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Third time was certainly a charm when it came to the Air Jordan line in 1988. But they could have surpassed, Tinker Hatfield and nike, or even come close, the success of the bold and elegant Air Jordan III with the new model of 1989 ? As we now know, the answer was definitely yes. The Air Jordan IV picked up right where the III left off, further establishing the status of the Air Jordan line as the coolest and most important sneaker in the world. In this latest installment of the Jordan 101 series, we dig into all the basic details, legendary moments on and off the court, and cultural significance of the Air Jordan IV . Read on to delve into one of the greatest Air Jordans of all time.

The basics

The Air Jordan IV was released in 1989 and was produced in four colorways throughout the year. Basically following the same color schemes as the Air Jordan III, the IV was released in two white-based Bulls colorways ( White/Cement and Fire Red ), one black-based colorway ( Black/Red ), and a white-accented version. and blue (Military Blue). It retailed for $100, making it one of the most expensive basketball shoes on the market at the time. But it was worth it, right?

Tinker's second legendary Air Jordan design

Following the Air Jordan III was no easy task, but if anyone could do it, it was Tinker Hatfield. And it did, successfully. The IV's design really hasn't strayed too far from the III, with the mid cut height and visible heel Air unit both returning. However, the IV was a little more aerodynamic and lighter than the III. Its signature design details were the mesh on the side panels and tongue, and the unique lacing support system featuring the shoe's iconic "wings." Air Jordan IV also introduced the "Flight" concept to the Air Jordan line.


The Air Jordan IV may not have introduced any groundbreaking new technology to the world of basketball shoes like many other Air Jordans, but all it had was functional and aesthetically pleasing. Already mentioned above, the IV brought back the mid-top height and visible Air, while other tech aspects of the shoe included additional Air in the forefoot, supportive "wings," a lacing system that provided more eyelets for the Custom lace placement and large heel tab for easy entry. The "Bred" colorway also introduced supple nubuck leather into Air Jordans, a material that would be used on many subsequent models.

It's gotta be the shoes

During the 1988-89 season that Michael wore the Air Jordan IVs, he had his best statistical season ever as he averaged 32.5 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. It would take two more seasons for MJ and the Bulls to make it to the Finals (which they eventually won), but the '88-89 season saw the Bulls make their first Eastern Conference Finals of the Jordan era, firmly establishing them as a team to take seriously for the contention for the championship.

"The shot"

Speaking of the 1989 playoffs, Game 5 of the opening round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers provided the NBA history books with the first of many epic shots by Michael Jordan as he hit the infamous pitch over poor Craig Ehlo to give the Bulls a one-point victory for winning the game and series. On Michael's feet for the iconic moment were, of course, the black Air Jordan IVs.

Do the right thing

Already closely associated with the Air Jordan line due to his appearance as Mars Blackmon in the Air Jordan III advertising campaign, Spike Lee actually gave the Air Jordan IV a supporting role in his landmark 1989 film Do the Right Thing. Watch the whole scene with the shoe on it and keep in mind that Buggin' Out is played by the same actor as Gustavo Fring in Breaking Bad(!).

The beginning of the Air Jordan Retro craze

Ten years after its initial release, the Air Jordan IV made a retro comeback in 1999 in its best-loved "Bred" and "White/Cement" colorways. (Something today's Air Jordan shoppers certainly don't know, the original '99 Retros cost the same as the OG version at $100!) Along with the OG looks, the shoe was also released in the first Retro+ colorways of the Air Jordan line. in "Oreo" and "Columbia Blue" colorways with a white/chrome version later in 2000, each made with all-leather constructions with no mesh mesh and Jumpmans replacing the Nike Air logo on the heel. The first retro Air Jordans in 1994, the Air Jordan 1, 2 and 3, were all a little too early for the sneaker world, with many pairs hitting the sale shelves. But we were all set for the return of the Air Jordan 4 in 1999, as the retro craze would officially kick off from then on.

The legend takes flight

The momentum that the first three Air Jordans created in the shoe world was seamlessly continued with the successful design of the Air Jordan IV in 1989, and in hindsight we can see that the madness was only just beginning. Further boosting the popularity of the Air Jordan line with its elite status in malls and on the streets, appearances at MJ's feet on the court as his career has also reached new heights, and even its presence in a major motion picture, the Air Jordan IV can be seen as the shoe that marked the point of no return for the legendary status that Air Jordans now have in the world of sneakers

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