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About

Data and methodology

All shoes were drawn as vectors in Adobe Illustrator from reference photos on the official Air Jordan site, Sneakerfiles, and Flightclub. The shoes were exported as SVGs and morphed using the .interpolateAll() function from Flubber, a javascript library written by Noah Veltman.

Special thanks to Russell Goldenberg for the coding assist.

This project is not affiliated with the Jordan brand or its parent Nike.

A visual history of every

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01Air Jordan I

Release date April 1985

Original price $65

Designer Peter Moore

Air Jordan I

Both Michael Jordan and his first Air Jordan shoe burst onto the NBA scene in flashy fashion in 1985. Jordan was named Rookie of the Year... and the Air Jordan I was banned by the NBA, at least according to Nike lore. In reality, NBA commissioner David Stern banned a similar black and red shoe that predated the AJ I for violating the league’s uniform policy. But Nike’s marketing story stuck: the shoes were banned, and Jordan was charged a $5,000 fee (which Nike covered) each time he wore them on the court. This tale of defiance and “brazen charisma” came to define the Air Jordan brand for decades to come.

02Air Jordan II

Release date November 1986

Original price $100

Designer Peter Moore & Bruce Kilgore

Air Jordan II

The Air Jordan II set the tone for every other shoe in the franchise — quality materials, cutting-edge technology and elegant design. They were the first Air Jordans to cross the $100 retail threshold and the last by original designer Peter Moore and Bruce Kilgore, who also designed the iconic silhouette of the Air Force I. The sneakers, made in Italy with faux lizard skin, ditched the iconic Nike swoosh. Nike’s accompanying 1986 commercial featured MJ effortlessly walking through the air and throwing down his signature “Rock-a-bye Baby” dunk.

03Air Jordan III

Release date January 1988

Original price $100

Designer Tinker Hatfield

Air Jordan III

MJ dominated the 1988 NBA season while wearing the Air Jordan III. He was named both league MVP and Defensive Player of the Year and soared to his second dunk contest title. With this win, “came an inspiring and memorable image of flight,” and the Jumpman logo was born. The AJ III was designed by Tinker Hatfield, who would go on to become the most prolific Air Jordan designer and the force behind 21 of the 32 sneakers in the franchise. The AJ III’s comedic commercial featured Jordan alongside (or rather, under) Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It Mars Blackmon character.

04Air Jordan IV

Release date February 1989

Original price $110

Designer Tinker Hatfield

Air Jordan IV

MJ’s gravity-defying performances on the court (see “the shot”) no doubt helped the Air Jordan franchise’s popularity, but the kicks were also starting to become a pop culture icon away from the hardwood. Jordan again paired with director Spike Lee, and a scuffed AJ IV was featured in a scene that took on race, class and gentrification in his film Do the Right Thing. The sneaker was Jordan’s first global release and gave wearers the ability to lace up in 18 different patterns.

05Air Jordan V

Release date February 1990

Original price $125

Designer Tinker Hatfield

Air Jordan V

Designer Tinker Hatfield, taking inspiration from Jordan’s “dogfight-like flight” and “biting style,” designed the Air Jordan V with shark-tooth shapes reminiscent of American WWII fighter planes. The sneakers also featured a clear rubber sole, which Hatfield might have borrowed from another iconic shoe he designed that year: Marty McFly’s self-lacing Nikes from Back to the Future II.

06Air Jordan VI

Release date 1991

Original price $125

Designer Tinker Hatfield

Air Jordan VI

Wearing his Air Jordan VI, MJ claimed his first NBA championship during the 1990-1991 season with the Chicago Bulls. The silhouette of the shoe was inspired by MJ’s German sports car, and designer Tinker Hatfield included many firsts and personal touches: it was the first basketball shoe to have a reinforced toe, the first in the franchise to include a loop or “spoiler” on the back of the shoe to help the wearer get them on and off, and if you look closely, MJ’s number 23 can be seen in the shoe’s side shapes.

07Air Jordan VII

Release date 1992

Original price $125

Designer Tinker Hatfield

Air Jordan VII

After a season in which Jordan repeated as NBA champion, Finals MVP and regular season MVP, he rocked the Air Jordan VII on the international stage as part of the infamous “Dream Team” that took home gold in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The original sneakers featured MJ’s number 23, but a special Olympic color scheme, or colorway. was released with his Team USA number 9. All the designs for the AJ VII were inspired by African Tribal prints. The AJ VII also marked a visible split from Nike branding and a blossoming pairing with Bugs Bunny. The commercial featured Bugs as “Hare Jordan” alongside the original “Air Jordan.”

