Michal Jordan is a basketball legend who is known for his excellent skills of defying gravity and making his mark on many basketball courts. One thing Michael Jordan is known for apart from his excellent basketball skills is the Nike Air Jordan sneakers he wore in every game. These have become the most sought after sneakers of all time since the first Air Jordan was released. Initially, it was not all fun and games for Michael Jordan since every time he wore the Jordan 1 sneakers during a game; he was got a $5000 fine for not being in line with the colors of the team. Nike saw this as an excellent opportunity and they decided to pay all of his fines and release the commercials of the sneakers. This was the beginning of the air Jordans and Jordan Retro collection since Michael later agreed to sign with Nike to have the shoe.
If it was not for the Air Jordan III, there probably would not be an Air Jordan collection today. One thing a lot of people do not know is the fact that Michael Jordan was not always thrilled about the idea of the collection and signing with Nike especially after Rob Strasser and Peter Moore who brought him to the brand left. He wanted to venture into different things especially because the deal was ending in 1988. This however changed when Tinker Hatfield incorporated Moore’s Jumpman logo and an elephant print into the Air Jordan III. This and the fact that Michael’s dad advised him to go for the deal convinced Michael to take the deal. This is one of the reasons why the Air Jordan III is many people’s favorite Air Jordan sneaker.
The other thing that a lot of people do not know about the Air Jordan collection is the fact that Tinker Hatfield’s passion had a lot to do with its success. When Michael Jordan decided to move to baseball, a lot of people did not think the Air Jordan collection would survive. Many people advised him to venture into something different. He did not lose faith however. He kept on designing new Air Jordan even after Michael left. If it was not for Tinker, the last Air Jordan would have been the Air Jordan VIII. As the name suggests, the sneakers where Jordan inspired and one thing you probably did not know is the fact that Michael Jordan was consulted before any shoe was designed.
Athletes nowadays combine their profession with business to increase their revenue. They do so by signing deals with companies to manufacture clothing or shoes under their names. These deals do not only have an impact on their revenue but also impacts the world’s culture. It has also been a culture tradition among athletes to have shoe deals. This is because these deals symbolize how good or how successful a player is for a shoe company to brand their shoes after their names.
Taking the case of Michael Jordan, he signed a deal with Nike in 1984 to create the Air Jordan shoe. When the company released the first shoe, Air Jordan 1, it moved from a basketball shoe into the world of fashion. Since then, the company has been redesigning and releasing new Air Jordans every year. Although Michael Jordan retired over ten years ago, the Air Jordan Brand shoe is still worn by NBA players in the games. The Air Jordan brand shoe has also been accepted by the world as part of their fashion culture. These AJ shoes being embraced as timeless pieces is proof of the brand’s success.
Air Jordan I (1985)
It is in 1984 when Nike signed and endorsement contract with Michael Jordan. The contact was worth $2.5 million which was a lot of money compared to what other endorsements were offering at the time. The following year, Nike gave Michael and his line of sneakers a unique logo which proved this line of sneakers was different from everything else they had ever created. Peter Moore was tasked with the responsibility of creating the first air Jordan. The sneakers featured a wings logo on the upper ankle and a Nike Swoosh design in the mid panel. The first Air Jordan was very similar to other Nike sneakers such as Air Force I And Dunk. These sneakers featured ankle collars which provided additional protection, toe overlays which added lockdown and an air unit characteristic of Nike to provide cushioning.
Air Jordan II (1986)
A lot of frenzy was created following the release of Air Jordan I. This led to a lot of demand which created the need for Nike to come up with a new design. At this point there were some stores which could run out of the shoes because of the very high demand in the market. This time Bruce Kilgore who designed the Air Force I was the one behind the design. As expected, he went in a whole new direction with the Air Jordan II. One of the things that changed was the fact that the Nike Swoosh was removed. Instead the design looked clean and simple. There was also an incorporation of new materials such as faux lizard on the upper and the heel counter was made of moulded plastic.
