When thinking about the 1990s, it would be hard to ignore how popular the Nike and the Air Jordan basketball sneaker was during that those years.
It it true that the sneakers really are nothing but leather & rubber without Michael Jordan playing the type of basketball that he did in them, but sneakers now have an appeal that goes way beyond sports.
Even though the 90s was when Nike first began re-releasing previous Air Jordan colorways, it wouldn’t be right to include them in this list. That holds especially true since our list of the 23 best Air Jordans from the 2000s left out all original colorways that were given the Retro treatment during the time period. I have nothing against OG colorways, but if, say, the ‘Cement’ Jordan III gets re-released 6 more times, than it would be the entire the whole Top 10 Air Jordans Ever list. See what I’m saying? Let’s celebrate the time period before it is forgotten. Besides, this was the 90s and the new colorways then are the classic ones now so don’t be surprised if you see any of these on store shelves in the coming months.
With all the Jordan releases from the 1990 to 1999 time frame, everything from the Air Jordan V to the Air Jordan XIV are up for list consideration, it was very hard to pick only 23, but we’re content with this list.
When the Air Jordan VIII first came out there was a hilarious commercial featuring Michael Jordan arguing with Looney Tunes. This particular colorway of the Jordan VIII was also a favorite with family sitcom characters like D.J. Conner from Rosanne & Cory Matthews in Boy Meets World.
The Jordan VII was the first signature sneaker in four year for Michael Jordan that didn’t have a visible air bubble as well as the first Jordan without Nike Air branding.
While MJ was retired, the Air Jordan series had the option to retire as well or keep going. The already-designed Jordan X originally featured a toe cap that Jordan absolutely hated so it was removed from the final design. Even though Michael Jordan didn’t lace these up as a member of the Chicago Bulls since he was on his baseball ish at the time, Scottie Pippen did. So did Harold Minor, but I don’t talk about Harold Minor.
The leather on these are so good that a clean pair will outlive even the ‘Flu Game’ pair not made from leather with the sick face on the tongue.
A white Jordan VI with a dark color to counter; I like it. There is a rumor of a 2013 release of these, but the resource is shaky.
This colorway of the Jordan VI used to be the cause of debate amongst Air Jordan aficionados. The sneaker colors on the box are labelled “White/SP Blue” on certain boxes and over time people started calling them the ‘September Blue’ not very long after Jerry Seinfeld wore them on an episode.
The paw shape is crazy and even looked more realistic in 98 with the leather from them. The eye was cool as a hologram too.
Before Jerry Stackhouse was putting on for FILA with his own signature sneaker, he was Jumpman’ed out as a UNC Tar-Heel.
At first its hard to believe that this purple & teal sneaker that is the ‘Grape’ Air Jordan V is an original colorway from 1990. After only having one Retro, these are scheduled to drop at towards the end of 2013.
Coming off back-to-back NBA Championships with the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan wore these along with the rest of the Dream Team to a gold medal in Barcelona.
In 2010 a very similar Jordan IX came out with same color blocking just with the University Blue colorway.
This is one of those Jordan VII colorways that has only gotten the Retro once. Remember Space Jam? This is the sneaker Bugs Bunny wore that movie.
The stitched 23 on the outside of the ‘Fire Red’ Jordan V isn’t as appreciated as it should be as the first Player Exclusive. Even though the original blocking of the numbers were a lot blockier that is just unnecessary.
The 3-pointer taken by Michael Jordan in these to win seal off the Bulls winning another three straight NBA titles.
Forget the one of Craig Elho in 1989, the one in these will always be “the shot” to me.
On the original pair of ‘Infrared’ Air Jordan VIs, there was a layer of 3M visible through perforated holes in the heel. The 91-92 season was the start of something special in Chicago so the history is there. If you think about it the Jordan VI was to Michael Jordan what the LeBron IX is to LeBron James; the first championship sneaker.
The ‘Playoff’ Jordan VIII confirmed the pattern that there would be a mostly black Air Jordan colorway whenever the Bulls went to the playoffs. Since Michael Jordan didn’t return to the NBA the next year these are the last sneakers he wore during the Chicago Bulls streak which ended the next year at three without him.
Before Space Jam, Michael Jordan wore these in an ad campaign featuring Bugs Bunny. I’ve always thought the Jordan VII should have been the one with the ‘Bugs Bunny Jordans’ name but I’m happy they weren’t because its dumb. Doesn’t the flaps resemble ears tho?
Even though Jordan never actually wore the Air Jordan IX in a NBA basketball game, a cleated version was created for him during his time as a member of the Birmingham Barons. An underated colorway that isn’t fully appreciated yet so there’s still time to find a deadstock pair for the low.
The best colorway of one of the best Air Jordan silhouettes. As of posting, there was only two releases of the ‘Carmine’ Jordan VI: the original in 1991 and paired with the Jordan XVII as part of the Countdown Package.
Its crazy to think that a sneaker made almost 20 years ago can still perform in 2013. There will never be a basketball sneaker that will bring more attention to sneakers than the Jordan XI ‘Concord’.
I feel the Jordan VIII is the perfect silhouette from the Air Jordan series to represent the spirit of the brand & style of the era; and the Aqua colorway is king.
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