Ranking Every Single Michael Jordan Shoe from Ugliest to Best Looking

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistAugust 9, 2011

Ranking Every Single Michael Jordan Shoe from Ugliest to Best Looking

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    Michael Jordan is not only widely considered to be the greatest player to ever grace the NBA, but he is also certainly the greatest basketball brand, sorry LeBron. 

    Jordan's Nike basketball shoe line continues to grow in popularity, and he hasn't played professionally in almost decade. Now if that is not impressive, I do not know what is.

    Jordan made the shoes famous by playing in them, and his on-the-court accomplishments have allowed the brand to continue to grow. And while it is not so much about the shoe as it is the man whose feet they were on, we'd all be lying if said we didn't enjoy/cringe at how some of his shoe styles looked.

    With this is mind, let us go beyond the court and rank Jordan's shoes from the absolute ugliest, to the absolute best looking. 

    And just to clarify, we are taking at look at the most famous or well-known styles, as in the ones he and others actually played in, not the imitations that Pauly D of the Jersey Shore has unfortunately made unfoundedly popular.

NIke Air Jordan X (10)

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    Jordan wore the Air Jordan X in the 1994-1995 NBA season, and I am still wondering what he was thinking.

    This shoe is incredibly ugly. The blueish/grayish/whitish lines near the shoe laces and at the bottom are reminiscent of aluminum foil. There is absolutely no action going on in the heart of the shoe.

    Additionally, where is the Jordan logo? And where is the red? 

    This shoe's design and color scheme would have better suited Jordan while on the Wizards. To be fair though, it still would have been ugly while he was there too.

    This design is not only unimpressive, but it is hard to even look at it.

    I guess that it why Nike opted to not include their symbol anywhere visible.

Nike Air Jordan II (2)

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    Michael Jordan wore the Nike Air Jordan II during the 1986-1987 NBA season, and while number No. 23 is anything but ordinary, mundane is exactly what these shoes are.

    The design is incredibly conservative. The shoe itself is mostly black and white, with just a tough of red near the heel. This shoe definitely could have benefited from increasing the range of colors on it, specifically red.

    Just by changing the laces to red would have made a huge difference. Even a giant Nike check mark could have made this shoe so much more than it is.

    This design is notoriously simple, a tag that just doesn't fit MJ's playing style.

Nike Air Jordan XIX (19)

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    Jordan donned this pair of shoes, the Nike Air Jordan XIX, during the 2003-2004 NBA season.

    This pair of sneakers is more than an eyesore to say the least. The front part of the tongue comes up way too high, and that fence like design going down it is terrible.

    There is a velcro strap, which is not helping the design's case either. It makes the part it is attached to look like one large flap is covering the actual shoe.

    It is hard to find anything good to say about the way this pair looks. This one could have benefited from a serious concept change.

Nike Air Jordan XII (12)

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    Jordan rocked the Nike Air Jordan XII during the 1996-1997 NBA season, and I'm still trying to figure out why.

    This design makes it seem as if the company ran out of time and just pitched anything. Absolutely no color other than black and white to it, and they are separated in an almost too even nature.

    Like the Jordan XI, the overall structure of the shoe in terms of cut and width are nice, but why ruin a nice structural design by failing to institute the right amount of color?

    Not one of the better looking Jordan shoes by any means.

Nike Air Jordan V (5)

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    Jordan wore this pair during the 1989-1990 NBA season, and it was a refreshing change from the all too similar Nike Air Jordan III and IV.

    The Nike Air Jordan V sports a very innovative design near the bottom of the sole. The combination of red, black, white and gray was very clever. All of that being said, there is not much happening toward the middle and top part of the shoe. Too much white, not enough color.

    Additionally, the textured blob, as l refer to it, in the middle is just not doing it for this design.

    The high rise flap at the front, with Jordan's logo on it actually works for this shoe though. And it also saves the top part of the shoe from complete mediocrity.

