The Greatest Air Jordans Of All Time: Threat-Taking, Historical past-Making, And Riot-Beginning


Ever since Michael Jordan sported that first pair of Nike sneakers again in 1984, enjoying for the Chicago Bulls and simply beginning to get folks’s consideration as basketball’s subsequent massive star, Jordans have been capturing the creativeness of sneaker wearers around the globe. No different shoe has the identical cult-like standing and international following.

Maybe you’re a complete b-ball nerd who’s watched and re-watched each memorable Michael Jordan second on the market. Or perhaps the whole lot you recognize about MJ comes from Netflix’s The Final Dance. Both approach, you’ll remember that (a) the person performs basketball like nobody else on Earth and (b) he takes footwear significantly. 

As we speak, there are 35 totally different Air Jordan fashions obtainable, not counting numerous colorways, collaborations, restricted editions, and retro Jordans. From 90s road type staples and on-court speed-optimized kicks to high-fashion collabs, there are Jordans on the market for each temper, style, and occasion. 

We love our Oliver Cabell sneakers for his or her inexpensive minimalist type and our Koio sneakers for his or her timeless Italian craftsmanship. However for pure charisma, sporting legacy, and championship cool, the ball is firmly within the Jordans’ court docket. 

We’ve put collectively a listing of what could be thought-about essentially the most iconic, fashionable, modern, high-performing, and usually greatest Jordans of all time by launch dates. These are the luxury sneakers which have made the footwear line the runaway success it’s right now. The Jordans that get folks enthusiastic about Jordans. The Michael Jordan sneakers which have principally outlined sneakers as we all know them within the 21st century.

The 23 greatest Jordans of all time

  1. Air Jordan I: Released in 1985
  2. Air Jordan III: Released in 1988
  3. Air Jordan XI: Released in 1995
  4. Air Jordan IV: Released in 1989
  5. Air Jordan VII: Released in 1992
  6. Air Jordan XII: Released in 1996
  7. Air Jordan V: Released in 1990
  8. Air Jordan II: Released in 1986
  9. Air Jordan VI: Released in 1991
  10. Air Jordan XIV: Released in 1998
  11. Air Jordan XIII: Released in 1997
  12. Air Jordan XVI: Released in 2001
  13. Air Jordan VIII: Released in 1993
  14. Air Jordan XVIII: Released in 2003
  15. Air Jordan XV: Released in 1999
  16. Air Jordan IX: Released in 1993
  17. Air Jordan XVII: Released in 2002
  18. Air Jordan XIX: Released in 2004
  19. Air Jordan X: Released in 1994
  20. Air Jordan XX8: Released in 2013
  21. Air Jordan XX3: Released in 2008
  22. Air Jordan XX: Released in 2005
  23. Air Jordan XXXV DNA: Released in 2020

Air Jordan I: Launched in 1985

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The OG Air Jordan, this was the very first Nike shoe to be sported by MJ on the court docket and the one one you’ll discover with the Nike Swoosh—two the reason why it’s indisputably top-of-the-line Jordan sneakers in existence. 

The Air Jordan I is the shoe that not solely began the obsession with Air Jordans that continues right now but additionally created main controversy when its black and purple coloration mixture broke the NBA’s 51% white regulation relating to sneakers. 

A prime choose when you’re all in regards to the genuine particulars, this mannequin can also be obtainable as a pair of low-top Jordans.

Air Jordan III: Launched in 1988

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The Air Jordan I would take delight of place in any sneakerhead’s assortment however the Air Jordan III is fairly revolutionary too. This was the primary design by Tinker Hatfield, athlete and architect turned sneaker taste-maker. 

Hatfield began as he meant to go one with this eye-catching sneaker, dropping the Nike Swoosh emblem and including elephant print panels, black and white uppers, and, in fact, the now iconic Jumpman Brand. The sneaker felt contemporary and futuristic when it was first launched within the late 80s and continues to be on the vanguard of sneaker design right now.

