan I, and the use of panache leather hearkens to the style of the AJ XI. The 2009 was the second Air Jordan to use the Nike Considered process, which focuses on low waste, and on water-based solvent materials that don't harm the environment.
The upper has a sleek pleated satin material for increased durability, and greater ventilation and lockdown. The lightweight design contours to the foot to maximize responsiveness and support.
The AJ 2009 has a Phylon lightweight-foam midsole for impact absorption and forefoot Zoom Air for cushioning. The design of the thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) chassis is inspired by blown glass, lending a unique look to every shoe. The carbon fiber arch plate assists midfoot support and performance by lending torsional rigidity.
As with the XX3, Articulated Propulsion Technology cushioning allows for quick lateral movement on the court. The herringbone outsole includes flex grooves for natural motion and multi-directional traction.
The 2009 launched in two colorways: White/Black/Grey and Black/Varsity Red. It was then released in the Black/Metallic Gold S23 colorway, which was limited to 2,009 pairs. Later in 2009, the Black/Varsity Red/White/Metallic Gold Hall of Fame colorway was released to commemorate MJ's induction.
Air Jordan 2010 | Designer : Tinker Hatfield & Mark Smith | Released : 2010 | Original Price : $170
In 2010, the Air Jordan line turned 25. Coming off the AJ 2009 designed by Jason Mayden, the Jordan brand tapped the vision of renowned designers Tinker Hatfield and Mark Smith to craft the 25th Air Jordan.
The two had collaborated on the AJ XIV, and continuing the unique style of the Air Jordan line, they went with a clear window on the side of the shoe meant to symbolize looking inside of Michael Jordan and his game. The midsole features a hidden quote from MJ. It looks like random texturing, but upon close inspection, it spells out a famous line from one of his commercials: "I've failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." The asymmetrical collar makes a return to the Air Jordan line with a higher medial (inner) side of the collar and the lateral (outer) side dropping lower than normal.
The 2010 has a clean toe and features a forefoot that is independent from the rest of the shoe, though a six-row stitch holds the toe piece together. It features clear thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) in only the essential areas on the shoe. The Phylon lightweight-foam midsole is carved out and contoured for the best on-court performance. A full-length Zoom Air unit is bottom-loaded into the outsole for low-profile shock dispersion. This was borrowed from the world of running shoes and hadn't been seen in basketball until now.
Light and low to the ground, the 2010 was built to feel broken-in on the first wear. It has a thinner Zoom Air bag that provides the player with a better ability to feel the floor. The sneaker caters to the modern basketball player who needs to get up and down the court faster and more often. It features a comfortable, glove-like fit assuring the shoe fits snugly against the foot. The protruding outrigger provides excellent lateral stability.
This 25th Air Jordan is another Considered product, which avoids using harmful toxins and is built using fewer glues, and less stitching, energy, and waste while using environmentally friendly materials.
Air Jordan 2011 | Designer : Tinker Hatfield & Tom Luedecke | Released : 2011 | Original Price : $180
For the Air Jordan 2011, the Jordan brand turned to respected design veterans Tinker Hatfield and Tom Luedecke.
The pair crafted several unique elements of the Jordan 2011 that highlight the high-quality craftsmanship, such as the fade of color in the leather, which can be hand-buffed for a change in color. In addition, the Jordan 2011 features a distinctive perforated pattern on the upper, a dynamic fit system and two mesh windows for breathability. This attention to detail is what makes the 2011 such an extraordinary product. To top it off, the 2011 features a crazy lacing system - set up like "five little seatbelts" - and a brilliant insole/cushioning system.
There are two cushioning options with the AJ 2011:
- The 'Explosive' option consists of red insoles for the explosive player. They feature soft Cushlon foam with a full-length air bag, creating a very responsive option for your feet.
- The 'Quick' alternative entails a blue insole of Phylon lightweight foam and Zoom Air low-profile cushioning in the heel and forefoot, as this option is more about impact protection.
They were packaged with the left shoe as the "Explosive" and the right as the "Quick," so wearers could tell right away which one was the right choice for them.
Luedecke said MJ gave the analogy of a warrior choosing his weapon before going into battle when referring to the player picking which insole to use.
Regardless of your style of play, the AJ 2011 looks good and offers multiple options to customize your ride on the court.
Air Jordan 2012 | Designer : Tinker Hatfield & Tom Luedecke | Released : Feb. 25, 2012 | Original Price : $180
The veteran design team from the Air Jordan 2011 joined creative forces again as Tinker Hatfield and Tom Luedecke teamed up to create the Air Jordan 2012. The pair drew inspiration from the dancing shoes of the 1920s and ’30s, when jazz was all the rage. The people who danced in these wingtip shoes were considered bold, confident, and youthful. That was the thought the designers wanted in the AJ 2012.