    However, I still cannot get past that blob in the middle.

Nike Air Jordan XVII (17)

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    Where do we start with this pair of Jordans?

    The Nike Air Jordan XVII was what Jordan wore for the 2001-2002 NBA Season and like the Air Jordan XVI, there is a hideous flap present within the body of the shoe. Only difference is that it looks more out of place, thus more of an eyesore.

    What is its purpose? To cover the shoe laces? To tighten the fit? 

    Regardless of its purpose, it looks out of place. Additionally, this the top part of the shoe where it cuts off has this box look to it. It isn't very eye-flattering.

    The dark blue at the bottom is a nice tough though, as is the silver strip with "Jordan" inscribed in it. And the rounded part near the toe does not look to bad either.

    Overall, this design had a lot of potential, but the flap and box like cut at the top kills it.

    Not Nike's best work.

Nike Air Jordan XVI (16)

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    The Nike Air Jordan XVI was released for the 2000-2001 NBA season.

    This pair seems to try and match its predecessor in the Air Jordan XV by attempting to go for that fresh,modern look. However, it fails terribly.

    The red near the bottom of the shoe is a very nice touch, but it could have used some more red in the main body. Additionaly, the main boby of the shoe looks like its leathery, while the part near the toe is shiny plastic like. That is not a good combination.

    Also, the flap-like part that drapes over the side is a little too much. This is supposed to be a basketball shoe, not a blanket.

    As comfortable as these may have been on the court, doesn't make up for their less than mediocre appearance.

Nike Air Jordan 2009

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    The Nike Air Jordan 2009 was released for the 2008-2009 NBA season, and while its design is extremely modern, it could have benefitted from the use of more color.

    Despite the lack of color within this design, there is a lot going on. The front, near the toe, has a smooth texture, while toward the middle, a slab of texturized lines emerge.

    This shoe cuts off at a great height, but the triangle at the top of the tongue is uncalled for.

    This pair of Jordan's really had potential, but some of it was squandered with the lack of color. The black, white and slight use of silver near the bottom was not enough to finish bringing this design together.

Nike Air Jordan III (3)

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    Jordan wore the Air Jordan III during the 1987-1988 NBA season, and it strays away from the brands typical use of solely black, red and white.

    The shoe is relatively low cut for a basketball shoe but still sits above the ankles effectively. The cracked gray design, almost cobblestone like, near the sole of the shoe is pretty impressive.

    While this design is different because it uses very little red, it could have benefited from some more use of said color. The top three-quarters of the shoe are almost all white. It could have been spiced up a bit with a little more color up top.

    A colored Nike symbol in the middle could have also improved the design.

    This one stays memorable though because of the cracked design at the bottom. Not one of Jordan's better looking shoes but definitely not the worst.

Nike Air Jordan XI (11)

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    Jordan wore the Nike Air Jordan XI throughout the 1995-1996 NBA season, and the design makes me wonder if he was in a particularly bad mood when he and Nike came up with this concept.

    The overall design of the shoe is nice, and I am even on board with the thick, black stripe that engulfs the bottom of the shoe. Additionally, the overall cut of the shoe is pretty nice.

    All of that aside though, where is the red? Or even the pink? Any kind of color would have saved this shoe. It is so inactive and just plain conservative.

    Structure of the shoe is nice, but appearances count for something or in this case, everything.

Nike Air Jordan XX2 (22)

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    The Jordan XX2, which was released for the 2006-2007 NBA Season, is a plain design, yet it seems to work.

    On the back is an almost checkered design that breaks up the sea of ordinary. This pair basically uses black and white colors to make its case, almost indicating Nike decided to play it safe on this one.

    It does not have the allure of different colors, which it definitely could have benefited from, but at the same time, it does not horribly clash either.

    Playing it safe may seem boring to sum, but it worked out for Nike this time, allowing the XX2's to be placed amongst the middle of the pack.

