The 25 Greatest Air Jordan IIIs Of All Time

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For a lot of a Jordan head, all the 26-shoe lineage by no means will get higher than the Jordan III. Can we agree with that? Properly… typically. What makes this sneaker significantly particular is that the III represents the beginning of the Tinker Hatfield-era of the Jordan model and, with all due respect to Peter Moore (who designed the Jordan I and II), the model is outlined by Hatfield’s contact — even when it’ll at all times be indebted to the late Moore’s preliminary imaginative and prescient.

Within the sneaker neighborhood, Hatfield’s identify is nearly as huge as MJ’s (okay, not likely however… kinda; okay, not kinda, however… he’s huge). He’s the designer behind lots of Nike’s most beloved kicks exterior of the Air Jordan model and his fingerprint is seen in every single place within the sneaker world. And undoubtedly, the III was his coming-out social gathering.

The III is the sneaker that saved Nike after Hatfield’s then-unconventional design received Jordan over simply as he was considering leaving the corporate. The place was His-Airness headed? Off to companion with Peter Moore and Nike’s first advertising and marketing guru, Bruce Kilgore, on a brand new sneaker firm — Van Grack. In accordance with Psychological Floss Journal (and our personal interviews with Moore), Jordan was able to pack up and go in deep with Moore/ Kilgore however was satisfied to say after a last-ditch assembly throughout which Hatfield’s design for the Jordan III was unveiled.

Hatfield’s Jordan III applied design specifics that Jordan himself had voiced prior to now and launched the Jumpman emblem (mockingly, initially sketched by Moore) on the tongue of the sneaker. This proved to Jordan that the model was as invested in him as a cultural icon, keen to make his private branding extra central to the shoe than their very own well-known Swoosh. For a sneaker model again then, this was an enormous deal and signaled to everybody simply how vital MJ was to the model.

Had Jordan decamped to Van Grack, Nike may not exist in the present day. Significantly. The entire thing proved a masterstroke by Hatfield — Moore was providing a 1/3 partnership stake and Nike topped that just by repositioning a emblem and including Jordan’s advisable cement texture.

Over the many years, Hatfield has ascended to god standing within the design world however his beginnings are humble. He graduated from the College of Oregon with a level in structure and was employed at Nike to assist design advertising and marketing materials. It wasn’t till getting into a company-wide contest that Hatfield was “found” for his sneaker-designing skills. An impressed Moore put the upstart to work, the place Hatfield’s very first produced design turned the Nike Air Max, which pulled the revolutionary transfer of exposing the sneaker’s air-unit — redefining the look of Nike sneakers eternally.

Hatfield’s second sneaker? The Jordan III. Significantly, dude is that good. We’re speaking about an structure graduate right here. And now it’s laborious to think about a time when Hatfield received’t be regarded as the sneaker world’s most vital designer.

In contrast to the Air Jordan I and II, which had been high-top sneakers, the III featured a much less restrictive mid-rise cuff at Jordan’s request — then remarkable for a basketball shoe and a extremely controversial transfer for an athlete coming off a damaged ankle. It additionally featured a mushy, tumbled leather-based higher, which helped Jordan break within the sneakers immediately, an uncovered Air bubble, and the sneaker’s two most defining options — a grey cracked print across the toe and heel (referred to as “cement” by Nike), and an outsized tongue baring an iconic picture of Jordan dunking, used with out Nike’s direct permission and based mostly on a throwaway sketch by Moore that caught Hatfield’s eye.

Jordan rocked the IIIs on the 1988 Slam Dunk Contest, the place he dunked from the free-throw line — solidifying this silhouette’s must-have standing amongst basketball followers. If that legendary second wasn’t sufficient to persuade folks that the IIIs had been the way forward for sneakers, the genius advert marketing campaign, directed by and starring Spike Lee as She’s Gotta Have It’s Mars Blackmon, definitely underscored the purpose.

Right this moment, in celebration of what many contemplate the Jordan Model’s GOAT, we’re working via the 25 finest designs within the sneaker’s 34-year historical past — from its debut in 1988 to the very best colorways of in the present day. We don’t think about the sneaker goes to expire of steam anytime quickly. Subsequent 12 months, we’ll bump up the listing to 35 to match the thirty fifth anniversary. I’m positive it’ll be straightforward, this can be a sneaker that retains on giving.

And if you wish to see a completely customized model of this silhouette, take a look at T.I. reacting to his new kicks on Uproxx’s Recent Pair, under.

