The Almighty Jordan Shoe

The Jordan shoes list continues to grow. Nike has released an astonishing 33 sets of sneakers in the Air Jordan line along with a variety of specialty Jordan shoes for girls, boys, men, and women.

If you’re interested in the history of the most well-known pairs of basketball shoes, here is a closer look at all 33 releases in the Jordan lineup. Also if you want to purchase a pair of J’s that you see just click on the bold name of the shoe to get more details.

 AJ I (Released in 1985)

Nike made the original Air Jordan specifically for Michael Jordan during the 1984/1985 basketball season. The public soon had their chance to lace up a pair of Jordan shoes with the shoes hitting shelves in 1985 for $65.

After Jordan and the rest of the USA men’s Olympic basketball team won gold at the 1984 Summer Olympics, Michael Jordan signed a five-year deal with Nike. The endorsement deal led to the creation of the first Air Jordan shoes.

Nike called the original prototype the Nike Air Ship, designed by Peter C. Moore. At the time, NBA Commissioner David Stern banned the mostly red and black shoes for not having enough white on them. 

The NBA fined Micheal $5,000 everytime he wore them in a game. Over 3 million pairs were sold in the first year. The Air Jordan I shoes were also the only ones to feature the famous Nike Swoosh logo.

Fact or myth:

After Jordan left North Carolina, he wanted to sign with adidas, not nike. He was a self described “adidas nut” and told his agent if adidas came close to nike’s offer, he would sign with them. I guess it wasn’t, what was they thinking!!!

AJ II (1986)

The first Air Jordan was a major success, leading to the design of the Air Jordan II. Peter C. Moore and Bruce Kilgore designed this new version with improved cushioning and a full-length Nike air bubble.

Nike produced the new shoes in Italy instead of the U.S. and originally sold them for $100. They were also made with italian leather.

The Air Jordan II remains the first and only shoe in the series produced in Italy.The designers also removed the Nike Swoosh logo and moved the “Wings” logo from the original Air Jordan to the tongue.

As with the previous version, Jordan wore these shoes for actual NBA games. Unfortunately, he suffered a broken foot during the 86/87 season and only wore the Air Jordan II shoes for 18 games.

  AJ III (1988)

Before the release of the Air Jordan III shoes, Michael Jordan was ready to part ways with Nike. Tinker Hatfield, a designer at Nike, helped change his mind, thanks to the design of the AJ III.

The new shoes featured a visible Air-Sole under the heel and superior leather compared to the Air Jordan II. However, the most prominent new feature was the addition of the “Jumpman” logo.

The famous silhouette of Michael Jordan dunking has appeared on all Air Jordan shoes starting with the Air Jordan III.

Michael Jordan went on to average 35 points per game, earned an MVP award during the All-Star Game, and won his second straight Slam Dunk title.

The Air Jordan III also had an extensive media advertising campaign including a TV spot featuring Spike Lee.

Did you know jordan wanted to leave nike in 1987, but an inexperienced designer created the shoe that convinced him to stay.


 AJ IV (1989)

Nike released the Air Jordan IV in 1989, also designed by Tinker Hatfield. This shoe also marked a first for the Air Jordan lineup. It was the first AJ released to the global market instead of just North America.

These shoes also had the Jumpman logo but Tinker added the word “Flight” below it.

Another first in the series, the Air Jordan IV had a mesh upper, increasing the breathability of the shoes. Spike Lee reprised his role for more TV spots, an advertising gimmick that has continued over the years.


 AJ V (February 1990)

The Air Jordan V came out in 1990 to a mixed response. The shoes had translucent rubber soles that tended to turn yellow over time, especially when exposed to moisture.

The AJ V was an overhaul of the previous designs. Tinker Hatfield used some elements from the previous Jordan shoes but mostly gave the shoes a new look. The new design was more aggressive with its shark tooth design on the midsole.

The Jumpman logo still appeared on the shoes, embroidered on the tongue. With the AJ V, Nike also added an offset ankle collar intended to improve support and flexibility.