Nike Air Jordan VII (7)

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    Nike and Jordan definitely killed the deemed "blob" design with this pair of shoes.

    These shoes were seen on the feet of the legend himself during the 1991-1992 NBA season.

    The cut of this shoe is just a little bit to high, and its shape seems to narrow. Including the red beneath the laces was a nice touch and saves the shoe from being entirely white and mundane. However, once again, more color is needed.

    The best part about this shoe is the little Jordan logo on the upper side. However, one of the worst parts about this shoe is the dingy gray that the Jordan logo is located.

    Seriously, you think Jordan and Nike would have learned to throw some more color in a shoe by design seven.

    I guess not.

Nike Air Jordan XX (20)

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    The Nike Air Jordan XX was release prior to the 2004-2005 NBA season, and it is clear that it attempts to have a whole lot going on in such a small space.

    On the front, there is a plastic like material that is nothing short of glistening. Smack dab in the middle of the shoe looks like a felt like design that has no business being there. However, despite that, the rest of the shoe is pretty well off.

    The dark red at the top part of the shoe is a very nice touch, and is probably the best part of the sneaker altogether. I'm inclined to classify this shoe as absolutely ugly, yet thinking back to some of the other designs we have seen already, this one does not seem bad.

    Why couldn't they just leave out the ill-thought tongue design? 

Nike Air Jordan IV (4)

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    Jordan sported this shoe during the 1988-1989 NBA season.

    This shoe is a slightly evolved design of the Nike Air Jordan III, and while it looks a little bit better because the speckled gray design is strategically placed, this one again lacks the wow factor.

    Where is the Nike symbol?

    How about a little more use of color?

    Why use more gray than red?

    Additionally, the high rise flap at the back of the shoe is something that this design could of done without. 

    Sorry MJ. Sorry Nike. Not a big fan of this one.

Nike Air Jordan VI (6)

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    Jordan wore the Air Jordan VI during the 1990-1991 NBA season, and it is a design where the "blobs" are actually working.

    As we saw with the Nike Air Jordan V, a "blob" can ruin a design, but this time, they make the shoe because of the number of occurrences. Additionally, the design at the sole is simply awesome. The red and white waves are absolutely sick.

    This shoe is the perfect cut, not to high, not too low, and the absence of air holes at the tip of the shoe were a great move. The design of this shoe could have benefited from a little more action in the main part, but the "blobs" justifiably prevent that from happening.

    Nice work here Nike/MJ.

Nike Air Jordan VIII (8)

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    The Nike Air Jordan VIII, which he wore in the 1992-1993 NBA season is an improved version of the Air Jordan IV.

    There is a lot of action going on toward the bottom, almost tie dye like toward the heel. Nike and Jordan once again incorporated the infamous "blob" design, but this time it works, especially one right near the top.

    The strap toward the top is something this shoe could have done without. However, the color and design beneath the laces is absolutely incredible. A solid shoe design here. 

Nike Air Jordan XIV (14)

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    The Air JOrdan XIV was released for the 1998-1999 NBA season, and what a release it was.

    This design is one that incorporates more red into it, which is a plus and refreshing change from the design's that were almost solely black, gray or white.

    The red designs at the bottom of the shoe certainly liven it up a bit and while there are a lot of air holes, the prolific manner in which they are displayed allows it to not be considered overkill.

    More color could have really helped this design because it gets a little monotonous in the middle and top, but all the same, it is one of the better looking shoes of the Air Jordan line.

Nike Air Jordan XV (15)

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    The Air Jordan XV was released for the 1999-2000 NBA season and was a perfect way to kick off the start of a new millennium.

    There is not a lot of color besides black and a bit of silver within this design, but it is incredibly modern looking, fitting for the time. It is simple, yet exciting at the same time. It instills a sense of power with its sheek look and design.

    And as previously stated, there is only a bit of silver, but it really accents the shoe well and furthers the design's clear innovative nature. 

