Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the 90s' first Jordan.
Michael Jordan began the 90s with zero NBA titles and ended the decade with six. Coming into 1990, Jordan was a bonafide superstar who was on the cusp of something great. His Chicago Bulls were becoming a terror and NBA teams were taking notice. Off the court, Jordan was thriving thanks to his sneaker deal with Nike although things weren't always that way. Back in 1988, Jordan was ready to leave Nike before legendary designer Tinker Hatfield came in and saved the day with his prototype of the Air Jordan 3. Two years later, Hatfield and Jordan were back for more as they revealed the Air Jordan 5 to the world.
2020 is the 30th anniversary of the sneaker that kicked off an entire decade. At first, the Jordan 5 polarized fans and consumers with its peculiar silhouette and shark-teeth midsole. Eventually, fans came around and the Jordan 5 became a classic. Aided by various references in popular culture, some colorways are easily recognizable and will forever stand the test of time. This sneaker has a whole library of hits but we've decided to countdown our ten favorites.
10. Air Jordan 5 x Trophy Room "Ice Blue"
In 2019, Jordan's son Marcus - who also happens to run the sneaker store Trophy Room - came through with one of the dopest Air Jordan 5 collabs we have seen in quite some time. The shoe dropped in a friends and family red suede version although the pair that made it to retailers was the "Ice Blue" offering. The smooth light blue suede makes this a shoe that immediately pops when you put it on your feet. As for the midsole, that's dressed in white while the shark teeth are red. Overall, it's a beautiful design that would look great in anyone's collection. Unfortunately, these were hard to come by so if you want to cop them, you're going to have to fork over quite a bit of cash.
9. Air Jordan 5 “Doernbecher”
What makes this shoe so amazing is the incredible story behind it. For those who don't know, every year Nike links up with the Doernbecher hospital for a collection of sneakers designed by the patients. This Air Jordan 5 became famous because of the way it paid tribute to the late Isaac Arzate. The shoe features his date of birth and passing on the tongue while the upper is covered in words from a poem he wrote right before he died. His baseball and basketball jersey numbers are placed on the side which helps to honor his memory. Not to mention, these shoes glow in the dark and create a beautiful shade of blue. Overall, there is a meaning behind these shoes and they will forever be a classic in the history of Doernbecher collabs.
8. Air Jordan 5 “Black Grape”
One of the defining characteristics of the 90s was just how many vibrant colors there were. The 80s were vibrant themselves but typically, these colors were delivered in a monochrome fashion. Meanwhile, the 90s were known for packaging various colors in a unique way. If there was any shoe that showcased this need for uniquely packaged colors, it would be the "Black Grape" colorway of the AJ5. While it may not be as iconic as the white version, the black offering certainly holds up as one of the best models in the Jordan 5's rich history. Packed with lowkey black suede and purple/teal highlights, this sneaker is a huge hit amongst sneakerheads. With the Top 3 Jordan 5 coming this year, expect the "Black Grape" colorway to get some shine in your local sneaker groups.
7. Air Jordan 5 “Shanghai Shen”
Over the years, there have been various Jordan sneakers that pay homage to MJ's high school days. Of course, I am talking about the infamous blue and yellow "Laney" colorways that have graced the uppers of various Jordan silhouettes. This Air Jordan 5 from 2013 is easily one of the best "Laney" models on the market. As you can see, the shoe is dressed in white leather with blue and yellow hints on the midsole. From there, an icy blue outsole helps give the shoe some contrast. The blue tongue and yellow Jumpman logo also help make this sneaker stand out from the rest. Jordan Brand recently came through with a "Laney" model that is covered in blue suede although it just didn't hit the same. For sneaker lovers, the original Laney is where it's at.