Air Jordan III (1988)
The Air Jordan III is believed to be where everything changed. Michael’s contract with Nike was coming to an end and he did not want to continue with the contract especially since Moore and Strasser were no longer there. The design of the Air Jordan III really changed his mind and the future of the Air Jordan collection. Hatfield took on the design replacing the wings logo with the Jumpman logo which blew everyone’s mind. The midsole of the shoe were very well crafted using high quality polyurethane which made the shoe have a very fresh look. A visible air unit was also introduced which made it possible for people wearing the shoes to literally walk on air.
Air Jordan IV (1989)
There are a number of reasons why the Air Jordan IV has become one of the most fan favorite shoes. The main reason is the fact that Michael Jordan was wearing these sneakers when he made “the shot” in 1989 over Craig Ehlo. Everyone who was playing basketball at the time wanted to be and feel like the pro star in the world. These shoes featured the jumpman logo which was also placed on the tongue but this time there was the word “fight” just below the logo. This shoe was not very different from the Air Jordan II. The design still had the padded tongue, the visible air unit and the perfectly cut midsole that many people loved in the previous version. Air Jordan IV is however one of the most collected shoes in the Air Jordan collection.
Air Jordan V (1990)
Tinker Hat field continued to show his amazing design skills in the year 1990 as he continuously added unique and standout features to the Air Jordan collection making the collection the most sought after when it comes to sneakers. His creativity was clear in every detail of the Air Jordan V. One of the things that stood out about these shoes is the fact that he incorporated a higher cut compared to the other previous versions in the collection. The shoe also features an asymmetrical collar which made the sneakers stand out. The pattern of the shoe was inspired by the fighter plane in World War II.
Air Jordan VI (1991)
In 1991 as Michael Jordan was doing what he does best, Tinker Hatfield did his magic again and designed the Air Jordan VI which is the collection’s sixth shoe. There are a number of things he borrowed from the design of the Air Jordan V like the visible air unit, an outer sole with translucent design and the sculpted midsole. The upper is believed to have been designed to depict number 23. The original design of the shoes was made of high quality leather ad has some suede material in the collar way of the shoes which made it stand out. This is also an example of the most sought after Air Jordan shoes.
Air Jordan VII (1992)
Air Jordan VII followed Jordan’s very first championship in the NBA. Tinker Hatfield continued doing what he does best and decided to design the seventh shoe in the Air Jordan collection. This shoe had a unique inspiration behind its design. The design of the shoe was inspired by the tribal culture in West Africa. Some aspects of the Nike Huarache shoe line also inspired the final design of the Air Jordan VII. The Jumpman logo this time was stitched on the upper part of the upper which made it appear different from the previous versions. A hard plastic material that was arrow shaped was incorporated into the design of the heel and it had a number 23 on it. A pull tab was also incorporated into the heel piece. This was used for the purpose of locking the foot in the sockliner.
Air Jordan VIII (1993)
Michael Jordan wore the Air Jordan VIII in his first 3- peat championship. One of the things that differentiate these sneakers from the previous versions is the splash of colour on the heel of the shoes. The lockdown straps are also very different because they have the number 23 embossed in them. This is a feature that is not present in previous versions. The high top cut characteristic of the previous versions returned in the Air Jordan VIII. The jumpman logo on this shoe was made with a carpet like material and it was placed on the tongue of the shoe. This gave it an excellent touch which made the quality of the shoe rise even higher. The Bugs Bunny commercials made a comeback with the introduction of these shoes as well.
Air Jordan IX (1994)
Although Michael Jordan had led his team to a lot of NBA championships from the year he joined the team, he had always had a dream to pursue his passion for baseball. In 1994, he stopped playing basketball and decided to go for baseball. This was not great news for Nike because the Air Jordan collection was really based on Michael Jordan and he played a very important role in the marketing of the sneakers. Tinker Hatfield was however not discouraged by Michael’s exit from basketball. He went back to the drawing board and designed Air Jordan IX which was a huge success. This shoe was designed to be a representation of Jordan going global and it is present in the Michael Jordan Statute in Chicago.