Did you know this?

The fin like design on the bottom of the Air Jordan 5 was inspired by World War 2 fighter plane, a Spitfire mk 8.

 AJ VI (1991)

The Air Jordan VI has become one of the most iconic shoes in the Jordan lineup. It included extra reinforcement around the toe and a molded heel tab on the back. It was also the last to include the Nike Air logo.

Michael Jordan wore a pair of these shoes with the black and red colorway when he helped the Chicago Bulls win the 1991 NBA Championship. The shoes also appeared in the movie White Men Can’t Jump.

Michael personally requested the heel tab on the back of the shoe so it would not hurt his achillies tendon. Due to the popularity of the Air Jordan VI, Nike has re-released this shoe at least six different times.


 AJ VII (1992)

Tinker Hatfield continued to update his previous designs with the release of the Air Jordan VII. This time, he added huarache technology, which helped the shoes conform to the wearer’s foot.

Huarache technology also made the shoes lighter. In fact, these shoes were the lightest basketball shoes available at the time. This shoe also featured the #9, his olympic number he wore for the Dream Team.

Tinker removed a few features including the visible air sole, the translucent soles, and the Nike Air logo. The Air Jordan VII is most recognizable as the shoes that Michael wore during an ad campaign featuring Bugs Bunny.

Did you know that hatfeild designed the jordan 7 with insperation from this Afro funk poster

 AJ VIII (1992)

While the Air Jordan VII was the lightest shoe, the Air Jordan VIII was one of the heaviest. Nike released it in time for the 1992/1993 NBA season and included advanced ankle support and traction.

The polycarbonate shank plate, polyurethane midsole, and full-length air sole added to the weight, support, and overall comfort.

The original colorways included white/black/red and two separate suede versions — black/red and black/aqua. Michael wore the aqua shoes during the 1993 NBA All-Star Game. If you own a pair of the aqua shoes, hold on to them as it is one of the most sought-after Air Jordan shoes.

  AJ IX    (November 1993)

The Air Jordan 9 was the first model released after Jordan retired from the NBA. MJ stunned the world when he announced his retirement in October of 1993.

Nike released the shoes a month later, the first pair that Michael Jordan did not wear in competition.

But Nike was already prepared to intrduce the shoe without M.J. During the 93-94 season B.J Armstrong, Mitch Richmond, Kendall Gill, and  Penny Hardaway wore an exclusive version of this Air Jordan.

Interestingly, the designer received his inspiration for the design from the look of baseball cleats. Shortly after retiring from basketball, Jordan signed with the Birmingham Barons AA minor league baseball team.

As with the previous two versions, the Air Jordan IX had an inner sock sleeve. The newer version also had different symbols for different countries and was available in a wide variety of colorways.

og ex-nike designer peter moore came up with the idea for the iconic jordan logo like this(click to find out)

During a flight Moore seen a kid wearing pilots wings that the pilot provided him. Moore sketched the idea on a napkin and the Jordan logo was born.

 AJ X (1995)

The Air Jordan X also came in a variety of colors. Tinker Hatfield served as the lead designer again. This time, Tinker simplified the design. The shoes featured cleaner lines and lightweight material. Other elements include a padded collar and an elastic band lacing system.

Michael Jordan wore these shoes for his quick return to the NBA. While the Chicago Bulls did not go on to win another championship, MJ helped lead the team to several impressive wins. This included a 55-point win against the Knicks just nine days after returning to the NBA.

The Air Jordan X is another popular pair. In fact, even some of the smaller sizes of these Jordan shoes for girls and boys have sold for thousands of dollars in recent years.




* 86 63 POINTS









  AJ XI (1995)

Michael Jordan retired from the NBA for a second time before he got a chance to wear the Air Jordan XI designed by Tinker Hatfield. Tinker improved the design after watching footage of Jordan playing.