    This two-color design does not fail to impress, and it's a shame we did not get to see Jordan himself sport these on the court.

NIke Air Jordan XIII (13)

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    Jordan wore the the Air Jordan XIII throughout the 1997-1998 NBA season, and I'm not sure if it's because of the boring nature of the designs from the previous two years, but this one is certainly a great shoe.

    The mixture of black and white was done so that there was not too much of either in one area. There are multiple bubble like shapes on the shoe that really liven up the middle, and the bottom part of the design is fantastic with just a hint of red to liven it up a bit.

    This shoe's cut is also very solid and something that Jordan and Nike have been proud to market because it is very easy around the eyes unlike some of the previous designs we have seen.

Nike Air Jordan XX3 (23)

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    The Nike Air Jordan XX3 may be attempting to hypnotize consumers with its mysterious design on the side, and it may in fact work.

    Released for the 2007-2008 NBA season, this pair of Jordan's has a lot of stuff going on. The design near the bottom of the shoe is captivating, and the way the red fades into black near the toe is flawless.

    As for the design on the side of the shoe, Nike and Jordan take a risk here, but it pays off. It makes the shoe seem very busy, almost wild, but it works. To keep in theme, the shoe laces would have been better off coming in red or black.

    Overall though, this shoe is very fashionable and quite interesting to look at. Nike and Jordan swung for the fences on this one, and they more than hit it dead on.

Nike Air Jordan XXI (21)

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    Released for the 2005-2006 NBA season, the Nike Air Jordan XXI is a shoe design that we can get on board with.

    Finally, after most of the other designs opted to keep it matched, this pair throws red laces into an abyss of white, and it looks good. The black design at the bottom of the shoe is very likable as well.

    What really separates this pair is the way that the No. 23 is almost looks branded onto the back end of the shoe. This feature is very impressive.

    Nike and Jordan got it right with this one.

Nike Air Jordan XVIII (18)

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    The Nike Air Jordan XVIII, which is the one Jordan wore in the 2002-2003 NBA season, is a flap design done right.

    This shoe has a suede like texture to it that really works. The combination of black and blue is done flawlessly and the infamous flap is not as obnoxious as we have seen in previous designs.

    Furthermore, the No. 23 near the top is a very nice tough, as is the cut of the shoe, which is at a perfect height. It's a fairly simple design, but fairly simple worked like an absolute charm in this case.

    Give Jordan and Nike props for this design because it not only kept the athletes playing but kept them looking stylish.

Nike Air Jordan 2010

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    The Nike Air Jordan 2010 is a really bold and slightly risky design, yet it is very effective.

    Red, white and black are all this shoe needs to pull it together, and the uneven pattern in which they appear suits the design perfectly. The tongue of this shoe can be pulled up to a moderate height, which is very good.

    Additionally, the red lining at the bottom of the shoe has this cracked texture that makes it very fashionable. And let's not forget transparent circle in the middle of the shoe. Is its purpose to let the foot breathe a little more, or is it just an attempt at designing something extreme?

    Who cares is my response. It looks awesome. This design is clearly a very liberal one, and I for one am shocked the smooth material near the toe does not have a wild design with in it. That could have possibly been overkill.

    As previously noted, Nike seemed to take a risk with this one, and it definitely paid off.

Nike Air Jordan I (1)

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    Michael Jordan sported the Air Jordan I for two seasons, spanning from 1984-1986, and we can understand why he did.

    The first shoe ever in Jordan's line is also the best one of its kind. It had just the right balance of color between red, white and black. Nike's symbol was strategically placed, and the design has it continuing on to the back of the heel which was simply a stroke of genius.

    Additionally, the high rise design makes it seems as if this shoe is ready to come up to your knees. It is the type of shoe that can keep an almost full rise sock ridden, making it extremely fashionable.

    And absolutely timeless.


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