Air Jordan X (1995)
In 1995 on March 19th Michael Jordan returned to play for the NBA and on his return he wore the Air Jordan X colorway. Initially, the design was very simple and it featured a toe piece that was stitched. Michael Jordan did not like the design. Seeing that he always had to be consulted with al designs, it has to be changed. The colorways were changed to include toe caps that were clean and simple. The lacing system on this shoe was a band like system, the collar was padded and the heel featured a pull tab.
The outsole of this shoe was very unique and probable one of the most creative designs. This is because it listed all of Jordan’s achievements since his career begun. This is one of the reasons why this pair of sneakers is very popular among Michael Jordan’s fans. Up to date, it is one of the most sought after shoes in the Air Jordan collection.
Air Jordan XI (1996)
Sole Collector Magazine voted these shoes as the best sneakers since the beginning of time. The Air Jordan XI had incredible features including; translucent outsole, mesh upper and a leather toe rand. This shoe was also featured in Space Jam the movie which Michael was in and he also wore the shoes in the 72nd NBA championship season. Sole Collector Magazine was not wrong to vote this shoe as the best of all time. This is because this shoe has received a lot of positive reviews and it is considered the best by many Jordan fans and basketball enthusiasts.
Air Jordan XII (1997)
There were two things that inspired the design of this shoe. It was inspired by the appearance of the Japanese flag as well as women shoe designs. On the side of the toe of this shoe is a faux reptile print. The outsole features a carbon shank that is very visible to the eye and this is one of the features that make these sneakers stand out. Michael Jordan was wearing this Air Jordans When he made the 38 points during the “Flu Game”. He also wore the same shoes when he won the fifth NBA championship title. This goes to show that they are very lucky shoes. The fact that Michael Jordan was wearing them when he made these wins is one of the reasons why the shoes have become quite popular.
Air Jordan XIII (1998)
The Air Jordan XIII design was inspired by the appearance of the Black Panther. The Black Panther’s whiskers inspired the design of the upper of the shoes, the paws inspired the outsole which was designed to look like paws and the pods inspired the midsole. The upper heel of this shoe features a hologram which represents the Black Panther’s eyes. Michael Jordan wore these shoes during the 6th NBA title run as a Chicago member. These shoes are also in the list of most sought after sneakers in the Air Jordan collection and they are popular even today.
Air Jordan XIV (1999)
Like all Air Jordan sneakers, the Air Jordan XIV had an inspiration behind its design. This time, the designer chose the Ferrari as an inspiration. Air Jordan XIV was the last shoe worn by Michael Jordan as a Chicago Bull member. The idea to use the Ferrari as an inspiration came from Michael Jordan’s incredible love for vehicles. This was a smart way to go since in a way, they placed everything Jordan loved in one; basketball and cars. This shoe became the first shoe to have so many jumpman logos in it. It has a total of 7 logos which are located on the back heel, toe, outsole, insole and one the lace tips.
Air Jordan XV
In 1998 Michael Jordan made an announcement that he was going to retire. This was a challenge for Tinker Hatfield since he was yet again in a situation where he had to come up with an Air Jordan shoe that Michael Jordan would not get to wear on the court. Once again, he did not give up on the collection but decided to design the Air Jordan XV. He got his inspiration from a fighter plane. This shoe had a very unique, unusual, aggressive and sharp-edged shape. Unlike the previous versions, this shoe was not as appreciated as the rest. Many people did not like the shoe and many have time and time again referred to it as the worst shoe in the Nike Air Jordan Collection. There was however some who liked the different approach.
Air Jordan XVI (2001)
Wilson Smith III was the designer behind Air Jordan XVI. This shoe was designed to act as a representation of Michael’s transition from player to an executive. The heel of this shoe is blow moulded, the toe is made of patent leather and the outsole is translucent. The idea behind the design of this shoe greatly hit the mark. The shoe not only made the idea clear but it also maintained the legacy that is present in all Jordan shoes. In a way, this shoe made many people see the possibility of a future for the Jordan collection even without Michael Jordan on the court playing.