The new shoes had patent leather and an upper with polymer-coated mesh material. The tongue and collar had padding for ankle support. These features helped the Air Jordan XI become one of the most beloved pairs of Jordan shoes for men or women.

Fans of the movie Space Jam may recognize these shoes as the ones that Michael Jordan wore. Thanks to the patent leather, MJ also felt that you could wear these shoes with a tuxedo. A few months later, Boyz II Men arrived at an awards show wearing tuxes and the Air Jordan XI shoes.


Jordan was fined for wearing the Jordan xi in the first 2 games of the 95 playoffs second round. Michael didn’t want a third fine, so in the third game Penny Hardaway from Orlando Magic, gave him a pair of air flights. Penny used to cut the heel tab off of one shoe to make it his own. Jordan cut the other one off. ONE UPPED!!!

 AJ XII (1996)

The Air Jordan 12 is the first pair on this Jordan shoes list without any Nike branding. also the first JORDAN TO HAVE A ZOOM AIR UNIT.

Tinker Hatfield received his inspiration for the design from “Nisshoki” the Japanese flag.

The updated shoes had a cleaner, simpler design. These shoes also had the slogan “TWO 3” on the tongue and metal lace hoops with small Jumpman logos.

As Michael Jordan had returned to the NBA again, he got to wear these shoes during the 1997 NBA finals.

The night before, Jordan fell ill but he went on to score 38 points during Game 5 of the finals against the Utah Jazz while wearing the Air Jordan XII.

This also played a key role for inspiration on the air jordan 12

19th century women's shoes like these

Picture from The Dreamstress

  AJ XIII (1997

Tinker Hatfield continued his tenure designing the Air Jordan shoes, giving the Air Jordan XIII several new features.

The Air Jordan XIII has a paw-like design on the outsole and a hologram made to resemble a panther’s eye on the upper. Tinker also added a carbon fiber shank to the midfoot for more support.

Jordan wore these shoes throughout the 1997/1998 NBA season until the Air Jordan XIV came out during the playoffs. Nike released the 13th Jordan shoe in five colorways. MJ wore the white colorways for home games and the black for road games.

This was the last Air Jordan shoe to be released while M.J was a member of the Chicago Bulls.

the original black & white colorways appeared in this classic flick in 1998

denzel wore them in the movie he got game

AJ XIV (1997)

The Air Jordan XIV received the honor of being the last shoes that Michael Jordan wore as a Chicago Bull. For this new entry in the Jordan lineup, Tinker Hatfield teamed with Mark Smith to redesign the iconic shoes.

New features included an asymmetrical collar for added ankle support and breathable mesh vents on the outsole.

The designers took their inspiration from Michael Jordan’s love for sports cars. The Air Jordan XIV has a Ferrari-like shield with the Jumpman logo. The logo also appears in six other spots across the shoe so each pair has a total of 14 Jumpman logos.

  AJ XV (1999)

Michael Jordan retired again in 1999 before Tinker started on the Air Jordan XV. For these new shoes, Tinker received inspiration from the design of the X-15 HYPER SONIC fighter plane.

The new design reflected the speed of the fighter plane, thanks to its sharp-edged silhouette and fully molded heel counter.

It also had a large mesh tongue that stuck out, mimicking the way that Michael Jordan frequently stuck out his tongue while dunking. Other highlights include a hidden speed-lacing system, an injected TPU heel counter, and rubber traction pods.

fact or myth?

When Michael first seen the “Bred” (Black & Red Colorway)he refused to wear them because he felt that it was the “Devil’s Colors”

 AJ XVI (2001

After Michael Jordan stepped away from the court, Tinker Hatfield stepped away from designing Jordan shoes. Wilson Smith took over and incorporated several design elements from earlier versions of the shoes, including the clear rubber sole and patent leather.

A unique feature was the addition of the removable shroud, allowing wearers to easily give the Air Jordan XVI a different look.

The shroud covered the laces and added thermal protection. However, people often complained that the shoes were too stiff and that the shroud could easily come off when playing ball.

