The next shoe we’re excited to talk about in our Sneakers You Need to Know series is the Air Jordan 3. This piece should have taught you something about the Jordan 3. We hope it was that the now-iconic shape is what kept Michael Jordan from switching from Nikes to Van Cracks in 1987.
No, really, it’s true. That was the point where the relationship between Nike and Jordan was about to end. Jordan’s deal with the brand was ending that year, and Nike also lost Peter Moore, who designed Jordan’s first two Air Jordan shoes, when he and Rob Strasser, who used to be Nike’s marketing vice president, quit to start their own shoe company called Van Grack. It was no surprise that Moore and Strasser really wanted Jordan to be the face of their new business, and Jordan was open to the idea.
So that Jordan would stay with the company, Nike asked Tinker Hatfield to build the next Air Jordan model that “His Airness” would wear this coming season. Hatfield finally made the shoe that Jordan wanted, the Air Jordan 3, which was something sleek and classy in a mid-top style.
History tells us what happened next. Commercials for Wieden+Kennedy that starred a young Spike Lee. This was the foul line dunk in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 1988, and the shoe was colored “White/Cement.” The winner of the next All-Star Game in the “Black/Cement” makeup. So on.
The Air Jordan 3 has a lot more history to be explored, such as its original colorways, best partnerships, sizing information, and a lot more. We’ll talk about all of that in more depth below.
You now know everything you need to know about the Air Jordan 3.
3 Colorways of the Air Jordan
The Air Jordan 3 came out in four colors at first: “White/Cement,” “Black/Cement,” “Fire Red,” and “True Blue.” There was one thing that Jordan didn’t wear in all four colors during NBA games or other events. In 1988, Jordan wore the “White/Cement” to the Slam Dunk Contest, which was one of the best events in the event’s history. He wore the “Black/Cement” to the NBA All-Star Game in 1988, but he never wore it again in the NBA. The “Fire Red” was worn by Jordan while with the Bulls, and the “True Blue,” even though it was a retro release from 2001, was worn by him for a short time when he first joined the Washington Wizards.
In recent years, the Jordan 3 has been a big part of Jordan Brand’s collections in a lot of different colors.
Collaborations on the Air Jordan 3
The Air Jordan 3 has been used in some of the best shoe collaborations ever. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Some famous people who have made versions of the shoe are DJ Khaled, A Ma Maniére, Justin Timberlake, and even Tinker Hatfield, who invented the basketball shoe in the first place.
Not only that, but the Air Jordan 3 has also had a number of rare, never-before-seen colors over the years. In the 2018 NCAA March Madness Tournament, the North Carolina Tar Heels wore a one-of-a-kind pair of shoes that look a lot like the Jordan 3 “UNC” version that came out in 2020 (see picture below). Both the Oregon Ducks and the Michigan Wolverines have worn Jordan 3s with their teams’ colors and logos on them.
History of the Air Jordan 3
A lot of “firsts” for the Air Jordan name happened with the Air Jordan 3. The Jordan 3 was the first shoe created by Tinker Hatfield, who also made the Air Max and Air Trainer lines for Nike.
Hatfield brought one very noticeable design feature from his time working for Nike to the Jordan 3: you can see the Air. The groundbreaking technology first showed up on the Air Max 1 in 1987, but it wasn’t until 1988 that an Air Jordan shoe got a clear window.
The Jordan 3 was the first shoe in the Jordan line to have noticeable Air and a few other new looks, the most notable of which was the gray “elephant” print. The material picked up where the Air Jordan 2’s reptilian patterns left off and gave Jordan’s signature shoe line a more “lifestyle” feel. There’s no doubt that the unique material made Jordan Brand more likely to try out even more unusual textiles and materials in the year following the release of the Jordan 3.
Finally, the Air Jordan 3 was the first shoe to have Michael Jordan’s signature mark, the Jumpman. The famous image of Jordan flying through the air while dunking a basketball took the place of the “Wings” mark on the Air Jordan 1 and Air Jordan 2. Since then, every Air Jordan shoe has had this image built into it. Jordan Brand got its name from the Jumpman when it broke away from Nike in the late 1990s to become its own brand.
When you’re not on the court of
In terms of the Air Jordan 3 being a “first,” it was this shoe that introduced Spike Lee’s sneaker-obsessed character Mars Blackmon to the Air Jordan duo. In the late 1980s, Lee (as Blackmon) and Jordan would work together on famous ads for the Jordan 3 and Jordan 4. Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan worked together on ads for the Air Jordan 7 and 8 because of how well and how popular the celebrity pair was.
How Big Are Air Jordan 3?
How do the Air Jordan 3 fit? The Jordan 3 fits true to size, or “TTS” as sneaker fans like to say. People with very narrow feet might be able to get away with going down half a size from their normal Air Jordan size. If not, most people will find that their normal Air Jordan and shoe size will give them the best fit when they wear the Air Jordan 3.
What else do you want to say about the Air Jordan 3? The now-iconic basketball sneaker was a real turning point in the careers of Michael Jordan and Tinker Hatfield. It also kept Nike from losing its most valuable asset, “Money,” as Spike Lee affectionately called him in the ads for the shoe. You can enjoy the Jordan 3 no matter what your background is. It is one of the most famous boots ever made.