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Nike Air Trainer III + Air Jordan VI Batman Boots

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The success of Christopher Nolan’s modern trilogy has taken Batman’s popularity to new heights and we’ve seen a variety of Dark Knight-inspired colorways over the past several years, and as the world prepares for the worldwide premiere of The Dark Night Rises at midnight, it’s worth looking back to how the superhero saga and the history of sneakers intertwine. The connections between the Beaverton and the Caped Crusader stretch all the way back to the Tim Burton era of Batman films, when a partnership between Nike and Warner Bros. made it possible to combine Batman with the Jumpman. Costume director Bob Ringwood noted that “’80s sportswear isn’t going to fit in with [Batman‘s] 1940s look,” so Tinker Hatfield did what he does best and ‘laced’ up the Dark Knight with some of the brand’s most impressive footwear releases to that point.

The original Batman x Nike Air Trainer III was born for Burton’s 1989 film, and with the reception from Michael Keaton and his stuntmen being so overwhelmingly positive, Tinker took the sneaker-boot concept to new heights for ’92’s Batman Returns. For that sequel, Michael Jordan’s first championship-winning silhouette was made into an even more aggressive Batman x Air Jordan VI boot, with a shroud-like addition on the forefoot and an attached boot collar that actually played a role in the entire Batman ensemble. It’s particularly interesting to note Nike/Jordan’s immense influence over pop culture (even the early ’90s Batman figures wore AT3s and AJ6s!), and with last year’s release of the Mag 2011, could Jordan Brand take it a step further and release an Air Jordan VI ‘Dark Knight’?. Click through to see both styles, let us know which you’d pick in a fantasy scenario and stick with Sneaker News for more rare Air Jordans.  Photos: NT/DeFY