Despite the complaints, many people consider this one of the more stylish options in the Jordan shoes list.


 AJ XVII (2002)

The Air Jordan XVII was the first pair to reach the $200 mark. Michael Jordan didn’t get to wear these on the court but he wore them as the president of basketball operations for the Washington Wizards.

Wilson Smith designed these shoes, which feature smooth lines inspired by the flow of jazz music. The shoes also have elements inspired by the luxury Aston Martin vehicles.

The most notable design features include a reinforced midsole and a removable cover for the laces. The shoes also came in a large metal carrying case and a CD with the theme song for the shoes. Nike hired jazz musician Michael Phillips to record an original tune.


First Musician To Be Signed By Nike

 AJ XVIII (2003)

By the time that Nike released the Air Jordan XVIII in 2003, Michael Jordan was playing in the NBA again. He wore these shoes for the final NBA game of his career.

The shoes also mark a transition behind the scenes. Nike brought in designer Tate Kuerbis. The designer received his inspiration for the design from sports cars, as with the Air Jordan XIV.

The new shoes had a one-piece leather upper and a hand-stitched outsole. They came in a pull-out box featuring a cut-out of the number “18” on the box. If you purchased one of the suede colorways, they also came with a brush & TOWEL.

I mentioned that the Jordan 18 was inspired from racing. Check out these racing shoes and you will uderstand what I mean.

AJ XIX (2004)

The Air Jordan XIX marks the beginning of a new era. It’s an era without Michael Jordan on or behind the court. The design team also experienced a few changes.

Tate Kuerbis was still the lead designer, joined by a team that included Wilson Smith, Suzette Henri, and Josh Heard. The new shoe  included supportive material never used by shoe designers. A industrial braided sleeving(Called Tech-Flex)used in the automobile industry.

Very durable and stretches comfortably, but has enormous support capabilities. The Air Jordan XIX was one of the most comfortable, breathable options in the Jordan lineup.

While Michael Jordan didn’t wear these shoes, several prominent NBA players did. Jason Kidd, Richard Hamilton, and Carmelo Anthony were among the players sporting Air Jordan XIX shoes.

 AJ XX (2005)

With the Air Jordan XX, Nike brought Tinker Hatfield back. The 20th shoes in the Jordan lineup introduced the Independent Podular Suspension system, providing superior cushioning.

These included the numbers 85 and 05 on the heel, commemorating the year that Nike first released the Air Jordan shoes and the year of the current release.

The strap was also unique. It had a laser-etched design created by Mark Smith. This was also the last pair of Air Jordan shoes to have a removable strap cover for the laces.

Michael’s new love at this time was motorcycle racing. So some design ideas came from high performance motorcycles and heavy-duty racing boots.

Do you know which Air Jordans are being worn by statue Michael?

The Air Jordan IX

AJ XXI (2006)

The Air Jordan XXI had a new lead designer. D’Wayne Edwards took over and continued the trend of using luxury vehicles for design inspiration. The elegance of the Bentley Continental GT Coupe acted as inspiration for the design of the XXI.

Edwards added several new features including a seamless diamond-quilted bootie and a lower foot air grille. These shoes also continued to improve the design of the Independent Podular Suspension (IPS) system. You could now choose between encapsulated Air cushioning or Zoom Air.

The commercials of the era were also memorable, featuring younger athletes recreating moments from Michael Jordan’s impressive career.

AJ II (1986)

The Air Jordan XX2 is the second and last pair of shoes with lead designer D’Wayne Edwards. For inspiration, he looked at the F-22 fighter jet. The shoes had sharper lines and a streamlined design.

With the Air Jordan XX2, you still got the interchangeable IPS system used in the XXI. The shoes also had a new metallic mesh and a camouflage pattern.

Nike also released two special editions of the XX2. The first special edition commemorated Michael Jordan’s birthday while the second had a laser-etched image of MJ after winning his sixth NBA championship.