08Air Jordan VIII

Release date 1993

Original price $125

Designer Tinker Hatfield

Air Jordan VIII

The Air Jordan VIII debuted the same year that Jordan and the Chicago Bulls cemented themselves as a dynasty by capturing their third consecutive NBA championship. MJ also three-peated as Finals MVP and led the league in scoring for the seventh year in a row. Designer Tinker Hatfield ran wild on these kicks: the AJ VIII is the only model in the franchise to feature crossover straps atop the laces, the tongue sports a fuzzy chenille Jumpman graphic, and the Black/Bright Concord — Aqua Tone colorway made it a “distinctly ’90s sneaker.”

09Air Jordan IX

Release date 1993

Original price $125

Designer Tinker Hatfield

Air Jordan IX

After three years on top, Michael Jordan announced his retirement, a move in part prompted by the murder of Jordan’s father earlier in 1993. Although Jordan took a hiatus from basketball, his brand was still turning out coveted kicks. The shoe represented MJ’s global superstar status, and designer Tinker Hatfield incorporated elements from many different cultures. With a “rising sun” and Jumpman logo on the back, the AJ IX features multilingual translations of Jordan’s attributes, such as independence, freedom, athletic, and force on the sole.

10Air Jordan X

Release date 1994-1995

Original price $125

Designer Tinker Hatfield

Air Jordan X

Jordan traded in his sneakers for cleats and had a brief stint as a minor league baseball player. Nike and long-time designer Tinker Hatfield thought it was the end of Jordan’s basketball career, so they designed with that in mind. The AJ X sole features a list of MJ’s accomplishments from each of his seasons in the NBA. But Jordan was far from done, and on March 18, 1995, he sent the Chicago Bulls a fax with two words: “I’m back.” In his first game back, MJ, wearing the AJ X and the number 45, dropped 55 points on the New York Knicks in the now infamous “double nickel” game. The official commercial for the AJ X even poked fun at Jordan’s career switch, suggesting that it was all a dream.

11Air Jordan XI

Release date 1995

Original price $125

Designer Tinker Hatfield

Air Jordan XI

In 1995, MJ was officially back with a vengeance: “En route to one of his most impressive years to date, Jordan clinched MVP, All-Star MVP and Finals MVP before securing his fourth championship ring.” For the AJ XI, designer Tinker Hatfield wanted something that embodied performance and aerodynamics. He drew his inspiration from a shiny, convertible car body and created the base of the shoe out of patent leather. Jordan reunited with old pal Bugs Bunny for the Space Jam movie, and the AJ XI were featured in a scene that pans upward from MJ’s sneakers.

12Air Jordan XII

Release date November 1996

Original price $135

Designer Tinker Hatfield

Air Jordan XII

The Air Jordan XII is considered to be one of the most durable Air Jordans of all time, and both the shoe and the legend were in fine form for the 1996-97 NBA season. MJ recorded 38 points in the legendary “Flu Game,” where he battled a 103-degree temperature and still bested the Utah Jazz in Game 5 of the Finals, on his way to his fifth ring. Designer Tinker Hatfield borrowed from the Japanese Nisshoki shoe and Rising Sun flag (the side stitching resembles sun rays). Like many Air Jordan models before it, the AJ XII featured Jordan’s number 23, but this time it was on the tongue and written as “Two 3.”

13Air Jordan XIII

Release date November 1997

Original price $150

Designer Tinker Hatfield

Air Jordan XIII

Jordan had a lot of nicknames: “Air Jordan,” “His Airness,” and “Jumpman,” but the one that sometimes gets lost is “Black Cat.” The AJ XIII pays homage to MJ’s stealthy prowess with a black panther as the inspiration. Tinker Hatfield designed the outsole to look like a panther’s paw and placed a green holographic eye featuring the number 23, a basketball, and the Jumpman logo by the heel. Jordan wore the AJ XIII during the 1997-98 NBA regular season in route to another three-peat and his sixth and final ring.

