Air Jordan - the Era of the JORDAN Brand

While Nike did not reveal the JORDAN Brand marketing plan until late 1997, there were earlier, tantalizing hints in the products on store shelves.

While the Air Jordan 12 was still on store shelves, Nike brought forth the JUMPMAN Pro. It was a shoe with many Air Jordan characteristics, including the "JUMPMAN" logo, but not the "Air Jordan" name. Similarly, while the Air Jordan 13 was on the store shelves, the JUMPMAN Pro Quick and JUMPMAN Pro Strong came to market.

Late 1997 brought forth a troika of shoes that started the JORDAN Brand. The Air Jordan 13, Air Jordan Team, and Air Jordan Trainer have come to market. Note that the JORDAN Brand products almost always do not have the Nike name or the SWOOSH on them. Similarly, the packaging only carries the Nike name and address in tiny type, heretofore only used for the exclusions on insurance policies, on the bottom.

The JUMPMAN Pro Quick and JUMPMAN Pro Strong from Spring and Summer 1998 are also JORDAN Brand products.

Only the Nike athletic shoe wizards (and, undoubtedly, some industrial spies in the sneaker plants) know what surprises are coming next. A picture of what turned out to be the Air Jordan 14 arrived in my E-mail in June 1998, about six months before the introduction of the shoe. Fall 1998 brought some real surprises, including the Women's Jordan.

Nike has brought out a number of shoes since in the JUMPMAN product line, as well as the Air Jordan 15 through the Air Jordan 31.

Air Jordan 12:

Air Jordan 12 basketball shoe, white with black trimONE ABSOLUTELY AWFUL LOOKING DUCK HUNTING BOOT SNEAKER!

The red and black colorway would likely scare the ducks away, but it didn't scare away many teenagers (either male or female) around Houston. It came out in fall 1996, at $140 ($15 more than the year before).

I went out to look at it, only to get more interested in the shoe of a Houston Rockets player in the Nike endorsement line. So, I ended up with a different shoe.


The Nike Jumpman Pro basketball sneaker, white with dark blue trimIf it has a JUMPMAN on it, but it isn't an Air Jordan product, it must be the JUMPMAN Pro. The label says: "JUMPMAN PRO-Engineered and built to the exact specifications of championship athletes around the world." Something about how this shoe looks and feels makes me suspect that Michael Jordan was one of them.

Air Jordan 13:

Air Jordan 13 basketball shoe in white, black, and redThe first Air Jordan 13 models hit store shelves in November 1997 with a price tag of $150. January 1998 followed with a colorway with more red, and an all-black colorway later on in the year. The shoe is almost completely black and white. There is a small amount of red on the tongue, "AIR JORDAN" logo, and the sole.

Note the round "ankle patch" near the back of the shoe. The text and picture below describe it in more detail.

The "ankle patch" on the Air Jordan 13 is on the wrong side and in the wrong place to be a structural ankle patch in the Converse "Chuck Taylor" All Star tradition. It's a one-inch circular hologram with three distinct layered images.

From the back to the front, the hologram shows:

  1. A basketball.
  2. The number "23" in a outlined block font.
  3. The JUMPMAN going up for a basket, wearing a warm-up suit.
The effect is largely lost in a picture. However, the picture below is an attempt to show the hologram. The number "2" and a portion of the "JUMPMAN" image is visible. (For what it's worth, my best amateur attempts to render the hologram came out better than most of the professional photographers' attempts I have seen.)

Air Jordan 13 outside "ankle patch" hologram

The sole picture collection shows the Air Jordan 13.

Also: Look here for a picture of the Air Jordan 13 being used to play football.

The JORDAN Brand:

Shortly after the release of the Air Jordan 13, Nike started bringing the rest of the "JORDAN Brand" clothing and shoe line to market. Nike markets these products as if they are a completely separate brand, designated by the "JUMPMAN" instead of the usual "SWOOSH."

Starting with the third color of Air Jordan 13, future JORDAN Brand products will be released for sale on Saturdays. Press releases from JORDAN Brand marketing indicated that many school districts had trouble with kids playing hooky on Air Jordan introduction days. Hopefully, Jewish and Seventh-Day Adventist kids will behave and not ditch their respective services!

Air Jordan Team:

In addition to the Air Jordan 13, the JORDAN Brand line has two new shoe models. The first one is the Air Jordan Team, and there's nothing really surprising there. The heel has a logo ("Jordan BASKETBALL Team"), reminiscent in shape and color to a tail light from an old Ford.

Air Jordan Trainer:

JORDAN Brand "Air Jordan Trainer" fitness shoe, white with black and red trimThe JORDAN Brand "Air Jordan Trainer" was the real JORDAN Brand surprise, particularly for those expecting "Yet Another Basketball Shoe With Michael's Last Name." The Air Jordan Trainer bears more of a "fit and feel" resemblance to the (rarely seen) men's fitness Air Structure shoe, or even the Air Reversal wrestling shoe, than it does a basketball shoe. It's not designed for playing basketball. It's designed for working out, possibly in preparation for playing basketball. This shoe was popular as a wrestling shoe, despite not having any lace retention features.

JUMPMAN Pro Quick:

The JUMPMAN Pro Quick design, to me, looks a lot like a royal blue and white combination of the JUMPMAN Pro and the Air Jordan Trainer. However, despite the naming of this model, there wasn't anything slow about the original JUMPMAN Pro.

JUMPMAN Pro Strong:

Yet another basketball shoe style in the JORDAN Brand tradition. This one is intended to be more protective than the JUMPMAN Pro Quick; it is considerably heavier.