The AJ 2012 was a next-step evolution of the optional insoles of the AJ 2011, being designed around the idea of “One Shoe, Three Flights.” This is a reference to the three midsole cushioning options that allow ballers to control the game based on their individual playing styles.
- The “Fly Around” midsole is meant for quick perimeter players who rely on speed and agility to reach the basket. It features forefoot foam and a Zoom Air low-profile cushioning unit in the heel.
-The “Fly Over” midsole is for the player who relies on elevation and off-the-ground explosiveness to impact the game. This midsole has a Zoom Air unit in the forefoot and an encapsulated Air Sole unit in the heel for a soft landing.
- The power player looking to control the inside is offered the "Fly Through" sole, with its full-length Air-Sole unit for an appropriate amount of impact protection.
Like the midsole options, the choice of which innersleeve to use depends on your style of play. The low-cut sleeve works well for the quick player seeking a greater range of motion. The high-cut sleeve enhances overall ankle support, stability, and foot protection.
Of course, the AJ 2012 couldn't be a high-performance sneaker without a well-built outer shell. Hatfield and Luedecke brought several performance innovations to the shoe, which included the debut of a Jordan-specific carbon-weave shank plate for superior midfoot stability. The wingtip on the toe-box has tight double stitching and perforations in the shape of an "M" as a reference to the man himself. Thin lines throughout the midsole give the shoe some extra style while also serving as scratch marks that represent Jordan's "Black Cat" nickname.
Air Jordan XX8 | Designer : Tinker Hatfield | Released : 2013 | Original Price : $250
The unveiling of the newest Air Jordan model always has been a big deal, but the Air Jordan XX8 carried that sense of mystery around with it.
The latest installment in the lineup of the legendary brand named for Michael Jordan, was designed by Tinker Hatfield and released in February 2013. It returned to the numbered naming convention of the Air Jordan series I through XX3, as the brand had gone with the year from 2009 through 2012.
The XX8 featured all the cushioning and stability technologies one might expect from Jordan's flagship model. But it all lived behind a shroud, zippered to enable the wearer to decide just how much to reveal.
Several AJs, from the XVI through the XXI, featured a shroud or a lace covering. The sock-like shroud of the XX8, comprised of a high-end material from Schoeller textiles in Switzerland, featured a zipper front that folded down neatly to reveal a "2" on the medial (out) side of one shoe and a "3" on the medial of the other (denoting MJ's iconic jersey number). It offers a blank slate that the Jordan brand promised to use for a variety of eye-catching colorways during the shoe's life cycle.
The XX8 featured a number of technologies:
- Zoom Air for low-profile cushioning
- All-new Jordan Flight Plate for torsional rigidity
- Dynamic Fit straps for flexible support
- Carbon fiber heel counter for support
- Mesh upper for flexibility and ventilation
The new Jordan Flight Plate that debuted in the midsole of the XX8 was about two years in development. It consisted of a moderator plate, the Zoom Air unit, and rubber.
Designers started with a Nike Shox plate, added air bags, and knew they were getting close. It evolved to consist of a carbon fiber plate designed to deflect force and maximize the Zoom Air and its low-profile responsiveness. This enabled the separation of the forefoot and heel for the first time in the Air Jordan lineage.
For added stability, the XX8 included a molded, carbon-fiber external heel counter that served as a natural extension of the Flight Plate.
Air Jordan XX9 | Designer : Tinker Hatfield | Released : 2014 | Original Price : $225
Released in September 2014 to honor the Year of the Goat, the Air Jordan XX9 was the lightest ever created in the AJ line and mixed premium elements of aesthetics and technology.
The revolutionary upper consisted of a performance-woven single piece, designed to eliminate excessive layering. This finish allowed a wide-open design canvas, which debuted - and continued in some colorways - with an oversized Jumpman logo.
"It's actually made in a special weaving machine," Hatfield said at the official unveiling on April 17, 2014. "Which does create a web of fibers, and it all comes together in one sort of seamless process."
Hatfield designed this upper to allow structure, support, interior comfort, and exterior abrasion resistance in a style inspired by an Italian label manufacturer. This upper alleviated an issue in previous versions, where the old practice of adding layers could create problem areas.
"In previous shoes, way back when," Hatfield added, "in order to make a shoe stronger, we would have to add another layer of something else and then that might create a hotspot, right? I mean, you could feel it."
The fall release broke tradition for the Jordan brand, which had been releasing mid-winter since the AJ XVI in February 2000.
The flexible, sock-like feel for which Hatfield aimed in the AJ XX9 came from Flight Web tunnels and strategic panels of stiffer and softer flex material. These were engineered to enhance natural motion, while webbed straps wrapped the foot and integrated with the laces at the midfoot to move with the foot.
A double-lasted heel helped to cushion impact, and articulated padding in the ankle collar added to the premium look as well as the feel.
