Almost every iconic Air Jordan silhouette has a connection to a pivotal moment in Jordan’s career, including the “Banned” story, the “Flu Game”, and “The Shot”.
A game-winning shot by Michael Jordan over Craig Ehlo and the Cleveland Cavaliers closed out the first round of the 1989 Playoffs as the last seconds ticked off the clock. By making the Shot, MJ advanced the Chicago Bulls to the semi-finals, proving he could lead them to victory. All eyes were on Jordan, and of course, his Air Jordan 4s. The Air Jordan 4 has since become a staple of pop culture.(Buy best fake Jordan 4 here).
The Shot imbued the Jordan 4 with cultural and historical significance, and countless new colorways and collaborations have kept it relevant throughout the years. Travis Scott, Eminem, Union LA, KAWS, Levi’s – the Jordan 4 has been the springboard of some of Jordan Brand’s biggest and most meaningful releases, each one introducing the design to new audiences and bolstering its storied status in the sneaker world.
It’s clear that the Jordan 4 isn’t leaving any time soon, so it’s important to know more about the sneaker that has stayed relevant for over three decades. We put together a comprehensive buyer’s guide to the Air Jordan 4, from the history and pricing to how they fit into your wardrobe.
Here is everything you need to know:
Taking a Look Back
A high-performance basketball shoe was designed by Nike designer Tinker Hatfield based on the success of the Air Jordan 3. Hatfield had a good thing going, so it seemed natural to build off of it. The Jordan 3 kicked off Hatfield’s career with Jordan Brand and was heralded as a true differentiator in the basketball sneaker industry.
The Air Jordan 4 shared many similarities with the Jordan 3: it had a mid-top silhouette, a visible Air unit in the sole, and both Nike and Jumpman branding. Nevertheless, the Jordan 4 was an innovative leap forward, especially in terms of performance.
Although the Air Jordan 3 had a luxe aesthetic, it was a bit heavy and lacks breathability, so Hatfield added a molded layer of urethane-coated mesh netting to boost breathability. Additionally, I introduced a new material called Durabuck to the Black/Cement Gray colorway. In a sneaker designed to endure active play on the court, Durabuck was similar to Nubuck leather, but lighter and more durable. Durabuck was also less expensive and more sustainable for Nike.
In terms of design, the Jordan 4 was revolutionary, but its significance is not limited to technology. We all know about “The Shot”, but the Air Jordan 4 also gained a cult following on screen. A Boston Celtics fan scuffs Giancarlo Esposito’s character’s Air Jordan 4s in Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, released just months after MJ’s buzzer-beater. He was furious, just like most people who love sneakers. In film, this conflict became a legendary and relatable sneaker moment.
Colorways of the Air Jordan 4
There were four colorways available for the Air Jordan 4 in 1989: White Cement, Black Cement, Fire Red, and Military Blue. In order to complement the Chicago Bulls’ home and away color schemes, the White Cement and Black Cement colorways were released first, while the Fire Red and Military Blue colorways followed later. It’s likely that Jordan wore all but the Military Blue colorway on the court that year, since it was the only one that didn’t represent the Bull’s black and red colors.
Some of the original Air Jordan 4 colorways have recently been reissued, and others have received at least two reissues. Jordan Brand re-released the Air Jordan 4 Fire Red as part of its holiday collection in 2020, while the Air Jordan 4 Black Cement was retroed in the fall of 2019 and again last year.