Espn’s Adam Reisinger and sneaker collector Chad Jones aka “Sneaker Galactus” recently published their official ESPN ranking of the best Air Jordans in order.
Espn has been the leader in sports media for years but has only recently dived into the cultural aspect of Air Jordans and Nikes. With 29 different AIR JORDANS to choose from, we think the list is pretty accurate on our end. What does your top 10 look like?
Take a look at Adam, and Chads list below and read the full breakdown of all 29 Air Jordans here.
10. Air Jordan IX
Adam: This shoe deserves a lot of credit for proving the line could be viable even if Michael wasn’t playing basketball. Plus, you have to admit, it looked pretty good as a baseball cleat.
Chad: Some of the best player-exclusive colorways were made for other players. Why? MJ wasn’t wearing them. By the way, who is Johnny Kilroy?
9. Air Jordan VI
Adam: These could easily get lost when compared to the shoe that came before and after, but the striking tongue design really helps this model stand out. Plus, it was the first shoe MJ wore while winning a ring.
Chad: MJ wins his first championship and Finals MVP in style. The tongue, heel tab and toe were unlike anything seen before .
8. Air Jordan XIII
Adam: It’s not often a pair of Jordans — particularly one worn during MJ’s run with the Bulls — gets elevated by someone other than MJ, but that’s the case with these, thanks to what was essentially a commercial starring Denzel Washington slid deftly into the movie “He Got Game.”
Chad: Holograms and design inspiration from a Panther? Yeah I’ll take two pairs!
7. Air Jordan VII
Adam: These were the shoes on Michael’s feet when he played with the Dream Team in the 1992 Olympics. That itself would be worthy of a high ranking, but they also look and feel really good.
Chad: Design hints taken from the Huarache line made this shoe a love-it-or-hate-it model. MJ was featured on the Team USA Dream Team that literally destroyed every other country’s team in the 1992 Olympics. Also you had to love the Hare Jordan!
6. Air Jordan V
Adam: As a kid growing up, I remember these more for Will Smith wearing them on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” than for Michael wearing them on the court. Either way, they looked damn good.
Chad: Clear rubber soles, reflective tongues and inspiration taken from the WW II P-51 Mustang fighter made this shoe a cut above the rest.
5. Air Jordan XII
Adam: The sneaker that took the Jordan line from a Nike product to its own brand has held up remarkably well through the years, thanks in large part to its association with Michael’s epic “Flu Game.”
Chad: The Japanese flag inspiration and remarkable durability made this shoe a favorite. And who can forget the “Flu Game,” arguably one of the most dramatic moments in NBA Finals history?
4. Air Jordan IV
Adam: This is the sneaker featured in the legendary scene in “Do The Right Thing” — the movie that turned Spike Lee into Mars Blackmon and turned Mars into Jordan’s right-hand man in an unforgettable series of ads.
Chad: “Do the Right Thing” featured this shoe on the character of Buggin Out. I felt for him when his brand-new Air Jordans got stepped on. It was a sign of the times and tensions going on in Brooklyn at the time. I can still hear “Fight the Power” every time I look at this shoe.
3. Air Jordan XI
Adam: There’s a reason this is the retro edition Nike puts out every year at Christmas. This is the shoe everyone wants on their feet, and it’s been that way since the moment Boyz II Men rocked them at the 1996 Grammys.
Chad: I don’t think there was a more appealing pair of sneakers ever made than the Concord XI. It was super stylish and supportive. It also helped that the best player in the world grabbed another ring after coming back from retirement.
2. Air Jordan III
Adam: This was the first sneaker to sport the famed Jumpman logo, and Jordan Brand might not exist today without it. It looks good, it feels good. It’s basically perfect.
Chad: Who doesn’t love the iconic cement print? Oh and jumping from the free throw line in a dunk contest is pretty cool, too. My personal favorite Air Jordan model.
1. Air Jordan 1
Adam: The original. The icon. When you say “Air Jordan,” this is the sneaker people think of. It still looks fresh more than 30 years later, and it’s hard to imagine the popularity of the first Jordan fading anytime soon.
Chad: You can still wear a pair of these from 1985. For that alone, this shoe gets my top nod.