Air Jordan colorways come in every variety imaginable. While the line focused mostly on Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls colors early on, it has since expanded to pull inspiration from a huge range of sources. Whether it’s a shoe based on an ad campaign with Bugs Bunny, a memorable off-court moment from MJ, or even a lifestyle look, they each help tell the story of the player and brand (with varying degrees of success).
We’ve gone through the entire line and chosen the best look for each individual Air Jordan model. Check out our picks below.
Air Jordan 1 ‘Banned’
This one is not really up for debate. While the “Banned” Air Jordan 1 may not have actually been banned by the NBA, it’s still a game-changing sneaker that’s stood the test of time through countless retro editions. This black/red colorway is still the boldest and best of Michael Jordan’s first model.
Air Jordan 2 ‘White/Black/Red’
The Air Jordan 2 was the quiet answer to the Air Jordan 1 in terms of colorways, this model being much less prolific than the first go-round. Retro releases have helped close the gap a bit, but we’re still partial to the pairs that made their debut in the 1980s. It’s a toss-up between which of the originals reigns supreme, and we’re giving the nod to the slightly more popular white/black/red look.
Air Jordan 3 ‘Black/Cement’
Few sneakers on this list are as celebrated as this colorway of the Air Jordan 3. Sure, the Jordan 3 in general has plenty of hits, but the black/cement pair has always been the cream of the crop. While the white/cement Air Jordan 3 may have a stronger historical argument thanks to its place in Dunk Contest lore, this one always felt more special.
Air Jordan 4 ‘Black/Cement’
Just like the Air Jordan 3, the black and cement colorway of Air Jordan 4 is one of the most popular Air Jordan styles of all time. The white version has been in the spotlight more lately thanks to the 2016 retro, but it’s the black pair that is remembered and appreciated for being on MJ’s feet as he hit “The Shot” to beat the Cavs back in ’89 for one of the most memorable moments of his career. It’s also rumored to be making a comeback in 2019.
Air Jordan 5 ‘Grape’
The “Grape” Air Jordan 5 isn’t tied to as many on-court moments as other versions of this same shoe, but it’s still the best. The sneaker was a stand out for its departure from the black, white, and red looks that dominated Jordans at the time. Retros may have watered them down a bit, but most sneakerheads have lusted after a pair of “Grape” Jordan 5s at one point or another.
Air Jordan 6 ‘Black/Infrared’
It’s so hard for a pair of black and red Jordans to not look good. While this take on the Air Jordan 6 wasn’t exactly groundbreaking with its color choices, it did change the equation a bit by turning up the brightness on the sharp red accents. Plus, don’t forget its role in Michael Jordan’s first NBA Championship in 1991.
Air Jordan 7 ‘Hare’
Bugs Bunny had his own colorway of Air Jordans—think about that for a second. With this sneaker, Jordan teamed up with an unlikely partner and created one of the best crossover moments in the history of sports footwear. Heck, the punny name alone might be enough to qualify the “Hare” Jordan 7 for this slot.
Air Jordan 8 ‘Aqua’
Remember when All-Star Game Air Jordans were this good? The “Aqua” Jordan 8 made its debut at the 1993 ASG festivities and has been celebrated since. Prior to its first retro release back in 2007, the “Aqua” Air Jordan 8 was one of the most coveted original Jordan designs thanks to the non-traditional color scheme.
Air Jordan 9 ‘Charcoal’
The Air Jordan 9 is a tough one to love since the sneaker wasn’t worn by Jordan in the NBA during its original release. While the model is considered by many as a low point in the first half of the Air Jordan line, it had its moments. Here, the “Charcoal” pair gets the nod off the strength of the versatile, black-based palette.
Air Jordan 10 ‘Chicago’
He’s back. This colorway of the Air Jordan 10 is most associated with Michael Jordan’s return to the NBA in 1995. The Chicago Bulls look was part of a wider pack of city-inspired releases, with this one reigning supreme for obvious reasons.