Air Jordan XXX | Designer : Tinker Hatfield & Mark Smith | Released : 2016 | Original Price : $200
In guiding the Air Jordan line of signature sneakers into the future, Tinker Hatfield drew his direction from the past. It was an image of Michael Jordan soaring to the hoop during the 1988 slam dunk contest that inspired Hatfield as the legendary designer partnered with Mark Smith to develop the Air Jordan XXX.
Released on February 12, 2016, the AJ XXX served as an evolutionary step from the AJ XX9, which introduced a single-piece woven upper to the Jordan family. Hatfield pointed to the AJs III, IV, and V - and the barely noticeable differences in the midsole and outsole among the three models - as proof that Jays will carry over tooling that has worked previously.
Hatfield and Smith broke the AJ XXX into five categories:
- Height - Taking another page from the past, Hatfield and Smith chose an asymmetrical collar similar to that of the AJ XII, a design aimed at blending ankle support with flexibility and mobility.
- Toe - MJ has long liked the "toe down" look of his shoes. Smith designed the toe specially for the XXX, though he did draw from the patent leather rand of the XI.
- Traction - While the FlightPlate of the XX9 became the FlightSpeed of the XXX, Hatfield and Smith described the difference as being little more than "the cut." It's important to maintain much of what works, they said, so they're not asking one of Jordan's top athletes, Russell Westbrook, to start from scratch as a test pilot every year.
- Material - Hatfield and Smith struck a careful balance between maintaining the performance features that worked, while pushing the design envelope as Jordan brand fans have come to expect. The upper is a soft and breathable mix of woven and knit materials. The "lofted knit" that lends padded comfort to the supportive ankle collar is the first such appearance in the Jordan line, according to Smith. A visual element on the midsole also offers a fresh look, adding a "galaxy" image to the shoe.
- Fit - This one-piece upper was designed to carry over the flexible feel of the XX9, and while the downsized FlightSpeed plate was intended to bring along the technology that enabled the wearer to be quick on the court.
Air Jordan XXXI | Designer : Tate Kuerbis | Released : 2016 | Original Price : $185
At the beginning of a new decade of Air Jordan on-court performance shoes, designer Tate Kuerbis took a page from the past. For the Air Jordan XXXI that the Jordan brand unveiled to the public in July 2016 and released that September, he drew heavily from the original Air Jordan for the silhouette of the XXXI.
Benefits of infusing the original Air Jordan included its added ankle support with the higher top, and that its lower-profile midsole put the foot low to the ground. This allowed the wearer to be more responsive on the court, shifting one way before breaking the other, according to the designer.
One way the AJ XXXI looked to the future was in the way it incorporated old-school leather with the latest technology, Flyweave. Born of aerospace technology, Flyweave uses old-school weaving of space-age fabric for an upper that is lightweight but strong.
Combining Flyweave with leather in the heel gives the wearer a flexible forefoot along with support and containment in the heel, according to Kuerbis.
The ankle collar trimmed down the amount of foam, removing some unneeded weight while leaving enough to focus padding and support where the ankle needs it. That gave the shoe a one-to-one fit and added to the lockdown the wearer would need, Kuerbis said.
Nike designed its midsole FlightSpeed system to blend elements to give athletes an explosive first step as well as an extra boost in their jumps as well as their jump shot.
The combined woven-and-leather upper also lent itself to interesting color blocking, which the Jordan brand put on display with its first Black-Red ("Bred") Chicago-inspired release. Again borrowing from the look of the original, the AJ XXXI interspersed black and red threads throughout the weave, creating a subtle fade pattern that gave way to black on the heel. That set an ideal backdrop for the familiar red Jumpman logo that MJ made so famous. Incorporated into the weave was a subtle Nike Swoosh, the first logo to adorn MJ's signature shoes. But the second, and MJ's first personal logo, was the Wings logo, which is embossed on the medial/inner side of the ankle collar.
It all sits atop a color gradient midsole. And while most of the AJ XXXI's colorways follow this general template, some go for a more monochromatic look. And others, like the Black/Metallic Silver/Black, include a translucent "frosty" outsole.
Air Jordan XXXII | Designer : Tate Kuerbis | Released : 2017 | Original Price : $185
Before taking its next step forward, the Jordan brand first cast its gaze to the past. Tate Kuerbis, who designed the Air Jordan XVIII, XIX, and XXI, drew inspiration from the Air Jordan II in conceptualizing the Air Jordan XXXII.
That meant revisiting the first Air Jordan to be manufactured outside the United States, in Italy. It was by visiting Italia that Jordan was able to find the refined mastery of processes that it wanted in order to convey the sense of premium styling that was so important to MJ.
"Our goal with the AJ XXXII was to combine the essence of the AJ II with today's best innovation," said David Creech, Nike's VP of Design, "to create a distinct design language both on and off the court."