Air Jordan XI: Launched in 1995

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One other game-changing, risk-taking, and ground-breaking design, the Air Jordan XI discovered its approach onto the court docket again in Might 1995 as a part of the NBA playoffs and shortly grew to become a popular culture favourite after starring (alongside MJ) within the cult traditional sci-fi animation Area Jam

Its launch within the black-and-white Harmony colorway infamously led to fights and riots throughout America as folks tried to get their palms on a pair. Proof, when you wanted it, that this is among the hottest Jordan sneakers ever. The mannequin can also be obtainable as a pair of low-top Jordans.

Air Jordan IV: Launched in 1989

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One other pair of Air Jordans to characteristic on the massive display, the Air Jordan IV starred in Spike Lee’s Do The Proper Factor

What makes the IVs a number of the greatest Jordans of all time? A number of issues however principally the lacing help system, generally known as ‘wings’, which could be personalized in response to the wearer’s particular preferences. 

These had been the first pair of Air Jordans with a worldwide launch, cementing the shoe’s celebrity standing. The Pure Cash all-white colorway, specifically, was probably the most fashionable Jordan sneakers ever when it was launched in 2006.

Air Jordan VII: Launched in 1992

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This was the primary J to be launched as a part of the Jordan model quite than Nike (therefore the shortage of exterior Nike branding and Air window). It may be seen to represent the beginning of MJ’s profession as a businessman in addition to being the world’s greatest basketball participant. 

With these Air Jordan VII sneakers on, MJ repeated as an NBA champion, Finals MVP, and MVP, and helped the USA safe gold on the 1992 Barcelona summer season video games. The Black Infrared colorway, specifically, is among the hottest Jordan sneakers ever launched.

Air Jordan XII: Launched in 1996

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All Jordan sneakers are related to grit and perseverance due to the person behind the model, however none extra so than the XIIs

These are the sneakers Michael Jordan wore throughout the well-known 1997 Flu Sport the place he managed to attain a minimum of 38 factors whereas affected by a nasty case of flu. No marvel these are thought-about a number of the greatest Jordan sneakers ever made. 

One of many standout options is the ribbed quilted panels on the higher, impressed by Japan’s Rising Solar flag, in addition to the pebbled quite than patent leather-based. The XIIs are additionally obtainable as low-top Jordans. 

Air Jordan V: Launched in 1990

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Taking inspiration from a WW2 Mustang fighter jet, the Air Jordan V is as fierce, decided, and uncompromising as MJ himself. The sneaker options clean leather-based and nubuck, mesh aspect panels, and shark-tooth shapes on the midsole. 

The truth that these sneakers had been worn by Will Smith in The Recent Prince of Bel-Air in all probability additionally contributed to creating them fan favorites and a number of the hottest Jordans round right now. 

Air Jordan II: Launched in 1986

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Take into account the elegant Air Jordan II one of many line’s most luxurious fashions. It was the initially Michael Jordan sneakers to make use of deluxe particulars corresponding to faux-lizard pores and skin, for instance, and options brogue-like perforations and Italian craftsmanship, lending it some severe upscale panache. 

With these nods to high-end style (and a better price ticket), this unique sneaker was one of many first to straddle the worlds of sportswear and the purple carpet. The Air Jordan II can positively be worn with a tux and can also be obtainable as a pair of low-top Jordans. 

Air Jordan VI: Launched in 1991

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The Air Jordan 6 is all about pace and superlative efficiency. Each element has been thought-about for game-optimization, from the 2 grip holes on the tongue for simple entry to the neoprene sleeve lining, boosting consolation and minimizing the chance of blisters. 

Apparently, the sneaker was impressed by Michael Jordan’s Porsche 911 and the star gained his first championship title with a pair of those ultra-cool creations on his ft, making it hands-down top-of-the-line Jordan sneakers of all time.

Air Jordan XIV: Launched in 1998

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Perusing this checklist of the world’s greatest Jordans, you’ll shortly uncover a standard theme. Quick vehicles. Lots of the greatest Js had been impressed by top-of-the-range automobiles, together with the Air Jordan XIV, which attracts on the form and elegance of MJ’s Ferrari 550M. Additionally, look out for the Jumpman emblem which seems 14 occasions on this sneaker—a reference to this being the 14th within the Jordan collection. 

