December 28th, 2012 by Sneaker News
While the few and far between Air Jordan XI Retros have managed to maintain a revered sense of mystique throughout the years, for many Jordan purists, the real G.O.A.T. debate comes down to “the III vs. the IV.” In addition to their shared and undisputed aesthetic brilliance, they’re also arguably the two most versatile everyday wearable models in the Air Jordan lineage. The lower ankle cut effectively seems to make them more accessible to a broader fanbase and especially with those who love Jordans, but are not usually partial to hightop basketball silhouettes. Aside from the comparable ankle height and worldwide adoration, most of the similarities end there. The Air Jordan III steps into the ring equipped with the almighty elephant print and was the first appearance of the iconic Jumpman logo, but for all the elegance and sophistication it brings to the table, there’s just something so “next level” about the Air Jordan IV.
Most sneaker designers would retire after designing the Air Jordan III, content with having just created one of the all-time greats in the history of the medium, but for a young Tinker Hatfield, it was right onto the next one. How do you follow the Air Jordan III? How about some crazy protruding lace wings on the sides, plastic netting on the tongue and underlay and some kind of cool new speckled pattern known as “cement” thrown in on the accents. It all came together with the unique lacing system, extending heeltab and the dynamic contours of the midsole to materialize into the perfect evolutionary next step for the Air Jordan line. The Air Jordan IV was fiercely technical and futuristic in its look, but it’s flowing lines and shapes gave it a stylish and organic feel that felt completely congruent to what MJ was doing on the court at the time.
Michael Jordan symbolized the future of the NBA and was doing things the game had never seen. Not only was he innovating on the court with his play, but he was doing it with an unparalleled style and grace and the Air Jordan IV seemed to succinctly embody those elements. Four original colorways were released beginning in 1989, each one achieving legendary status over the years in the hearts of Air Jordan fans. 2012 marked the 23rd anniversary of the original release and for Jordan Brand, that milestone means a celebration of the model at retail. Following last year’s formula for the III’s 23rd birthday, various colorways of the Air Jordan IV hit the shelves all year long as expected.
There were some new and unexpected drops along the way, like the “Cavs” edition, which was a tribute to Michael’s infamous execution of “The Shot” over Craig Ehlo in the playoffs, but despite the great story behind them, more folks seemed to want to refer to them as “Knicks” instead for the more obvious color scheme tie-in. In the unexpected column was the return of the “Thunder” colorway, marking a rare re-release of a relatively recent non-OG colorway. Despite the new additions to the IV family, the real treat was the return of all four original colorways beginning with the White/Cement in February and finishing off with the beloved “Bred” edition on Black Friday. While there will never be a definitive champion in the ongoing “III vs. IV” debate, for those who don’t care which is better and just can’t get enough, it’s been a dream two-year stretch of Retro releases to say the least.
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