14Air Jordan XIV

Release date October 1998

Original price $150

Designer Tinker Hatfield

Air Jordan XIV

During the 1998 Finals, designer Tinker Hatfield slipped Jordan a prototype for the AJ XIV, asking Jordan not to wear or reveal it. But MJ took an instant liking to the sneakers and laced them up. Jordan was wearing the AJ XIV when he hit his famed “Last Shot” to clinch his sixth and final championship over the Utah Jazz. This was the last model MJ wore as a Chicago Bull. Like many other shoes in the Air Jordan franchise, the AJ XIV take inspiration from Jordan’s fast cars, this time his Ferrari 550 M (the Jumpman logo is placed in a Ferrari-like crest on the side of the sneaker). Each sneaker also squeezes in seven Jumpman logos, giving the pair a total of 14.

15Air Jordan XV

Release date December 1999

Original price $150

Designer Tinker Hatfield

Air Jordan XV

Jordan retired for the second time at the end of the 1997-98 season, and the AJ XV was the first Air Jordan that would never see playing time on his foot. In the commercial for the AJ XV, Jordan embraced his new role outside of the player spotlight as a savvy businessman. The ad features rising sports stars, such as Derek Jeter and Ray Allen, along with MJ himself in a suit. The AJ XV also marked the 13th consecutive Air Jordan model that Tinker Hatfield designed. It would be the iconic designer’s last until he was brought back for the AJ XX. The shoe was modeled after the record-breaking X-15 fighter jet and featured a woven Kevlar aramid fiber upper and a protruding tongue reminiscent of MJ’s own when he would soar in for a dunk.

16Air Jordan XVI

Release date February 2001

Original price $160

Designer Wilson Smith III

Air Jordan XVI

For the first time in over a decade, the Air Jordan franchise had a new designer: Wilson Smith III. The marching boot-like AJ XVI was designed with a detachable magnetic shroud that “instantly transformed it from technical game shoe to fashion statement.” It mirrored Jordan’s own transition from player to President and part-owner of the Washington Wizards. During the 2001-02 NBA pre-season, MJ’s career morphed again, and he surprised the world by coming out of retirement and joining the Wizards as a player. The commercial for the AJ XVI featured a poetic flow from musician Mos Def, proving once again that Jordan’s brand was about way more than a shoe.

17Air Jordan XVII

Release date February 2002

Original price $200

Designer Wilson Smith III

Air Jordan XVII

For Jordan’s first steps back on the court, Wilson Smith III designed a shoe that referenced ”MJ’s mid-air wizardry” and his ability to improvise. The AJ XVII was highly personal: inspiration for the silhouette came from Jordan’s Aston Martin, the pattern on the soles was modeled after a golf course Jordan frequented, and music notes referencing Jordan’s love for jazz were included on the lace caps. The ads for the AJ XVII featuring Darius Miles and Ray Allen also included a jazzy soundtrack. At $200, the AJ XVII had the heftiest price tag for an Air Jordan to date. But the kicks did come packaged in a metal briefcase with an accompanying CD.

18Air Jordan XVIII

Release date February 2003

Original price $175

Designer Tate Kuerbis

Air Jordan XVIII

MJ stepped off of the court for the last time on April 16, 2003 with the AJ XVIII on foot. First-time Air Jordan designer Tate Kuerbis continued the lineage by taking inspiration from fine design and sports cars: the “rubber heel wrap” was influenced by race car driving shoes, and the stitching was modeled after Italian dress shoes. The original Black/Sport Royal colorway was packaged with a towel, brush and a driver’s manual. The AJ XVIII commercial featured a look back at Jordan’s storied career, closing with MJ asking, “What is love? Love is playing every game as if it’s your last.”

19Air Jordan XIX

Release date March 2004

Original price $165

Designer Tate Kuerbis

Air Jordan XIX

Before Kobe Bryant was officially deemed the “Black Mamba,” the AJ XIX were inspired by the poisonous African snake . Lead designer Tate Kuerbis continued to push design and technology limits with the AJ XIX. The shoe introduced Tech-Flex to the basketball world. The stretchy, braided fabric resembles reptile scales and conforms to the foot. Although not stored in a metal briefcase or packaged with a driver’s manual, the AJ XIX came packaged in a two-tone box that split open to reveal the shoes.