Air Jordan III White Cement, 1988

GOAT

We will’t say for sure what Tinker Hatfield’s authentic AJ III prototype appeared like, however we think about it should’ve been just like the White Cement. Jordan laced these up in 1987 they usually’re the colorway he rocked when he crushed the Slam Dunk Contest, making a second that lives rent-free within the minds of all basketball followers, eternally.

Launched to the general public as one of many debut colorways, the White Cement may be very a lot the icon of the AJIIIs and also you’ll discover that many of the colorways on this listing are merely refined alterations of this authentic design.

Hatfield actually knocked it out of the park with this primary one.

Air Jordan III Black Cement, 1988

Nike

Worn by Jordan in 1988 on the NBA All-Star Sport, the Black Cement continues to be the AJIII’s hottest silhouette — fetching the very best costs on the aftermarket and topping a number of Jordan III rankings floating round on sneakerhead message boards. It’s equivalent to the White Cement, solely it options black leather-based paneling with gray accents as a substitute of a clear white higher, which meshes properly with the cracked cement panels.

The college crimson eyelets and Jumpman emblem additionally pop in a radically totally different method than the crimson on white. We might argue within the feedback all day about which is the extra iconic launch however there’s no want — each are impeccable and legendary.

Air Jordan III Hearth Pink, 1988

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In the course of the 1988 NBA Playoffs, Jordan switched up his White Cement kicks for this Hearth Pink iteration. Whereas the Hearth Pink appears to be the least in style of the unique 4 colorways, it birthed an iconic Nike colorway that might discover fame on a number of different Jordan silhouettes sooner or later.

The Hearth Pink is glossy. The elephant pores and skin print (we’re sticking to calling it that, which feels extra correct) has been blacked out right here, which permits the angles of the sneaker’s panels to essentially shine. General, the Hearth Pink makes it simpler to understand how revolutionary Hatfield’s design was amongst all the opposite basketball sneakers on the market.

Air Jordan III True Blue, 1988

GOAT

The Black and White Cement colorways could be the most iconic of the unique 4 AJ III colorways, however the True Blue is the sleeper hit. With its mixture of college blue, and crimson, the identical shiny white higher because the White Cement, and an additional hit of elephant print on the eyestay, the True Blue continues to be among the finest colorways the silhouette would ever be wearing.

MJ rocked these in an exhibition sport between the 1988 NBA All-Stars and Crew USA and wore them once more in 2001 when he briefly performed for the Washington Wizards.

Air Jordan III Mocha, 2001

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Jordans at all times look nice in Mocha colorways and this 2001 launch of the AJ III is not any totally different. The primary colorway to step away from the OG makeups, the Mocha contains a double all-white higher with brown-toned elephant print panels and an identical outsole and Jumpman emblem.

Not a lot to say right here, this one nonetheless appears to be like like essential twenty years later. Fortunately, the colorway will get refreshed typically.

Air Jordan III Black Cat, 2007

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Try that hole in years between the Mocha and the Black Cat! AJ III colorways hit a little bit of a lull within the early ’00s however ’07 would deliver a couple of kind of renaissance for the silhouette due, partly, to the discharge of the Black Cat. Impressed by Jordan’s “Black Cat” nickname — earned for the best way he attacked the opposing staff and dominated the courtroom — this colorway started Nike’s obsession with the Triple Black colorway.

A element that’s laborious to catch until you’ve owned a pair, the Black Cat’s function elephant print shoelaces, which Nike must deliver again instantly.

Air Jordan III Pure Cash, 2007

GOAT

Following the template of the White Cement/Black Cement, the Pure Cash is the all-white reply to the AJ III Black Cat. The Pure Cash options an all-white higher with gray eyelets and a platinum Jumpman emblem. They very a lot seem like a wealthy particular person’s pair of sneakers. We gotta go together with the Black Cat because the superior pair although.

Air Jordan III Flip, 2007

GOAT

The Flip has at all times appeared like a weed-influenced design to me. I think about Nike designers sitting round and getting excessive till somebody blurted out, “However like… what if we flipped the higher with the elephant print mudguard and put the elephant print because the sneakers higher…man.” After which that’s what they did.

It’s form of cool to see the elephant print get a much bigger canvas to breathe. Alas, we wouldn’t commerce these in for any common non-flipped colorway, so that is extra of a curiosity than a vital.