The preferred colorway of this mannequin is the Final Shot, a black-red combo immortalized when MJ wore them for his successful shot in Sport 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals.

Air Jordan XIII: Launched in 1997

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In the event you’ve watched Netflix’ The Final Dance, then you definately’ll positively acknowledge the Air Jordan XIIIs—the sneakers Michael wore for a lot of the 1997-1998 season. 

The sneaker seems indisputably and unashamedly luxurious—acceptable, actually, given it was worn by Jordan on the apex of his fame. The inspiration comes from a panther—an allusion to Jordan’s dexterity and predator-like reflexes on the court docket, in addition to his ‘Black Cat’ nickname. 

Certainly, the outsole resembles a panther’s paw and there are holograms on the underside and ankle that symbolize a cat’s glinting eye. 

Within the black and purple Bred colorway, specifically, the XIII is among the hottest Jordans ever. There are additionally low-top Jordans obtainable on this mannequin.

Air Jordan XVI: Launched in 2001

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Essentially the most notable and intriguing characteristic of the XVI is the detachable gaiter, lending these Michael Jordan sneakers a vibe that’s without delay technical and classy, fashion-forward and useful. 

With Michael Jordan now President and part-owner of the Washington Wizards, the XVI was particularly conceived of as a sneaker that could possibly be worn each on the court docket and within the boardroom. 

Air Jordan VIII: Launched in 1993

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Some of the characterful sneakers within the Michael Jordan shoe line-up, the VIII is chunky, defiant, and daring. With a chenille tongue graphic and twin straps that cross over the laces, the AJ VIIIs are most positively a 90s-style sneaker and a successful selection for anybody in search of one thing just a little totally different. Look out for the low-top model of the VIII, launched in 2003.

Air Jordan XVIII: Launched in 2003

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Some of the traffic-stopping and attention-grabbing sneakers of all occasions, the XVIII was worn by Jordan throughout his ultimate farewell in Washington in 2003. It featured a driving shoe heel—one other reference to the star’s penchant for ultra-fast cars—and got here with a towel, brush, and driver’s guide. 

Then there was the vamp cowl—extra like one thing you’d discover on a deluxe Italian gown shoe. Undoubtedly a pair of sneakers that nobody will overlook for some time.

Air Jordan XV: Launched in 1999

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It was round this time that the Air Jordan type took a flip in direction of the kooky and quirky, drawing on all types of offbeat and weird references. We’re not complaining. We love the distinctive and high-impact aesthetics of the XV, which was impressed by NASA’s X-15 fighter jet whereas the excessive cushioned collar takes its lead from (quite surprisingly) moccasins

The XV was the final sneaker to be designed by Tinker Hatfield and whereas MJ by no means really wore it on the court docket, it stays a notable addition to the footwear line. 

Air Jordan IX: Launched in 1993

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The AJ IX was launched throughout a interval when MJ was taking his first of three breaks from basketball, attempting his hand at minor league baseball as an alternative. Consequently, this sneaker resembles a baseball cleat. 

It additionally references MJ’s rising international affect, with totally different languages—together with Japanese and Swahili—on the outsoles, and phrases corresponding to devoted, independence, freedom, and drive—all a part of the Michael Jordan ethos.

Air Jordan XVII: Launched in 2002

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Created to mark the much-anticipated return of MJ to basketball for the 2001-2002 NBA season as a part of the Washington Wizards, the AJ XVII initially made waves on the sneaker scene for its elevated price ticket—the very best of all Jordans ever. 

However the price wasn’t the one noteworthy side of the sneaker. It was additionally impressed by jazz music, drawing parallels between the style’s improvisational qualities and MJ’s personal capacity to ad-lib on the court docket, and initially got here in a metallic briefcase with a CD-ROM. 