Air Jordan XVII (2002)
An Aston Martin Car and Jazz were the inspiration behind the design on Air Jordan XVII. This shoe was designed by Wilson Smith III. These shoes came in metal cases that were accompanied by a very interactive DVD. The Air Jordan XVII was also won by Michal Jordan. This was back when he made a comeback with Washington Wizards. These shoes featured a forefront and heel Tuned air which was a new feature in the Jordan collection and they also had a TPU stabilizer for the heel. The removable mid-foot cover was also a very great feature of this shoe. With this feature, the player could choose whether or not to have their laces show.
Air Jordan XVIII (2003)
Tate Kuerbis was the designer behind the Air Jordan XVIII. The inspiration behind the design of this shoe mostly came from automobile designs. The stitching on the outsole on the other hand was inspired by Italian dress shoes. These shoes featured a one piece kind of upper. A comfort control panel was also incorporated into the insole of the shoe to make it more comfortable. Zoom air cushioning was also incorporated in the design of the forefoot and heel. The Air Jordan XVIII came in three colors which were all released in the year 2003. It is also one of the most sought after shoes in the collection.
Air Jordan XIX (2004)
The design inspiration of the Air Jordan XIX was deadly snakes. This comes through in the design of the show and it has always been considered a standout in the collection. There are a number of things that people love about these shoes. First and foremost, they are the most comfortable shoes in the collection. The other reason why many people love these shoes is the fact that they are breathable and very light. These characteristics make them perfect for paying and many athletes have attested to the fact that they are incredible. Many team Jordan athletes wear these shoes in order to help carry the Air Jordan legacy forward.
Air Jordan XX (2005)
Tinker Hatfield came back to the game in 2005 to commemorate 20 years of the air Jordan collection. He drew his inspiration from Michael Jordan’s life concentrating on the player’s love for motor vehicles. Using these ideas, he designed the Air Jordan XX with the help of Mark Smith. The shoe featured a patent leather, an ankle strap and a mid-front strap that was very unique compared to previous versions. The mid-front strap featured a number of lasered logos that were meat to pay homage to the life and career of Michael Jordan. These shoes are also in the list of most sought after Air Jordan shoes and they have been especially popular among athletes and Michael Jordan fans.
Air Jordan XXI (2006)
D’Wayne Edwards was the designer behind the Air Jordan XXI. He got the inspiration from Bentley Continental GT Coupe. The Air Jordan XXI featured a diamond-quilted seamless bootie with a clean lower and upper air grille. These shoes have time and time again been referred to as the Jordan shoes that combine style and substance. The shoes also feature a carbon shank which enables the player to have extra support in their feet and a Phylon midsole that is double-lasted in order to provide a low profile feeling. The Independent Podular Suspension technology on this shoe is the most innovative thing about it. It gives the player and option between encapsulated and zoom air cushioning in the heel.
Air Jordan XX2 (2007)
The F-22 Fighter jet was the inspiration for designing the Air Jordan XX2. The designer was D’Wayne Edwards. The translucent outsole characteristic of most Air Jordan shoes was present in this shoe as well. These shoes have very sharp lines in the upper which were inspired by the manoeuvrability of the F-22 Fighter jet. The Air Jordan XX2 features a very well sculpted design and the extended heal counter are stable to make the shoe supportive and light in weight. The collar has a triangular quilted pattern that makes this shoe look very unique as well.
Air Jordan XX3 (2008)
Before the Air Jordan XX3 was released, there was a lot of buzz about it and many people had great expectations about it. It was expected to be among the top Air Jordan shoes in the collection. This shoe lived up to all the expectations that people had about it. The craftsmanship was outstanding and the materials used to make the shoe were very environment friendly which made it fit perfectly into the era. The tongue of the shoes was designed to include Michael Jordan’s thumbprint. Michael Jordan’s initials were included in the upper of the shoe with perfect details.