Air Jordan III Do The Proper Factor, 2007

GOAT

The AJ III “Do The Proper Factor” ought to’ve been an AJ IV (that’s what Buggin’ Out was carrying within the movie that shares this sneaker’s identify) however for no matter cause, it’s a III. We’ll take it. Named after and impressed by Spike Lee’s excellent movie Do The Proper Factor, the DTRT contains a blue and mustard yellow colorway with radiant inexperienced threading that borrows its colours from Do The Proper Factor’s film poster.

Air Jordan III Cool Gray, 2007

GOAT

The Cool Gray appears to be like like a cityscape, this colorway options an all-grey higher with Nike’s Sport Pink on the Jumpman emblem and Orange Peel on the eyelets which actually pop towards the extra drab and understated higher. A reissue of this colorway dropped this 12 months and it, as you may’ve guessed, bought out immediately.

Air Jordan III Doernbecher, 2010

GOAT

Made as a part of Nike’s partnership with Portland’s OHSU Doernbecher Kids’s Hospital, the Doernbecher was designed by Cole Johanson — who coated the higher in a metallic diamond-patterned varsity crimson design and listed the 2 comforts that he credit with serving to him beat his lymphoma on the sneaker’s insole: spaghetti and chocolate.

The drop was so in style on the time — in all probability as a result of it represented a radical shift within the look of the AJ III — that Nike re-released it once more three years later. Proceeds profit OHSU and Doernchecher.

Air Jordan III Oregon Geese Pit Crew, 2011

GOAT

Launched in each a White and Black iteration (that is the White, clearly) the AJ III Oregon Geese Pit Crew was made in honor of the College of Oregon’s pupil cheer part, identified for his or her insane staff spirit at dwelling video games. The Pit Crew was the identify given to the followers who would typically present up at U of O video games irrespective of the place the staff traveled. The design of the sneaker featured duck prints instead of the Nike emblem.

Air Jordan III Black Flip, 2011

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We thought of simply together with the Black Flip on this listing and skipping over the OG as a result of in each method this design is simply higher. But it surely additionally felt unsuitable to speak concerning the Black Flip with out mentioning what got here earlier than. The Black Flip is superior as a result of the all-black tackle the elephant print sample is much more refined, so the sneaker appears to be like much less like a complicated mess and extra like a curious alteration of a basic design.

Air Jordan III Legends of Summer season, 2013

GOAT

We had been THIS near not together with the AJ III Legends of Summer season all-red colorway. This. Shut. However simply… take a look at it? Clearly impressed by the Yeezy Pink Octobers, this design dropped as a part of the merch on Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z’s world tour of the identical identify. Because the first day they had been teased by JT, Nike followers have been feverishly ready for one more drop.

What are you ready for Nike? The tenth anniversary? Cool, hopefully, a refresh is simply two years away from now.

Air Jordan III Solefly Lotto, 2014

GOAT

No, you’re not seeing issues, the Solely Lotto AJ III’s look similar to each the Hearth Pink and White Cement colorways, apart from a splash of yellow underneath the tongue, and a flamingo emblem instead of the Jumpman. Impressed by the looks of Florida lottery tickets, the shades used are barely totally different than the OGs. We’ve got a mixture of white, laser crimson, nightshade, and laser orange, so it’s a bit extra vibrant than the White Cement and Hearth Pink, which make the most of the moodier College Pink.

Air Jordan III Sport Blue, 2014

Jordan 3 Refresh
Goat

With a sneaker as dope trying because the Air Jordan III, Nike actually doesn’t must do a lot to provide an awesome new colorway. Working example, 2014’s Sport Blue which is actually the identical design because the Jordan III Black Cement with Sport Blue accents instead of the crimson. It’s lazy however, I imply… take a look at the factor! Arduous to be mad at this.

Some days, we prefer it greater than the unique.

Air Jordan III Kobe, 2016

Jordan 3 Refresh
Goat

Impressed by Kobe’s iconic PE sneakers from his 02-03 season, in 2016 Air Jordan determined to indicate basketball’s second most vital swing guard some love with an Air Jordan assortment repping Laker’s colours. The set dropped as each a Jordan III and a Jordan 8 and featured a leather-based higher with gray elephant print paneling and embroidered particulars over the tongue.

As of late, with the lack of Kobe, there’s something bittersweet about this colorway. Nonetheless, it’s nice to see two legends repped in a single shoe.