Air Jordan XIX: Launched in 2004

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All Jordan sneakers are identified for pushing the boundaries of sneaker design with artistic and modern spins on what all of us thought a basketball shoe ought to seem like. 

The XIX is living proof, with its radically uncommon silhouette. Apparently influenced by the black mamba snake, it’s positively acquired one eye on the type horizon with its braided sleeve rather than laces. There’s additionally a carbon fiber help shank and full-length Zoom Airbag with a conventional Air unit within the heel, making these a number of the most comfy and greatest Jordan sneakers round.

Air Jordan X: Launched in 1994

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Launched in celebration of a 10-year partnership between MJ and Nike, in addition to commemorating MJ’s momentary retirement from basketball to hitch the MLB, the AJ X is notable for its light-weight and clean-lined design and mixture of leather-based, nylon, and Zoom Air cushioning. 10 lateral stripes alongside the only real remind folks of the sports activities star’s illustrious first 10 years breaking basketball information. 

Air Jordan XX8: Launched in 2013

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A more moderen however no much less celebrated version to the AJ line, the XX8 was endorsed by Russell Westbrook, the basketball celebrity identified for his flashy dunks and explosive type.

This can be a show-stopping sneaker that takes no prisoners type or function-wise with its never-before-seen boot-high casing or ‘shroud’ (partly impressed by military combat boots) and responsive design with a versatile but supportive higher and strong traction.

Air Jordan XX3: Launched in 2008

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On condition that it was the identical quantity he wore on the court docket, the 23rd mannequin in Michael Jordan’s shoe line was at all times going to be further particular. And the XX3 really is a masterpiece. 

The final sneaker for die-hard MJ followers, the stitching is supposed to symbolize Michael Jordan’s DNA sample and also you’ll additionally discover the participant’s thumbprint embossed on the rear and his autograph on the toe. 

As a part of the pattern for extra eco-friendly sneakers (with Allbirds main the way in which), the XX3 can also be made utilizing as little toxins, waste, and bi-products as potential.

Air Jordan XX: Launched in 2005

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Designed to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Jordan Model, the AJ XX represents nothing lower than MJ’s life story in sneaker kind. An formidable purpose and one which designers Tinker Hatfield and Mark Smith have pulled off with attribute verve. 

There are over 200 symbols etched by lazar into the higher, summing up the sportsman’s whole biography, together with Michael sitting within the backseat of a 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo along with his mum, Deloris. 69 dimples alongside the aspect spoke are references to his highest-scoring recreation.

Air Jordan XXXV DNA: Launched in 2020

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The ultimate sneakers on our checklist are additionally a number of the wackiest, weirdest, and most memorable Michael Jordan sneakers of all time, someway evoking each the spirit of a fighter jet and 90s retro Jordans on the similar time. 

The XXXV DNA options the model’s uncovered Eclipse Plate 2.0, which extends up into the shoe’s higher, providing vitality return, stability, and cushioning. {A partially} uncovered Zoom Air bag within the heel helps with responsiveness whereas high-end supplies like nubuck and suede imply this sneaker wouldn’t have a look at all misplaced with a go well with for a smart-casual look.

Consumers information: how to decide on a pair of Air Jordans 

Earlier than we discover the query of which Air Jordans are greatest for you, first a little bit of background info on this oh-so-famous sneaker.

Air Jordan historical past

The primary-ever pair of Air Jordans had been launched to the general public on April 1st, 1985, following a partnership between Nike and now world-famous basketball icon Michael Jordan. 

Regardless of the very fact he was only a rookie on the time, Nike provided MJ an spectacular 5-year deal. Whereas at this level the model was higher identified for making observe footwear, they had been additionally exploring new operating shoe know-how and the primary pair of Jordans made their debut on the court docket in 1984, named the Air Jordan 1s, and had been game-changers from the get-go. 

The sneaker featured the traditional Nike Swoosh emblem alongside the Wings image. And, because the story goes, they had been banned by the NBA for being purple and black quite than principally white as per laws. Nike needed to pay $5,000 per recreation for breaking the foundations however the publicity was value it, establishing the sneaker’s risk-taking and non-conformist fame that endures to this present day. 

