Air Jordan

The Air Jordan is a brand of Nike basketball shoes named after Michael Jordan. Jordan signed the deal with Nike in 1984. In 1987, Nike introduced a logo depicting Jordan doing a slam dunk. The shoes sold well from the start, and remain lucrative for Jordan (who earned $33 million from the deal in 2003) and Nike ($500m in 2003).

Collectors classify Air Jordans by release year and model: Originals (OG), Retros, Retro+'s, Samples.

Air Jordan I

Designed by Peter Moore and released in 1985, the Air Jordan I is considered a watershed in basketball shoe design, although its design was improved upon later with the Nike Dunk. The shoe gained much initial publicity and interest when the National Basketball Association banned it, saying that its vibrant black and red color violated the league's design rules. Other shoe companies scrambled to emulate the design, with some even introducing direct knock-offs.

Original Jordans came with two sets of laces, one for each color on the "colorway" of the shoe. For example, the red/black shoe came with red laces and black laces. Including "sample" designs, twenty-three different "colorways" were created.

In 1994, the white/black-red and black/red colorways were retroed and sold very poorly. Many went on sale for as low as $20 in stores. When the I's were retroed again in 2001, they sold out instantly.

The first sightings of the Air Jordan I occurred on November 17, 1984 in a game between the Chicago Bulls and the Philadelphia 76ers. The first color unveiled were the banned Black/Red design. It was announced later afterward that Nike would release them to the public the following spring.

It was said that the Air Jordan I wasn't actually designed exclusively for Michael Jordan. When Nike signed the reluctant rookie to its company in 1984, they showed him sketches of the shoe, which was an unnamed, unreleased existing shoe. Jordan had no input in the design. They just put the "Air Jordan Wings" logo on the ankle to make it his.

Air Jordan II

The Air Jordan II was released in 1986/87, at which time Jordan averaged 37.1 ppg and became the first NBA player since Wilt Chamberlain to exceed 3,000 points in a season. During the season, Jordan set a new career high in points on April 16 against the Atlanta Hawks with 61. He also played in the All-Star Game, won the Slam-Dunk Championship, and was named to the All-NBA First Team.

The Air Jordan II was designed by Bruce Kilgore, and like the I's, showed great innovation in design. The low-tops were produced in Italy, although no II's were ever designed with black leather until the Nu'Retro release in 2003 and the Black/Chrome Retro+ release in 2004. The Jordan II's were the last Air Jordan shoes to carry the Jordan Wings insignia.

The II's were retroed in 1994 in small amounts and sold very poorly.

Air Jordan III

Michael Jordan received his first NBA MVP award during the 87-88 NBA season, wearing the Air Jordan III. He also swept the Slam Dunk competition and led the Bulls to its best performance in the NBA's standings since the 74-75 season. In a SLAM magizine interview with MJ he claimed the III's to be his favorite shoe out of all the 21 shoes released.

The Air Jordan III was released in 1988, designed by Tinker Hatfield. Totally different from the I's and II's, it was the first pair of Air Jordans that had a visible air sole. This was also the first Air Jordan to feature the Jumpman logo instead of the Wings found on the I's and II's. One of the most popular AJ's ever, it was advertised by Spike Lee as "Mars Blackmon". That commercial followed Air Jordan for a few years and became one of the most appreciated Nike commercials of all time.

Prior to the planning of the Air Jordan III, Jordan was set to leave Nike. The Nike crew and Jordan's agency convinced him to stay long enough to even see what the new shoe looked like. Jordan agreed, but made it clear that if the shoe wasn't to his liking, that he would leave them forever. However, when they unveiled a sample of the Jordan III to him, Jordan was ecstatic. He absolutely loved the shoes and agreed to stay with Nike. Had it not been for Hatfield, who designwise is likeminded to Jordan, designing the Jordan III, Jordan possibly might have gone to another shoe company that year.

In 2005 ESPN held a contest to name the "Ultimate Sneaker." readers voted and crowned the greatest sneaker of all time: the Air Jordan III.

Air Jordan IV

The Air Jordan IV shoe was first released in 1989, designed once again by Tinker Hatfield. It wasn't as revolutionary as the first three models, but it still became the first released Jordan shoe on the world market, with some exceptions. Its fantastic cushioning sole (for that era) and astonishing design made it to an international bestseller.

Spike Lee, the director/actor who helped in the ad campaign for the Air Jordan III, created the famous Can/Can't TV commercial. He also gave them promotion in his movie Do The Right Thing. A classic scene in the movie for Jordan fans has a person who has his new AJ IV's scuffed by a bicycle rider and goes crazy about it. He places his shoe on a fire hydrant and cleans it with a toothbrush.

The shoe was retroed in 1999 in a white/black colorway and a black/cement colorway. Stores were sold out of IV's within hours of release. However, when Nike (or Jordan Brand) released the first Retro+ model of the IVs, many claimed that they "destroyed a classic" by removing the nets on the shoe, among some other subtle changes. The real Jordan IV has the "NIKE AIR" logo on the back. Nike just replaced it with the Jumpman logo. Rapper Slick Rick has stated that he will purchase the entire retro line released this year.