Atmos x Air Jordan III Safari, 2017

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GOAT

Made in collaboration with Japanese streetwear label Atmos, the Jordan III Safari scans like a “biggest hits of AJ-III design” compilation. The sneaker sports activities a black nubuck higher with safari print overlays instead of the cement panels over an icy outsole with embroidered Jumpman branding on the tongue.

The mixture of sail and black with orange accents is just too rattling clear! It’s not possible to not love this pair the extra you take a look at it.

DJ Khaled x Air Jordan III Father Of Asahd, 2017

Jordan 3 Refresh
Goat

Some sneakers are so prohibitively costly, they may as properly not exist. That’s what stored DJ Khaled’s 2017 Jordan III off this listing the primary time round however for the refresh, we’re going to go forward and embrace it. Made in celebration of Khaled’s Father Of Asahd album, this Jordan III of the identical identify featured a luxurious suede higher in blue with an icy translucent outsole, and tasteful orange accents.

It’s undoubtedly an awesome colorway, even when you’ll by no means personal a pair. The final time I checked the aftermarket value, it was hovering close to 8k. That’s absurd.

Air Jordan III Seoul, 2018

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The AJ III Seoul resembles the True Blue make-up in loads of methods, however the design is way cleaner right here — utilizing a mix of an all-white higher with colours borrowed from the South Korean flag on the collar. Made in collaboration between Tinker Hatfield and Dan Sunwoo at Nike’s Innovation Kitchen, Seoul is well among the finest AJ III colorways to drop over the past 5 years.

Different particulars embrace the usage of the taeguk image from the Korean Flag instead of the left sneaker’s Jumpman emblem.

Air Jordan III Tinker Oregon Geese, 2018

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Borrowing the colours of Tinker Hatfield’s alma mater, the Tinker Oregon Geese contains a inexperienced apple nubuck higher with yellow cement and gray accents. In a radical departure from the unique design, the Tinker Geese sport a blunted Nike Swoosh, which supplies the sneaker a radically totally different look.

Air Jordan III Laser Orange, 2020

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A future basic, the AJ III Laser Orange was launched as a lady’s unique and was clearly made as a gesture to Nike’s rising smaller-footed buyer base. Although you must marvel, if Nike would’ve simply supplied all these basic AJ III colorways in girls’s sizes to start with, possibly they may’ve made an entire lot extra money, since sneakerheads have been up-sizing child’s sizes for years earlier than Nike bothered to take discover.

The Laser Orange is clear. If Nike would drop a full-size run individuals would definitely be clamoring for them.

Air Jordan III UNC, 2021

GOAT

Is it unsuitable to say that one of many prime 5 AJ III colorways to ever launch didn’t drop till 2021? As a result of we’re saying it. The UNC deserves a spot amongst the OGs, this design is simply too clear. Made in homage to Michael Jordan’s alma mater, the UNC options College Blue accents over a dual-textured leather-based higher with an embroidered Jumpman emblem and people iconic elephant print panels.

Hell, I’ll say it, I feel the UNC is the finest Jordan III colorway.

Air Jordan III Georgetown, 2021

GOAT

The AJ III Georgetown dropped in March 2021, the identical month as our preliminary rating! Meaning if we might’ve written this earlier, another sneaker would’ve made the listing. That’s laborious to think about as a result of this one was future. Borrowing the colours of Georgetown College, the Georgetown or Midnight Navy, because it’s additionally identified, the shoe options a mixture of Midnight navy, cement gray, and white and was launched in celebration of March Insanity.

2021 was an awesome 12 months for Jordan IIIs, main to a different renaissance for the silhoutte. To which followers of the shoe say: Deliver it.

A Ma Maniére x Air Jordan III Raised By Ladies, 2021

Jordan 3 Refresh
Goat

If this was a ranked listing, this girls’s unique colorway would with out query make the highest 5. The place within the prime 5? Fortunately, we don’t have to consider that! Made in collaboration with Atlanta retailer A Ma Maniére, the Raised By Ladies contains a tumbled white leather-based higher with suede accents and twin branding. It ditches many of the touchstones of the most well-liked Jordan colorways however who cares? It does one thing new and it completely nails it.

This sneaker was so dope and beloved {that a} bunch of dudes whined about it being a girls’s unique and it was lastly dropped in a full-size run. It’s been a 12 months because it’s drop however it’s nonetheless one in all our all-time favourite Jordan III colorways and the proper near this listing.

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