Air Jordan 4
The Air Jordan 4 (IV) is the fourth signature sneaker designed for Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan. It debuted February 1989 during that year's NBA All-Star Game in Houston. The sneakers originally retailed for $110 USD and were designed by Tinker Hatfield. This was the second shoe that Tinker designed for MJ, and throughout the year, four color ways were released: “White/Cement,” “Black/Cement,” “Military Blue,” and “Fire Red.”
The shoe shared many similarities to its predecessor, the Air Jordan 3. It featured a visible Nike Air Max cushion, an enlarged tongue, and “NIKE AIR” logo on the heel, but it also introduced a netting on the upper and plastic lace eyelet “wings” to reduce weight. Hatfield’s principles of weight reduction were commonly seen across all his designs – including basketball, running, and training. The AJ 4 was an instant hit, and the shoes are most recognized for “The Shot” – the infamous series-winning buzzer beater by MJ over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Jordan 4 did not return to stores again until 1999, roughly one year after Michael Jordan’s retirement from the Bulls. It returned in the two original “White/Cement” and “Black/Cement,” while introducing two “LS” (or Lifestyle) models that boasted a Jumpman logo at the heel and leather panels in place of the netting. This addressed to significant growth in popularity of Jordans as casual lifestyle footwear. The Air Jordan 4 was highly popular among sneaker collectors in the 2000s due to its design and scarcity. The model did not release again until 2005 in the highly limited Jordan 4 “Laser” editions and in 2006 in the Jordan 4 “Thunder” and Jordan 4 “Lightning” editions.
In the Fall of 2006, Jordan Brand brought the sneaker back to the masses in the other two original colors (a Mars Blackmon-inspired “Fire Red” and “Military Blue”) and a series of newer colorway options for men and women. While highly popular among Jordan fans, many were displeased at the lack of “NIKE AIR” logo and the seemingly average quality marked by cracking paint on the midsole and inaccurate toe shape. In 2016, Jordan Brand finally brought original heel branding back to the shoes with the Jordan 4 “White/Cement”.
Over the last decade, the Air Jordan 4 has been in regular circulation in a wide range of color ways and styles. Today, it continues to be one of the more popular Air Jordans and is often considered to be among Tinker Hatfield’s best footwear designs period.