Air Jordan 11 ‘Concord’
Worn by MJ almost an entire year prior to its release, the “Concord” Air Jordan 11 was like no other Air Jordan colorway before it. Not only did it utilize a unique combination of white, black, and concord purple, but the shoe was taken to new levels of flashiness with its contrasting patent leather overlays. A lot of people will pull for the “Space Jam” over this Jordan 11, but the “Concord” has a richer history at retail.
Air Jordan 12 ‘Playoffs’
The Jordan 12 was best remembered for its sharply contrasting overlay colorblocking, and no version showcased it better than what has long been dubbed the “Playoff” Jordan 12. Worn by Jordan during Game 1 of the 1997 Finals—the night he sunk a game-winning shot from left wing after “the mailman didn’t deliver on a Sunday”—this colorway has stood the test of time.
Air Jordan 13 ‘Black/Red’
Michael Jordan may have worn the 14 during the clinching game of the 1998 Playoffs, but it was this away-colored Jordan 13 that he did most of his damage in during that legacy-cementing run. The only Bulls colorway to feature a 3M mesh overlay rather than leather, this version’s variety of textures made it truly stand out upon its original release.
Air Jordan 14 ‘Indiglo’
Sure, the “Last Shot” Air Jordan 14 is one of the most important Jordans ever, but colorways aren’t on this list for historical significance alone. The “Indiglo” look brought with it an entirely new colorblocking and accent approach that captured the sleekness and speed of the shoe’s design, a welcome change to the standard Bulls fare.
Air Jordan 15 ‘Stealth’
You’d be forgiven for not having an opinion on the Air Jordan 15, a shoe even Tinker Hatfield admitted he’s not a huge fan of. This take on the sneaker toned the colors down, a good choice on a model that didn’t need to be any more bold. One of the few hits of color comes on the back via the Prada-inspired heel strip.
Air Jordan 16 ‘Black/Red’
Even though MJ appeared to be retired for good when the 16 released in 2000, it was pretty easy to envision Michael stepping out on the United Center floor for a playoff game in this launch colorway. The original featured a great full grain leather throughout, which was set off by a clean patent leather toe inspired by Jordan’s dress shoes.
Air Jordan 17 ‘College Blue’
It may have been too tame upon its initial release, but as the years have passed this Wilson Smith-crafted game shoe has aged gracefully. With inspirations including Jordan’s love for jazz and golf, and quality detailing like rolled edges, the 17 is best remembered as the model MJ wore as he returned to the game for a second time as a Washington Wizard.
Air Jordan 18 ‘Black/Sport Royal’
Released at the start of MJ’s second season with the Washington Wizards, this shoe’s rich suede upper oozed quality, and the packaging even included a suede brush and towel to make sure you were taking care of your kicks. After getting used to so many Bulls-themed launch colorways, it was refreshing at the time to see the vivid sport royal accents on this pair, even if the Jordan 18 isn’t among the best silhouettes associated with Mike.
Air Jordan 19 ‘Flint Grey’
It’s sometimes tough to top a Bulls-inspired black and red colorway, but there was just something about how the “Flint Grey” version of the Air Jordan 19 best showed off the shoe’s woven Tech Flex shroud. Headlined at the time by Carmelo Anthony and Jason Kidd, this clean home-geared colorway marked a muted new look for the game shoe after Jordan himself was retired for good.
Air Jordan 20 ‘Stealth’
While the laser pattern (a defining characteristic of the Jordan 20) wasn’t as bold on this colorway as on others, it has its merits. The grey framing of the outsole and heel, combined with an all-patent upper, made this Air Jordan 20 stand out as a bit more aggressive and quick than the others.
Air Jordan 21 ‘Red Suede’
Inspired by the Bentley Continental GT Coupe, this Air Jordan 21 also picked up a thing or two from Michael’s affinity for Ferraris, with this luxe red suede edition drafted off of the material commonly found on driving shoes. Of all the colorways that released, this version also best accented the shoe’s grille-inspired support wrap.