In 2006 Nike released many Retro packages of the IV, including "Mars Blackmans" ("Laser Red" IV's with Spike Lee's alter ego on the heel), "Military Blues," and the $500 "Thunder and Lightning" package.

Air Jordan V

The original Air Jordan V was released in February of 1990. Again designed by Hatfield, and like his other designs, this was again truly revolutionary. Some elements were the same from the Air Jordan IV, but the V's most distinctive feature is arguably its reflective tongue. There was also another new innovation: clear rubber soles, which may or may not have been a good move on Hatfield's part. The soles gave the shoe a whole new and unique look, but it quickly turned yellow in reaction to water. Collectors' responses to this was storing the shoes in a cool, dry place with a dessicant at the soles, most commonly silica packs. The Jordan V also came with lacelocks, making strapping on easy.

Hatfield is rumored to have drawn inspiration for the AJV from the World War II Mustang fighter plane; easily seen in the shark teeth shapes on the midsole. The V was retroed in 2000 to great demand, including a new colorway featuring Michael Jordan's high school (Laney High) colors. It is also schedules for several 2006 re-retros.

Air Jordan VI

The Air Jordan VI was made in 1990 and later released in 1991 selling for $125. The Retro pair of the Air Jordan VI was released in 2000. If the Air Jordan V was inspired by the Mustang Fighter Airplane, the Air Jordan VI was inspired by the Stealth Fighter F-117 used during the Desert Storm War. This was the shoe Mj was wearing when he won his first of six championships. It featured a clear sole similar to the AJ V and also had the same yellowing attributes when exposed to water.

Air Jordan VII

The Air Jordan VII was released in late 1991/early 1992.

Hatfield created a shoe with lots of similarities with the previous model. What was unique with the VII's was that they used some of the Nike Huarache technology to create a shoe that really stuck to your foot. What also made you either frown or smile was the fact that the visible air sole, the Nike Air logo, and the yellowing soles all were gone.

When Michael went to the Olympics with the Dream Team, Nike released a special Olympic color combo of the VII's. This model also featured Michael's Olympic jersey number, 9 which made it very special since all of the previous models that featured his jersey number had always been either stitched or printed with the number 23.

Various retros of the Air Jordan VII were released in 2002, again in 2004, and again in different colors in 2006.

Air Jordan VIII

The Air Jordan VIII was released in 1992/93.

The eighth model of the Air Jordan was one heavy shoe. It's base was clearly close to its predecessor but it had a lot more details, color, and accents. It had cross-over velcro/leather straps and featured heavy padding. Due to the thick padding the shoe was heavy and very hot on your feet. On the tongue of the White/Black and All-star versions you could almost make out a peace sign and some collectors came to call this the flower-power Air Jordan. Very surprising was that this shoe was only made in three different color combinations. Previous models had sold very well and so did the VIII's so it's really a big surprise that Nike decided not to make more of these. The shoes were even produced in less quantity than the VI's.

Air Jordan IX

Originally released in November of 1993, the IX was the first Jordan release after his retirement. It was also made as a baseball cleat that MJ used during his post-Bulls baseball days.

The White/Red/Black version was worn by MJ for one scene in the 1995 movie Space Jam.

Like the Air Jordan VIIs, and VIIIs, the IXs feature an inner sock sleeve and nubuck accents. The sole features different symbols and languages of different countries.

The Air Jordan IX has been forever immortalized as the shoe chosen to adorn Jordan's feet for his statue outside of the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.

Air Jordan X

Made to honor the return of MJ in 1995, the Xs included a full grain leather upper, with a solid rubber outsole. They also sported a quick lacing system with Michael Jordan's previous accomplishments on the outsole. There were multiple colorways released for different large cities across the United States. Jordan wore the X when he returned to the Chicago Bulls at the end of the 1995 season. The original colorway, white/steel grey/black featured an extra piece of leather on the toe for more durability. MJ however did not like this so Nike removed it on future colorways.

Air Jordan XI

The Air Jordan XI is one of the most popular Air Jordans of all time and one of the most sought after sneakers of all time. These were the shoes Jordan wore during his first return to basketball during the 1995-1996 season. In fall of 2000, Nike had re-released the retro version of the Air Jordan XI (officially dubbed Air Jordan XI Retro) but had made them slightly different from the previous release.

First, the retro's toe was far less likely to crease and was much stiffer. The patent leather was glossier and the arch on the shoe was more inclined and less flat. Many argue that the retro version is superior to the original. Additionally, the Retro had unique colors that were never released originally including the Space Jam version of the shoe which sold out in a matter of hours at most stores.

They are also the most illegally copied shoes in the market, with as much as 1/3 of all Air Jordan XI's sold on eBay being fakes, with many of them coming from China. It is important to note that the fakes of the Air Jordan XI usually have a hard mid-sole (it is suppose to be soft or at least semi-firm), a low or barely visible arch on the mid-foot, and a disfigured checkered pattern on the bottom of the shoe. Many of these fakes lack cushioning and can be quite uncomfortable to walk in. A first sign to tell that the shoes are fake is to look for the box that it came in. The box should match the shoe exactly with the ID number on the box matching the ID number on the shoe. Often the box is not even a Jordan box or one that is too big or too small for the shoe with no barcode.