20Air Jordan XX

Release date February 2005

Original price $175

Designer Tinker Hatfield & Mark Smith

Air Jordan XX

Famed designer Tinker Hatfield returned to the helm for the 20th edition shoe in the franchise. More than 200 icons representing Jordan’s life story were laser etched into the upper part of the AJ XX by Nike’s laser expert Mark Smith. The symbols include Jordan with his mom in a 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, crossed golf clubs, and a toolbox with the word “POPs” for Jordan’s dad. Along the side spoke and near the back heel, there are 69 dimples to represent MJ’s highest scoring game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 28, 1990. Jordan’s life also took center stage in the commercial for the AJ XX. The brand again teamed up with longtime collaborator, Spike Lee, with the director reading from the storybook of MJ’s life.

21Air Jordan XXI

Release date January 2006

Original price $175

Designer D'Wayne Edwards

Air Jordan XXI

The AJ XXI embodied luxury. The simple design by first-time Air Jordan designer D'Wayne Edwards let the high quality materials shine. The shoe featured a full grain leather upper, a diamond quilted inner bootie, an embossed number 23, grille-like lower foot vents and a molded heel counter. The AJ XXI also snuck in a hidden message that could only be revealed under black light. When the capital letters of the message were rearranged, they spelled out “AUTHENTIC.” As Jordan himself became more removed from his playing days, Jordan the brand focused on outfitting and inspiring the next generation of stars. The commercial for the AJ XXI featured young athletes recreating some of MJ’s famous moves.

22Air Jordan XX2

Release date January 2007

Original price $175

Designer D'Wayne Edwards

Air Jordan XX2

The AJ XX2 had a look that was “built for battle.” Designer D'Wayne Edwards took inspiration from the F-22 Raptor Strike Fighter jet and added radar-like stitching and reflective camouflage. The AJ XX2 also featured the first-ever titanium shank plate, a piece that sits between the insole and the outsole and prevents the shoe from folding over on itself. Titanium’s atomic number, 22, was fitting for the 22nd Air Jordan model.

23Air Jordan XX3

Release date February 2008

Original price $185

Designer Tinker Hatfield & Mark Smith

Air Jordan XX3

The Air Jordan team knew that shoe number 23 had to be special — it was the mark of greatness. Designers Tinker Hatfield and Mark Smith put MJ’s DNA into this shoe, with Jordan’s thumb print on the tongue, an imprint of his fingerprint as the pattern on the sole and double helix-inspired stitching. The AJ XX3 was billed as the “world’s first sustainable basketball shoe,” using Nike’s Considered Design principles. The shoes launched with a “Become Legendary” campaign, which included a commercial that featured MJ saying “It’s not about the shoes. It’s about what you do in them. It’s about being who you were born to be.”

24Air Jordan 2009

Release date January 2009

Original price $190

Designer Jason Mayden

Air Jordan 2009

After releasing shoe number 23, the Air Jordan brand retired the “I - XX3” numbering scheme and instead adopted year dates to honor Jordan’s legacy. The AJ 2009 paid homage to one of “the most underrated aspect of MJ’s game: his defense.” The Jason Mayden-designed shoes featured a pleated-silk side panel inspired by Jordan’s belief that man-on-man defense was much like the sport of fencing. The AJ 2009 introduced the basketball world to Articulate Propulsion Technology, famous for its use in prosthetic legs of paralympic athletes. Team U.S. amputee sprinter April Holmes, the first female and first track and field athlete on Team Jordan, helped inspire the use of the new technology.

25Air Jordan 2010

Release date February 2010

Original price $170

Designer Tinker Hatfield

Air Jordan 2010

“Inspired by MJ’s ability to see through his opponents,” Tinker Hatfield designed the AJ 2010 with transparent TPU windows on each side. The 25th anniversary shoe was built for speed and featured a thinner outsole and a lower profile tailored for on-court responsiveness. Hidden in the base of the midsole in a graffiti-like treatment was this famous quote from MJ: “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” The commercial for the AJ 2010 featured newly signed Team Jordan athlete, Dwayne Wade, as every team’s worst nightmare.

26Air Jordan 2011

Release date February 2011

Original price $170

Designer Tinker Hatfield & Tom Luedecke

Air Jordan 2011

The AJ 2011 featured the franchise’s first-ever interchangeable midsole. Designer Tom Luedecke compared it to the idea of “selecting a weapon before battle.” The midsoles had two options: the blue “quick” midsole, which placed the wearer’s foot close to the ground and catered to speed and agility; and the red “explosive” midsole, which offered more cushion for power plays. On the outside, the bottom was designed to look like elephant hide. NIKEiD was also included for the first time on an Air Jordan shoe, allowing wearers to customize their kicks.