Air Jordan 22 ‘Black’
One thing is for sure, the best colorway of the XX2 most certainly wasn’t going to be the version with a tacky portrait of Michael Jordan on the side of the shoe. Sometimes simple is the best way to go, and this road edition with its hidden 3M detailing and red accents was classic Bulls. Of course, that’s not to say that the Air Jordan 22 was anywhere near a classic sneaker.
Air Jordan 23 ‘Titanium’
With a nod back to his days at the University of North Carolina, the “Titanium” colorway of Michael’s important 23rd model helped to elevate the design and details like no launch colorway since his playing days. There was the sharply sculpted midfoot chassis, the plush “environmentally preferred” mesh collar, and the intricate computer-printed stitch pattern. With so much pressure mounting for a number that meant so much to Michael, the brand delivered.
Air Jordan 2009 ‘Black/Varsity Red’
The words “best” and “Air Jordan 2009” are rarely used in the same sentence. So, to keep that streak alive, let’s just say that the “least bad” colorway of the Air Jordan 2009 is the black/varsity red edition, which was the second general release of the model.
Air Jordan 2010 ‘Black/Varsity Red’
More than any specific colorway, the Air Jordan 2010 is remembered for its clear midfoot window. But the shoe’s launch edition—the first Air Jordan in years to launch in a true Bulls colorway—gets our pick as the best of the 2010s.
Air Jordan 2011 ‘White/Black’
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There’s no mistaking the black and white launch colorway of the Air Jordan 2011 for the “Concord” Air Jordan 11, but the formula of a white upper, black rand, and clear outsole proved to be a winner once again—although this version utilized textured and embossed leather rather than patent.
Air Jordan 2012 ‘Wolf Grey/Volt’
As with the Air Jordan 2009, picking the best colorway of a shoe that not that many people liked regardless of color is a tough task. But the grey tonal upper on this deluxe “System Of Flight” pair helped disguise the wingtip look of the shoe, and provided a contrast to the neon lining and laces.
Air Jordan 28 ‘Electric Green’
While the silhouette of the Air Jordan XX8 lent itself to loud prints, the launch colorway personified the stealth theme the shoe. Zipped up, it was almost boring in its simplicity. But when undone, it showcased Electric Green insides that hinted to just how exciting the shoe would be on court.
Air Jordan 29 ‘Photo Reel’
When Jordan Brand introduced the Air Jordan 29 and with its “performance woven upper” it touted the ability to deliver silhouettes with photorealistic graphics. While none of those were actually seen upon the shoe’s debut, it was apparent that vastly different looks could be achieved thanks to the construction method. At the following All-Star Weekend, Jordan Brand finally showed us what could be done by delivering this limited edition 29 featuring MJ’s original Jumpman pose.
Air Jordan 30 ‘Cosmos’
Jordan Brand’s celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Air Jordan was a bit anticlimactic. The Air Jordan 30 not only released 17 months after the previous model, it utilized the same tooling, making it feel less like a new model. One graphic version managed to stand out though, thanks in part to Russell Westbrook wearing a similar pair of this Galaxy, errr, “Cosmos” colorway in the 2016 All-Star Game.
Air Jordan 31 ‘Banned’
The “Banned” edition of the Air Jordan 31 stands out as the most memorable release of the model. Much of its success can be attributed to its introduction alongside another retro of the “Banned” 1 back in September of 2016.
Air Jordan 32 ‘Rosso Corsa’
With it’s Air Jordan 2 inspiration, it was only fitting that the 32 launched in this luxurious suede edition. While not made in Italy like its forefather, the molded heel did invoke a sense of quality. New colorways of this model are still dropping, but it’s unlikely that any future editions will leave the lasting impression of this launch colorway.