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Top 5 Air Jordan Sneakers of All Time

by Louise W. Rice

Believe it or not, there was a time when Michael Jordan didn’t want to sign with Nike. At the start of his NBA career, he was more interested in signing with Adidas.

Had he gone in this direction, there is a chance that almost all of the Air Jordan sneakers that exist today wouldn’t be around. There might be other types of Air Jordans, but they wouldn’t be the Air Jordans that everyone has come to know and love.

Thankfully, MJ did eventually agree to an endorsement deal with Nike, and the rest was history. Nike has put out all kinds of Air Jordan kicks over time with many of them turning into some of the best sneakers ever released.

Today, we will take a closer look at five of the best Air Jordan sneakers that Nike has ever put out. If you’re interested in picking up a pair of Jordans, one of these five Air Jordan types would be your best bet.

1. Air Jordan I

The first Air Jordan sneakers were released in 1985 during MJ’s second season in the NBA. They didn’t have much of the basketball sneaker technology that would show up in later Air Jordans, but they had an iconic look that made them special from the start.

They also benefitted from all the controversy that they caused. MJ started wearing a red and black pair, and NBA Commissioner David Stern ended up banning them from the floor because they didn’t contain enough white in them.

At first, this may have seemed like something that would set the first Air Jordan sneakers back. But instead, they earned the original Air Jordans plenty of free press and helped turn them into a massive success.

2. Air Jordan III

If you’re only going to buy one pair of Air Jordan sneakers, you might want to make it the Air Jordan III. They were originally released by Nike back in 1988, and they were an almost instant success among both sneaker enthusiasts and MJ fans.

This has continued well into the 21st century as Nike has released and re-released the Air Jordan III in so many different colorways at this point. It has helped the Air Jordan III transform into one of the ultimate off-the-court Air Jordan sneakers.

3. Air Jordan IV

The first three pairs of Air Jordan sneakers were released exclusively in the U.S. But after seeing how successful they were, Nike decided to put together a pair of Air Jordans for the international market.

The Air Jordan IV was designed by legendary sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield, and he knocked it out of the park. It also helped that these were the sneakers MJ was wearing when he hit “The Shot” against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1989 NBA Playoffs.

Oh, and did we mention that Nike called on Spike Lee to appear in commercials for the Air Jordan IV? That was yet another thing that helped to put these Air Jordan sneakers over the top.

Just like the Air Jordan III sneakers that came before them, the Air Jordan IV sneakers have been released and re-released in so many colorways over the years. They continue to be some of the most popular sneakers ever put out by Nike 30 years after they were first made available.

4. Air Jordan V

Following the success of the Air Jordan IV, Nike decided to stick with what worked by once again handing over the design reins to Tinker Hatfield when it was time to create the Air Jordan V sneakers. And he once again delivered for Nike and MJ in a big way with his Air Jordan V design.

There were some elements of the Air Jordan IV that popped back up in the Air Jordan V sneakers, but Hatfield was also careful to make the Air Jordan V look unique. It included everything from a reflective tongue to translucent soles and looked like no other sneakers on the market because of these features.

Since these Air Jordan sneakers came out in 1990, they’ve been reworked with different colors time and time again. Visit kickscrew.com to see some of the colorways that are available today.

5. Air Jordan XI

You didn’t think we were going to make a list of the best Air Jordan sneakers of all time and not include the Air Jordan XI, did you? That would be blasphemous in every sense of the word.

Of all the Air Jordan sneakers that have been released over the last 40 years, the Air Jordan XI is probably the most beloved. The patent leather on them set them apart from the pack when they were first released in 1995. They were also able to gain tons of fanfare after showing up in MJ’s movie SpaceJam.

To this day, it can still be very difficult to secure a pair of Air Jordan XI sneakers when they’re released. They were the epitome of Air Jordan sneakers and have helped define MJ’s magical run as a Nike ambassador.

Buy One of the Best Pairs of Air Jordan Sneakers

If you’re sitting there wondering, “Wait, they didn’t include [insert the name of any Air Jordan sneakers not on this list]?!?”, we can’t even blame you. There are so many awesome Air Jordan sneakers that have been released, including many that wouldn’t fit onto this list.

No matter which Air Jordan sneakers you like the most, you should buy them in bulk and keep wearing them. They aren’t ever going to go out of style and will likely only become more popular (and more expensive!) in the years to come.

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