Here is a cool fact about the air jordan 22

Previous Air Jordans had a carbon fiber shank plate(the shank is a part of the supportive structure between the insole and outsole)to provide midfoot stability, but for the Jordan 22 the shank plate is made of titanium. This shank was stronger and lighter. Heres the cool part, the atomic number for titanium(Ti)is 22.

 AJ XX3 (January 2008)

Tinker Hatfield returned for the Air Jordan XX3. This was the first pair of Air Jordan shoes to only use material sourced from within 200 miles of a Nike factory as part of the company’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

This was a very complex and complicated shoe for it’s time. An automotive paint process was used for the thermo plastic urethane and completed by a robotic arm. Also a machine stitched the upper in 3-D form.

The smaller sizes of the Air Jordan XX3 also became one of the most popular Jordan shoes for girls. The hand-stitched exterior gave the shoes a new look that was more versatile and suitable for a variety of occasions.

The XX3 was an important milestone as 23 is also Michael Jordan’s number. The shoes also have MJ’s initials stitched on the upper and the lowest-profile midsole compared to any previous Air Jordan shoes.

 AJ 2009 (January 2009)

Nike momentarily stopped using Roman numerals to name the Air Jordan shoes. Starting with the Air Jordan 2009, Nike named the shoes for the year of their release.

These shoes featured a new designer. Jason Mayden took the lead and drew inspiration from fencing. The Air Jordan 2009 also had a connection to the Air Jordan XI, using panache leather.

There was also new innovation like Articulated Propulsion Technology, a design to propel the wearer forward while running or up while jumping. Also a  TPU midsole chassis with a special blown-glass-inspired injection process creating a unique pattern on all shoes ensuring that no two are exactly alike.

The upper featured a pleated satin material, adding durability and ventilation. The shoes were also lightweight and contoured to the foot.

The Air Jordan 2009 came in two colorways — white/black/grey and black/varsity red. When Michael Jordan received his induction into the NBA Hall of Fame, Nike released a special colorway with black/varsity red/white/metallic gold.

In order to fight counterfeiters, this was done to the Jordan xx1's

When viewed under a black light, a hidden message was revealed. When the capital letters from message were rearranged, they spelled out “AUTHENTIC,” to verify the legitimacy of the sneaker. 

 AJ 2010 (February 2010)

Tinker Hatfield and Mark Smith took the lead for the Air Jordan 2010. These two had previously designed the popular Air Jordan XIV.

One of the most unique features of this pair of shoes was the clear window on the outer side of the shoe.

Tinker was inspired by Michael”s game on the court. The way he would let opposing players think he was exposing a move to them, and then switch it up to throw the defense off balance.This concept of transparency was translated into the  windows

The midsole also featured a hidden quote from Michael Jordan.If you look at the inscription, the quote looks as if Nike added random gibberish. Look carefully and you’ll read “I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

AJ 2011 (February 2011)

The Air Jordan 2011 features the design team of Hatfield and Luedecke. The two added several new elements including leather with fading colors and a perforated pattern. If you rub your hand on the leather, you can change its color.

Each shoe was carefully finished with a hand burnishing process, ensuring every design is unique upon completion. The constellation-inspired design is symbolic of Jordan Brand’s status as a universal brand.

For extra breathability, the shoes have two mesh windows. Overall, they included some of the finest details and craftsmanship of the series.

It also features two types of cushioning. Customers could choose between an Explosive option and a Quick option.



AJ 2012 (February 2012)

Hatfield and Luedecke continued working together for the creation of the Air Jordan 2012.Tinker was inspired by the zoot suits and flashy wingtip dress shoes popular in jazz circles of the 1930s and ‘40s, which was noticeable on the shapes and perforation designs of the leather paneling. 

With this pair of shoes, Nike offered six customization options.The shoes had two interchangeable sleeves and three insoles. You could switch out the insoles or the sleeves based on your playing style.

The three insoles included a Fly Around midsole for speed and agility, a Fly Over midsole for extra elevation, and a Fly Through midsole for those who need more impact protection. You could also switch between a low-cut sleeve and a high-cut sleeve.