Air Jordan XII

This sleek edition was issued in several colors: red and black, white and gray, and in low top style, dark blue and cream white. These are the first Air Jordans not to feature the Nike logo and the first to use Zoom Air cushioning. The Air Jordan XII was the shoe that Jordan wore through the 1996-97 season including his renowned performance in the fifth game of the 1997 NBA Finals. With the flu, Jordan scored 38 points including a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left to put away the game, after which he was carried off the court by teammate Scottie Pippen.

Air Jordan XIII

The Air Jordan XIII's, from 1997/1998, are some of Michael Jordan's favorite shoes. They have very good cushioning along with breathability. This was the same time MJ announced his retirement from the NBA for the second time. They were designed again by Hatfield. Also they were re-released in 2005 at about the same time the XX's came out.

The shoes were inspired by a black panther, which is known for its stealth and swiftness. The shoe itself somewhat resembles the paw of a panther with pods that represent the paws of a panther. This provided more coverage and support on the basketball court. A hologram is features on the outer heel of the shoe which changes color as the viewer moves around the shoe. The hologram is known to fog up after many years. This represents the eyes of the panther in the dark.

This shoe was featured in the film "He Got Game" as Denzel Washington buys them in a sneaker store.

Air Jordan XIV

This shoe was a revolutionary part of his career blending in 1-13. The XIV was modeled after the Ferrari with its sleek design, and jordan logo. It is still worn by his fans and people all over the world. There are over 10 colors of the XIV including his Bulls color RED, WHITE, and BLACK.

The new retro version is very well done, and many different colors were released, including a white/green version, as well other colors. According to's shoe expert Professor K, the Air Jordan XIV is the most comfortable Jordan ever, even as a retro shoe.

The Black/Varsity Red - Black version is sometimes referred to as the last shots because Jordan was wearing them during the last game he played as a Bulls which he finished with a game-winning shot over Bryon Russell.

Air Jordan XV

As the first Air Jordans released that Jordan had not played professionally in, there was some skepticism as to their comfort. The design came from the x-15 fighter jet. The tounge of the shoe stuck out to mimic Jordan's well known habit of sticking his tongue out while playing.

Air Jordan XVI

The first Air Jordan to have the removable shroud concept. The shroud, or gaiter, was said to be a pre/post game accesory to dress the shoe up. The shroud was not recommended to be worn during gameplay. It also featured a patent leather toe with the toe being more square that a traditional shoe toe. This concept has been reused in many of the later Air Jordans. This was the first shoe since the Air Jordan VI to feature visible Air. It also was the first to feature a clear rubber sole since the Air Jordan XI.

This was the Air Jordan shoe Michael used in his first game (pre-season) in his 2nd comeback.

Air Jordan XVII

This shoe comes equiped with a silver suitcase. As well as a steep price of 200$ when first released. Know as the most expensive jordans ever produced.They where made in 4 mid top colors.

Air Jordan XVIII

A very comfortable shoe and the last shoe Michael Jordan would ever play a professional game in. The first release was Black/Royal followed by the White/Royal colorway. All colorways released came with embroidered towels reading "Air Jordan" and the famous Jumpman logo, but the Black/Royal colorway was the only one that came with a suede brush for easy cleaning. The upper was suede and had a cover over the laces and was very nice. The XVIII featured double-stacked Zoom Air in the heel and had Zoom Air throughout the rest of the shoe. It also had a Carbon-Fiber spring plate. The inspiration of this shoe was from the aggressive and elegant styling of European sports cars, which is reflected in this magnificent shoe.

Air Jordan XIX

Released in 2004 and modeled after the Black Mamba Snake, this is the first Jordan release after his third, and final, retirement. Three special editions were released. They consisted of the East, West, and Olympic edition. The Air Jordan XIX is particularly exciting because of its use of innovative materials. The upper was developed in collaboration with Material ConneXion Inc. from a sleeving normally used in architectural applications for protecting PVC pipes from bursting. This allowed a lace-less shoe because the sleeving does not stretch.

Air Jordan XX

Air Jordan XX feature a leather strap which contains icons representing the history of Jordan. Inspired by Motor-cycling shoes, it was the first design involving Tinker Hatfield since the XVI.

The shoe is low cut, but has an adjustable 'floating' ankle strap or 'leash' the strap can be anchored to the front of the ankle area, or left detached from it. Even when detached from the anchor point at the front, the strap remains attached at the back, and still provides ankle support.

Air Jordan XXI

The Air Jordan XXI was released on February 18, 2006 during the NBA All-Star Weekend in a white/black/red colorway, with the red/black color way released on February 25, 2006. It retailed for $175 a pair, with the suede colorway being $5 extra. The red with suede colorway is made for collectors and the white/red/black colorway is more for true shoe wearers. This model Air Jordan took its designs from the highest and lowest cut Jordans, and also a Bentley inspired grill as well for the side vents.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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