Air Jordan 14:

Air Jordan 14 basketball shoe (pre-release picture)This picture arrived in my E-mail in June 1998. Whoever sent it to me was right about the Air Jordan 14's design. That summer, I was getting different reports about the price; some said $165, others said $150. When the shoe came out in Fall 1998, the ones that said $150 were right! I'd suspect that Nike decided that a $165 shoe wouldn't help public relations. On the other hand, who would ever think that the Air Jordan market would be price sensitive?

Women's Jordan:

Finally, a JORDAN shoe that Michael won't wear; this one is more suited for Mique than Mike.

The JORDAN Brand unit of Nike came out with a shoe intended exclusively for female basketball players in November 1998. In the fall 1998 shoe lineup, the Air Jordan 14 was the most expensive men's shoe Nike made. However, women do have an Air Max model that costs more than the Women's Jordan.

Despite the lack of "Air" in the name, the Women's Jordan does have Nike Air cushioning (both heel and forefoot).

Air Jordan 15:

Air Jordan 15 basketball shoe in white with Carolina Blue trimSomebody wrote me and insisted (vigorously!) this would be the last Air Jordan. Somebody was wrong... sixteen times so far! The Air Jordan 15 came out in time for holiday giving in 1999 at the price of $150, the same as the previous model.

Air Jordan 16:

Air Jordan 16 basketball shoeNike made a major blooper here: no new Air Jordan shoes for holiday giving in 2000. The first Air Jordan 16 came out on 17 February 2001, and sold for $160. This model features a removable gaiter that covers the laces (not shown in this picture).

Air Jordan 17:

They were at a store near you in February 2002. They appear to be a follow-on design to the Air Jordan 16, but featuring lace locks that are a throwback to the ones used on the Air Jordan 5. The Air Jordan 17 retailed for $200 in men's sizes. Counting even the slow rate of inflation we've had since then, this is probably cheaper than 1989's $175 Reebok Pump. For that price, the shoes come complete with a fitted carrying case and a CD-ROM. (As they say on the cover of MAD Magazine: "CHEAP!")

In the "use of Air Jordan shoes for other activities" department, I had a phlebotomist who works for the Laboratory Corporation of America tell me they were great to wear when he was doing phlebotomy; alas, I was the patient in question. I commented about his shoes, I said "Hopefully, with the $200 shoes, you know what you're doing." He did!

Air Jordan 18:

The Air Jordan 18 was February 2003's hot model. Nike apparently decided that a price of $175 was more acceptable. Like the Air Jordan 15, the shoe came with a gaiter over the vamp area. No carrying case or CD-ROM, but certain colorways reportedly came with an Air Jordan towel.

Air Jordan 19:

The Air Jordan 19 was February 2004's model. Nike apparently decided that a price of $165 was even better than $200 or even $175. My visual assessment is that the shoe looks almost identical to the earlier JUMPMAN Pro... and as soon as I first wrote that, I commented that somebody will send me a list of the differences. (Nobody ever did.)

Air Jordan 20:

The Air Jordan 20 came out on 19 February 2005. The price was $175, up $10 from the year before. Interesting design features include a "halo" encircling the ankle and a laser-engraved vamp with dozens of symbols engraved in the vamp.

Air Jordan 21:

The Air Jordan 21 came out on 18 February 2006. Embossed opposite the 23 (the person who reported this said it only shows up when they get dirty): "Age for it shall be within the four stage journey of the Air Jordan XXI that the code shall be revealed to those who seek the Jordan code in your honor have we hidden this message."

Air Jordan 22:

Also known as the Air Jordan XX2 (mixed Roman and Arabic numbers). They originally sold for $175 a pair. The design was inspired by the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighter plane.

Air Jordan 23:

Also known as the Air Jordan XX3. It was Nike's first basketball shoe in the "Nike Considered" line. It was released on January 25, 2008.

Air Jordan 24:

Also known as the Air Jordan 2009. Appropriately enough, it was released on January 31, 2009.

Air Jordan 25:

Also known as the Air Jordan 2010, the Air Jordan XX5, or the Air Jordan XXV. They were released February 13, 2010 for only $170. The midsole has the following (a quote attributed to Michael Jordan) written on it: "I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

Air Jordan 26:

Also known as the Air Jordan 2011, it had two interchangeable insoles: red ("Explosive," for power) and blue ("Quick," for quickness). It was released in four colorways on February 19, 2011.

Air Jordan 27:

Also known as the Air Jordan 2012, it had two interchangeable sleeves and three interchangeable insoles. They were first released on February 8, 2012 and further styles were released on February 25, 2012.

Air Jordan 28:

Also known as the Air Jordan XX8, they were released on February 16, 2013. They had a black mesh upper, with a bright green ("Volt" in Nike's color naming system; also used by Nike subsidiary Converse) inside lining.

Air Jordan 29:

Also known as the Air Jordan XX9. They were released in September 2014 in two different materials: elephant print and knit fabric.

Air Jordan 30:

They were also known as the Air Jordan XXX. The first colorway of the shoe was released on February 16, 2016. The upper had some Nike Flyknit material, the first Air Jordan shoe to have it.

Air Jordan 31:

Also known as the Air Jordan XXXI. They had a leather upper, a Nike swoosh, a Jumpman logo, and a Jordan "Wings" logo as on the Air Jordan 1 and 2. What a crazy quilt of logos! Its first retail release was September 3, 2016 for $185. The US team wore them in a unique colorway during August 2016 at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Air Jordan 32:

Also known as the Air Jordan XXXII. They have a Nike Flyknit upper, a Jumpman logo, and a Jordan "Wings" logo as on the Air Jordan 1, 2 and 31. Its first retail release was September 23, 2017 for $185 in a mostly "racing red" with black accents colorway. Another colorway, mostly black with red accents, came out October 18, 2017.

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Last Updated: 20 October 2017

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