27Air Jordan 2012

Release date February 2012

Original price $180

Designer Tinker Hatfield

Air Jordan 2012

Building off of the interchangeability from the previous year’s model, Tinker Hatfield applied a “One Shoe, Three Flights” concept. The AJ 2012 came with three removable booties to adapt to a player’s game. Wearers had two inner-sleeve choices (low flexibility or high support) and three midsole options (“Quick”, “Air”, or “Explosive”). The shoe’s wingtip shapes were inspired by zoot suits from the 1920s and 1930s. The AJ 2012 was the last model in the franchise to use the year in its name, as 2013 saw a return to the familiar roman numerals.

28Air Jordan XX8

Release date February 2013

Original price $250

Designer Tinker Hatfield & Josh Heard

Air Jordan XX8

On the outside, the AJ XX8 is regarded as the most flamboyant and daring design of the franchise, carrying the highest price tag ($250) for an Air Jordan shoe. Designer Tinker Hatfield compared it to a concept car: “We’re looking to push for higher levels of performance and actually change the way a basketball shoe, not only performs, but change how it looks.” The entire shoe is covered in a zippable shroud that folds down to reveal a vibrant inner boot and a number that could be interpreted as a combination of 2 and 3 for Jordan’s number or 2 and 8 for the number of the shoe. The AJ XX8 also introduced new technology with the Flight Plate, which provides for a “sprint spike” that allows players to be quicker. The flashy shoes were the perfect match for Russell Westbrook, who rocked his own, special “Why Not?” edition.

29Air Jordan XX9

Release date September 2014

Original price $225

Designer Tinker Hatfield

Air Jordan XX9

The AJ XX9 was the world’s first woven basketball shoe and set the bar for lightweight performance. The entirely woven upper part of the shoe was influenced by Italian tailoring practices. The shoe technology weaves the strength right into the design — a higher thread count is used on portions that need more support, like the forefoot and the heel. The shoe “Tailored for Flight” also employs a redesigned Flight Plate for quicker, responsive moves. The commercial for the AJ XX9 features brand favorite Russell Westbrook and WNBA star Maya Moore, the first woman to sign an endorsement deal with the Jordan franchise.

30Air Jordan XXX

Release date February 2016

Original price $185

Designer Tinker Hatfield & Mark Smith

Air Jordan XXX

For the 30th shoe in the franchise, designer Tinker Hatfield drew inspiration from Jordan’s “otherworldly talents” to create the forward-looking AJ XXX. As Hatfield started to sketch, he referred to a famous photo of MJ preparing to dunk with the basketball cocked behind his head. XXX, the roman numeral for 30, appears several times in the design, including a graphic that wraps around the heel and on the bottom of the sole. The shoes feature maps on each tongue: Africa on the right shoe, and North America on the left.

31Air Jordan XXXI

Release date August 2016

Original price $185

Designer Tate Kuerbis

Air Jordan XXXI

Designer Tate Kuerbis, in his first Jordan shoe since 2004, reimagined the very first Air Jordan for the AJ XXXI model. The classic silhouette combines, for the first time ever, the original Air Jordan Wings logo, the Nike swoosh, and the Jumpman logo. The shoes also pay homage to the lore around Jordan’s first pair of kicks being banned by the NBA — “BANNED” is written in big block letters on the sole and in an X on the inside of the tongue. The AJ XXXI, deemed the “anti-gravity machines,” used new Flyweave technology and were the lightest Air Jordans ever made at the time of their release.

32Air Jordan XXXII

Release date October 2017

Original price $185

Designer Tate Kuerbis

Air Jordan XXXII

Like he did with the AJ XXXI, designer Tate Kuerbis looked to the franchise’s early history for this shoe. The AJ XXXII is heavily influenced by the AJ II, and it includes numerous heritage elements such as the original Air Jordan Wings logo, faux lizard skin and folded leather trim. It sits at the “intersection where luxury craft meets modern innovation,” utilizing all the best technology pioneered by the Jordan brand including Flyknit and FlightSpeed. The AJ XXXII was also the first shoe in the franchise to have a simultaneous release of both the high and the low model.