6. Air Jordan 5 “Raging Bull”
What more can you say about a sneaker covered in red suede? The "Raging Bull" colorway remains one of the best Jordan 5's in the silhouette's expansive library. Not to mention, it's a fairly rare shoe and you'll have to do some digging in order to find a deadstock pair. Even if red shoes aren't your thing, you have to appreciate how Jordan Brand took the shoe to the next level with this one offering. We can only hope they retro these soon.
5. Air Jordan 5 “Bel-Air”
Will Smith deserves a ton of credit when it comes to making the Air Jordan 5 popular. Smith wore the shoe religiously during the first season of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. Jumpman was well-aware of what Smith was doing and in order to pay homage to his love of the shoe, they came through with the appropriately titled "Bel-Air" colorway. The shoe features a grey suede upper with colorful trimmings throughout. For instance, the midsole is purple and the outsole has traces of neon yellow. Meanwhile, the sock-lining is filled with colorful geometrical shapes that scream "90s aesthetic." Some may say this looks like a kids shoe but it is easily one of the best Jordan 5s out there. In both a thematical and storytelling sense, this shoe is hard to top.
4. Air Jordan 5 “Tokyo”
Part of the reason for why the "Tokyo" model is so high on the list is because of just how rare it is. This sneaker is a bit of a unicorn and is almost impossible to find whether it be on resale apps or even your local reseller group on Facebook. Jumpman knew they had a hit on their hands when they created this one. Yellow leather graces the upper as black hits are placed on the laces, sock-lining and heel cup. Charcoal grey finds its way onto the side panels and tongue which creates a beautiful and unexpected contrast with the yellow leather. Even the shark teeth on the midsole are yellow which ultimately helps add to the overall motif of the shoe. All-yellow sneakers tend to work well on Jordan silhouettes and the "Tokyo" colorway is no exception.
3. Air Jordan 5 “Black/Metallic Silver”
It may not be the most colorful offering on this list but there is no denying just how classic the "Black Metallic" colorway is. It's an OG model for the Jordan 5 and to this day, it still lives up to the hype. There is something to be said about simplistic colorways. Thanks to this shoe's black suede upper and silver highlights, it is a fashion piece that can be worn with just about any outfit. Not to mention, it's the perfect neutral colorway if you need to wear something to your local basketball court and don't have your own jersey. Every time this shoe drops, fans are excited about it and that's all you really need to know.
2. Air Jordan 5 “Fire Red”
You can't make a list of great Air Jordan 5 colorways without including at least one Chicago Bulls-inspired model. Of course, we are talking about the Air Jordan 5 "Fire Red" which will be making its long-awaited return in 2020. As far as colorways go, it's quite basic. The upper is made with white leather while the midsole is mostly black with red shark teeth. Red also appears on the sock-lining and Jumpman logo on the tongue. From there, 3M material is placed on the tongue in order to make it reflective in specific lighting situations. If you watched Jordan play, then the "Fire Red" model is what you probably remember most from his Jordan 5 days. If there was ever a "starter" Air Jordan 5, it would either have to be the "Fire Red" colorway or the "Black Metallic" model above. Either way, you truly can't go wrong with this classic offering.
1. Air Jordan 5 “Grape”
Earlier, we discussed Will Smith's love of the Air Jordan 5 and how he helped make it famous on his sitcom. For those of you who have watched the show, you probably remember that he was mostly seen rocking the "Grape" colorway. While the black suede version is dope, there is no denying that the OG model is the pinnacle of the silhouette. Dressed in white leather, purple tongue and midsole, and teal highlights on the Jumpman logo and shark teeth, the "Grape" Air Jordan 5 is a bonafide classic. There have been various reissues of the shoe and every single time, sneakerheads rush to their local sneaker stores to scoop them up. This shoe is the perfect representation of the 90s and helps signify a time when purple and teal were all the rage. Luckily for us, Jumpman will be dropping a purple suede version of the "Grape" colorway later this year. We can only hope that it lives up to the legacy of its predecessor.
What Air Jordan 5 colorway is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.