AJ XX8 (February 2013)

With the Air Jordan XX8, Tinker Hatfield revolutionized the design of this iconic series again. Parttially inspired by a military combat boot, He added a shroud that covered the shoes, hiding the design features.

People could unzip the shroud, revealing only as much of the shoes as they wanted. Underneath this shroud, the shoes had a new Jordan Flight Plate and Dynamic Fit straps, adding more support to the shoes.

The Air Jordan XX8 still included the interchangeable insoles and the same quality found in previous versions. With the release of these shoes in 2013, Nike also went back to Roman numerals.

In 1989 tinker made a boot for this super hero

The original 1989 Bat-boots were designed by Tinker Hatfield for Tim Burton’s Batman

 AJ XX9 (September 2014)

The Air Jordan XX9 has the distinction of being the lightest in the series. The shoes had an upper constructed from a single piece of performance-woven material.(Inspired by a woven car air bag)

Thanks to the seamless weaving process, Nike could add an oversized Jumpman logo to the shoes as the designers had a larger canvas to work with.

The newer shoes feature fewer layers, improving the breathability and comfort of the Air Jordans. Overall, most people found these shoes to be incredibly supportive and comfortable.

Three Facts you probably didn't know about the air jordan 29
  1. Tinker Hatfield first showed Michael Jordan what the XX9 would be made of at MJ’s dining room table.

  2. The same machines that make the XX9’s upper are used to make ties.

  3. Russell Westbrook wore the sneaker before it came out .

 AJ XXX (January 2016)

The Air Jordan XXX retained the single-piece woven upper designed for the XX9 shoes and incorporated several other elements from the past.

For this pair of shoes, experienced designers Tinker Hatfield and Mark Smith took features from the III, IV, and V shoes. These features included  a triple “X” design on the heel, a dot-printed Jumpman on the toe, FlightSpeed, and a woven textile upper.  The XXX also brought back the Dynamic Fit lacing system.

The Air Jordan 30 is inspired by an iconic photo of Michael Jordan dunking in 1988.


Guess what Michael Jordan's nickname in highschool was


AJ XXXI (September 2016)

For the 31st entry in the Jordan lineup, Nike brought Tate Kuerbis back as lead designer. The inspiration for the silhouette of this shoe came from the original Air Jordan I. As with the original shoes, the Air Jordan XXXI had ankle support from a higher top and a lower-profile midsole to keep the foot lower to the ground.

Tate Kuerbis also added a few innovations. These shoes include leather featuring Flyweave technology. Flyweave used advanced weaving to create a lightweight yet durable leather material.

With the Air Jordan XXXI, you got greater durability, support, and flexibility.



 AJ XXXII (September 2017)

Lead designer Tate Kuerbis used the Air Jordan II for inspiration when designing the Air Jordan XXXII. This is most noticeable in the “Wings” logo added to the shoes.

As with the Jordan II shoes, the newer update has sloping lines and horizontal fins. However, this shoe also included a few new details including a Flyknit upper, which partially hides the laces.

Besides these features, Nike tweaked almost every detail to improve performance. The traction, midfoot fiber plate, and Zoom Air bag all received updates.

fact or myth

Jordan never actually had the flu during the “Flu Game”. His sickness came from a bad takeout pizza.


 AJ XXXIII (September 2018)

The Air Jordan 33 is the latest addition to the Jordan shoes list. Nike released the newest entry in September of 2018. This is the first pair of shoes in the lineup to feature a lace-less design.

Instead of a lacing system, the shoes have straps called the FastFit system. The straps easily tighten and release for a secure fit.

Tate Kuerbis designed this latest entry that retails for $175. It has a clean and bold look, thanks to the side panels and tongue that contrast with the rest of the shoe.

After 33 variations, the Air Jordan lineup remains a top seller for Nike. While Michael Jordan hasn’t appeared on the court in years, don’t expect Nike to stop making new versions any time soon.