Most noticeable is the way the XXXII emulates the sloping lines of the II. The horizontal fins across the Achilles on the II are blown out on the XXXII, covering a larger area and flowing into the rest of the design.
Typical of the Air Jordan line, the AJ XXXII is a premium blend of high performance with luxurious aesthetics. For the first time, an AJ features a Flyknit upper. It's comprised of high-tenacity yarn that combines stretch, support, and zonal lockdown. This ribbing offers a deeper texture than recent Air Jordan models that also featured woven uppers. Visually, it blends the ideas of flexibility, comfort, and performance.
The cushioning includes tuned-up Flight Speed technology, a midfoot carbon-fiber plate designed to unharness the energy of low-profile Zoom Air units.
The XXXII positioned the Zoom Air bag similar to how it was used in the Air Jordan XX8, which Jordan touted as being a significant step forward in the line's technology.
"This setup allows maximum surface area on the court," Kuerbis explained.
The smallest bits add up to a whole new look. The Wings logo appears on the tongue, and the laces virtually disappear into the Flyknit upper.
"I wanted to make the laces just disappear into the knit structure," Kuerbis said, "but inside there is a whole harness system with webbing that really locks down your foot."
Even the traction got new detailing. A herringbone traction pattern consisting of a wiper-blade look was designed to add a tried-and-true grip on the court. But through the frosty outsole you'll see the familiar Jumpman logo.
The release of the XXXII marked the first time an Air Jordan model was released globally in both a mid and a low.
Air Jordan XXXIII | Designer : Tate Kuerbis | Released : Oct. 18, 2018 | Original Price: $175
The Air Jordan lineup has always been about blending form and function, style and substance. And when the Air Jordan XXXIII debuted on Oct. 18, 2018, it continued this tradition by unveiling Nike’s new FastFit technology.
FastFit replaces traditional laces with a pull-to-adjust system that’s geared toward the player: loosen when resting, cinch up for game time.
- Loops on the tongue and heel allow easy entry.
- A single tug on the tightening system gives you 360-degree lockdown.
- Pull the side cables to eject and rest.
Designer Tate Kuerbis drew from the utilitarian design of space suits for the AJ XXXIII. The shoe highlights the pull cord and ejection cord, and it includes a small circular window in the outsole that reveals the inner mechanism of the FastFit system.
That window to the soul of the shoe is just one of the nods to past legendary models, a practice that’s become common with post-XXX Jays. The AJ XXXIII includes several:
- Outsole window mimics vis-Air windows from the AJ III, IV, V, and VI.
- Window also evokes circular upper window of Air Jordan 2010.
- “Nike Air” embroidery on the heel recalls the AJ III, IV, V, and VI.
- Oversized tongue is the backdrop for the Jumpman logo that debuted on the AJ III.
The AJ XXXIII also continued use of the FlightSpeed technology that has been a part of the Air Jordan lineup since the XXX. The carbon fiber plate contained microscopic high-tensile fibers that served as springs. When paired with Zoom Air, this plate is designed to enhance your energy return and rebound, keeping you fresh in the fourth.
Throughout, Kuerbis adhered to a Flight Utility philosophy that meant maintaining that Jordan brand mindset of creating performance art. Kuerbis’ goal was to design for the future with both innovation and function in mind.
Kuerbis revealed that in addition to past Air Jordan models and space suits, he also drew inspiration from athletes, brands, clubs, entertainers, universities, and more.
“Leaps of faith and daring,” he said, “are the best places from which to imagine.”
Air Jordan XXXIV | Designer : Tate Kuerbis | Released : Sept. 25, 2019 | Original Price : $235
Designer Tate Kuerbis returned for his fourth consecutive Air Jordan, and sixth overall, having also designed the “18” and assisted with the “19.” He cited athletes who noted a desire to improve traction and cut weight as being a starting point for the “34.”
The Jordan platform has long been a launching pad for innovative performance tech, and the AJ XXXIV introduces the Jordan Eclipse Plate. This evolution of the Jordan Flight Speed Plate consists of two Pebax polyurethane plates that form a hollow core where foam would traditionally be. This design removes non-essential material to cut weight, creating one of the lightest Jays ever at 13.1 oz. (men’s size 9). And it gives you a smooth transition from midfoot to forefoot that keeps your foot in control into and out of hard breaks.
MJ’s signature sneakers have been turning heads since he first hit the hardwood with them in 1985. This latest entry continues that with a colorful upper that catches your eye first. Then there are the details:
- Number 23 in Morse code on the vamp at the bottom of the laces
- Branding on the heel differs with each colorway
- ‘J4-34, 2.89-2019’ references the 30th anniversary from IV to XXXIV
Wear it on court or off and you’ll be in good company. Look for the AJ XXXIV on the feet of Zion Williamson, Blake Griffin, and Jayson Tatum.