Air Jordan 2009
After the XX3, the Air Jordan collection continued. The numbering system was dropped and instead, the shoes were named after the year they were released. Jaon Mayden a senior footwear designer was tasked with the responsibility of designing the Nike Air Jordan 2009. Mayden drew his inspiration from Michael’s defensive moves. He used fencing as an inspiration. The style of this shoe was influenced by the first Air Jordan. However, the incorporation of panache leather was borrowed from the design of the Air Jordan XI. This was the second shoe in the collection that was made with environment friendly materials.
Air Jordan 2010
Air Jordan 2010 market the 25th anniversary of the air Jordan collection which is the most iconic sneaker line of all time. Mark Smith and Tinker Hatfield who are footwear legends came together to design the Air Jordan 2010. On the mid-panel of the upper, this shoe features a clear window. The clear window was incorporated into the design as a representation of looking into the life and game of Michael Jordan.
This is one of the most unique designs in all Air Jordan shoes. The collar on Air Jordan 2010 is asymmetrical. One of the things that make this show stand out is the fact that it features a hidden quote made by Michael Jordan himself. The other thing that differentiates this shoe from the other shoes in the collection is the lateral side which was designed to drop lower than what was seen in the previous versions. The concept behind the design of this shoe is one of the things that have made it the most sought after air Jordan shoes. It is popular among athletes and Michael Jordan fans all over the world.
Air Jordan 2011
After their 25th anniversary, there were a lot of expectations from fans. Most people expected the next release to be of even better quality. This is exactly what happened. The shoe surpassed all expectations and it is one of the best on the collection. This shoe was not only aesthetically pleasing but also performance focused and was of very high quality. High quality dress shoes were the inspiration behind the design of this shoe. The designers of this shoe focused on making it clean and simple. The Air Jordan 2011 was a complete success and it is clear that Tom Luedecke and Tinker Hatfield hit the mark with this one.
Air Jordan 2012
Tom Luedecke and Tinker Hatfield came together once again to create another stand out Air Jordan Shoe the Air Jordan 2012. The inspiration behind the design of these shoes was the design of the dancing shoes in the 1920s and 1930s. Back in those days, people who danced in the dance shoes of those days were considered to youthful, confident and bold. This is exactly what the Air Jordan 2012 is. One of the things that make this shoe to stand out is the fact that it has three different midsole cushioning. This is beneficial because it allows the players to control the game through their style of movement. It is a very popular shoe among athletes and Michael Jordan fans.
Air Jordan XX8
The air Jordan XX8 wore mystery very well. This shoe’s design incorporated a design that had not been seen in previous versions or even in other types of sneakers for players. The mesh tongue and the incredible lace system make this shoe very comfortable and unique in appearance. This is one of the highest selling shoes in the Jordan collection and for good reason. The Jordan Flight plate is the new technology that was incorporated into the design of this shoe and it was not present in previous versions. The shoe is comfortable, very light weight and most importantly, it provides maximum support to the player’s feel.
Air Jordan XX9
Air Jordan XX9 is the lightest Air Jordan of all time and it has become a favorite for many. The lightness of the shoe comes about due to the reduced layering in the upper, the fact that it is a single piece and it is performance woven. This shoe offers a durable feeling of socks and provides cushion impact thanks to the double lasted heel. It is currently one of the fan favorite shoes and it has been worn by many Team Jordan players in the spirit of upolding the legacy.
Nike Air Jordan Collection
Michael Jordan was a great inspiration when it came to designing the first Air Jordan and he still is. Although he is not on the court anymore, designers always make sure to include details of the player in order to keep the idea behind the collection alive.
Nike Air Jordan has undergone a number of changes. Each of the new versions comes with new features that make it to stand out from the other brands on the market. The manufacturer has been introducing new features in each of the versions to make it unique and better over time. Hate them or love them, Air Jordan remains one of the iconic brands that have ever existed on the market. You can just see this at your first glance.
The collection has been the leading for over 25 years and there has not been another sneaker collection that has come close to how successful the Air Jordan collection is. It is the most successful and from the look of things it will continue being successful since legendary designers are at work to create even more iconic shoes for the collection.