In 1986, the Air Jordan II was launched, adopted by the III in 1988, at which level the Nike Swoosh was changed with the Jumpman emblem—Michael Jordan, airborne.

As we speak, you possibly can choose up a pair of Air Jordans for round $145 on common. However you could possibly simply pay much more. MJ’s first-ever Air Jordans bought for $560,000 at public sale in 2020, for instance. The costliest Jordans ever, nevertheless, are Drake’s customized OVO X Air Jordans, made from strong gold and price $2 million. 

Air Jordans: design and signature type

What makes Air Jordans so distinctive? What particular particulars make all Jordans iconic and recognizable? 

Among the options which have contributed to creating Air Jordans such a pivotal a part of sneaker tradition embody the Jumpman emblem, a silhouette of Michael Jordan leaping via the air. There’s additionally the clear rubber sole, as initially discovered on the Air Jordan V, and the loop behind the shoe that makes it straightforward to get on and off.

Patent leather-based is a standard addition to many Jordans, a characteristic particularly requested by Michael Jordan himself. He wished a shoe he may put on with a go well with in addition to on the court docket. 

Nike’s Zoom Air know-how can also be present in most Jordans, boosting responsiveness, lowering pronation, and providing that quick-off-the-ground really feel that prime basketball gamers rely upon. 

The plastic lace lock discovered on Jordans is one other notable characteristic—designed to maintain laces in place throughout jumps and dunks.

Different options you may discover on Jordans embody a detachable shroud or gaiter—used to hide the laces for a dressier vibe—and a carbon fiber shank plate for help and stability. 

How to decide on a pair of Jordans

With so many fashions on provide, it may be onerous to decide on the correct pair of Air Jordans. There’s the query of aesthetics, in fact, but additionally athletic efficiency

How technically superior would you like your Michael Jordan sneakers to be? Or are you extra focused on retro Jordans with cool classic aptitude? 

In order for you one thing you possibly can put on to formal events, hunt down collaborations between the Jordan model and high-fashion homes, corresponding to Off-White, LA males’s boutique Union, or style stylist and blogger, Aleali Might.  

In order for you a pair of genuine and old-school Jordans, search for retro variations on the classics, such because the Air Jordan 1 Retro Chicago or 5 Hearth Purple Retro OG.  

Essentially the most high-performing Air Jordan in the mean time is the Jordan 35, that includes the most recent sneaker know-how, corresponding to an eclipse plate for prime vitality return, in addition to a Zoom Air sole. 

Continuously requested questions on Jordans

Which Jordan shoe is the preferred?

The preferred Jordans are the Air Jordan 1s. The unique sneakers within the line. They had been the primary to develop into a worldwide popular culture phenomenon. With their simple but iconic styling and superlative performance, they’re actual winners.

What are the top-selling Jordans?

The highest-selling Jordans embody the Air Jordan 1 ‘Black Toe’, the Air Jordan 1 ‘Chicago’, the Air Jordan 1 Retro Excessive OG Bordeaux, and the Air Jordan Mid Bred 1, a mid-top in a black and purple colorway, initially banned by the NBA.

What are the perfect Jordans to purchase proper now?

The very best Jordans to purchase proper now embody the Air Jordan 35, launched in 2020—a severe high-performing basketball sneaker. For street-style enchantment, the perfect Jordans embody style collaborations such because the Off-White x Air Jordan 4.

What’s MJ’s favourite Jordan shoe?

MJ’s favourite Jordan shoe is the Air Jordan 11 Concord. The shoe is thought for its modern aesthetics, together with patent leather-based that meant MJ may put on it for formal events. The sports activities star wore it for everything of the 1995-1996 season.

Which Jordan 1 has the highest quality?

There are numerous totally different Jordan 1 colorways available on the market now and all have the identical top quality as the unique Jordan 1s, comprised of full-grain calfskin with further cushioning and help. Among the best colorways is the Air Jordan 1 Black Toe.

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