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Designed by Tinker Hatfield for Michael Jordan in 1993, the Air Jordan IX was never worn on court by the legendary NBA player because he announced his first retirement in that same year. The shoe, however, is immortalized by a statue of MJ in the United Center in Chicago. The shoe features Nike Air-sole in the midsole. It also has a leather upper and a one-pull lacing system.
Cushion. Like most 90’s basketball shoe models, the midsole uses a firm polyurethane foam that encases two Nike Air units, one at forefoot and one at the heel. The cushion goes thin to thick from the forefoot to the heel, achieving a balance between court feel and impact protection.
Traction. The outsole features a flat storytelling tread pattern that surprisingly provides decent grip on indoor and outdoor courts. The flex grooves on the anatomical outsole makes the shoe bend and twist naturally. It also allows the right areas to hit the ground at all times, maximizing the effects of the traction pattern.
Length and Width. The Air Jordan 9 Retro runs true to size but fits narrow especially on the sides. It is recommended to go half a size up or to try the shoes on in your local shoe store before purchasing.
Lockdown. Support and lockdown comes from the shoe's two-layer upper construction, molded TPU arch, and one-pull lacing system.
The Jordan 9 Retro is constructed in two layers, the internal mesh cleatie and the external leather case. The leather, depending on the colorway, is sometimes replaced with durabuck, suede, textile, or other synthetic materials. The one-pull lacing system uses plastic lace loops for an easier pull when tightening the shoe.
Two encapsulated Air Sole units can be found at the forefoot and heel of the polyurethane midsole. The solid rubber outsole also comes in different translucent variations.
The Air Jordan IX was inspired by Japanese elements. One of which is the Rising Sun accompanied by the Jumpman logo. For designer Tinker Hatfield, the shoe represents Michael Jordan’s cross-cultural reach and influence.
In an interview, Hatfield shares, “The Air Jordan IX represented the globalization of the Air Jordan brand name. Everybody around the world wanted to be like Mike. Take a close look at the soles of the shoes, we designed the different languages around the world that describes the sporting spirit of Michael Jordan and what he has done for the world of sports.” To further represent this, words from different languages are embossed onto the sole of the shoe.
The shoes’ colorways pop when paired with plain jeans and plain shirts.
Ever since its release in 1993, the shoe has been retroed many times. The Jordan 9 comes in more than 36 colorways – the most popular ones being the ‘Bred,’ ‘Space Jam,’ and ‘Anthracite.’
Original colorways of the Air Jordan 9:
- Black/Dark Charcoal-True Red ‘Charcoal’
- Black/Light Olive-True Red ‘Olive’
- White/Black-Dark Powder Blue ‘Powder Blue’
- White/Black-True Red
Air Jordan 9 Retro releases:
- Anthracite/White-Black ‘Anthracite’
- Black/Citrus-White ‘Citrus’
- Black/Dark Concord-University Red ‘Dark Concord’
- Black/Gym Red-Metallic Platinum ‘Johnny Kilroy’
- Black/Light Olive-True Red ‘Olive’
- Black/Light Olive-Varsity Red ‘Olive’
- Black/Matte Silver-University Blue ‘Slim Jenkins’
- Black/University Red ‘Bred’
- Black/Varsity Red-Dark Charcoal ‘Charcoal’
- Black/White-Photo Blue ‘Photo Blue’
- Black/White-Photo Blue ‘Black Bottom’
- Challenge Red/White-Black ‘Motorboat Jones’
- Deep Royal/University Gold-White ‘Calvin Bailey’
- Medium Grey/White-Cool Grey ‘Cool Grey’
- Pure Platinum/Game Royal-Mandarin ‘Fontay Montana’
- White/Black-True Red
- White/Black-University Blue ‘Powder Blue’
- White/Black-Wolf Grey ‘Barons’
- White/Dark Cayenne-University Gold ‘Bentley Ellis’
- White/French Blue-Flint Grey ‘Flint’
- White/True Red-Black CDP
- White/Varsity Red-Black
Air Jordan 9 Pinnacle ‘Glove Pack’
This limited-edition two-shoe set pays tribute to Michael Jordan’s love for baseball. Constructed with premium leather, the Air Jordan IX Pinnacle ‘Glove Pack’ comes in either black or brown. The black pair features the number 45 on the heel as a nod to Michael’s time with the Birmingham Barons while the brown pair sports the number 35 to commemorate his time with the Scottsdale Scorpions. Woven lacing on the side panels completes the baseball-inspired theme.
Air Jordan 9 Premio ‘Bin23’
One of the rarest Air Jordans, the Air Jordan 9 Premio ‘Bin23’ is dressed in white leather and gold nubuck. Premium touches include gold detailing and a red wax “Bin 23” stamp on the collar.
Air Jordan 9 Retro ‘All-Star’
Jordan Brand goes back to Michael Jordan’s roots as the 2019 All-Star Game takes place in Charlotte. A UNC-inspired colorway of the Air Jordan IX, the ‘All-Star’ comes dressed in white, navy, and university blue.
Air Jordan 9 Retro ‘City of Flight’
To celebrate the 2018 All-Star festivities, the Jordan Band launches a simple colorway dressed in black and summit white with hints of gold on the branding. On the insole, a map-inspired graphic finishes off the LA-inspired theme.
Air Jordan 9 Retro DB
Designed by Oswaldo Jimenez, the Doernbecher X Air Jordan 9 features feather detailing and Jimenez’s nickname “Pollito” on the tongue. This is also the first Air Jordan 9 to feature a translucent outsole. “I think sporty kids will like my shoe, especially my little brother,” Jimenez says. “He’s my number one fan.”
Air Jordan 9 Retro ‘For The Love Of The Game’
As an important part of Jordan Brand’s ‘For The Love Of The Game’ pack, the Air Jordan 9 comes dressed in white, black, and university blue.
Air Jordan 9 Retro ‘Kilroy Pack’
Launched in 2012, the ‘Kilroy Pack’ is a six-shoe collection that is based on the fictional alter egos of Michael Jordan that were created for his old ad campaigns. The collection includes ‘Johnny Kilroy,’ ‘Fontay Montana,’ ‘Slim Jenkins,’ ‘Bentley Ellis,’ ‘Calvin Bailey,’ and ‘Motorboat Jones.’
Air Jordan 9 Retro ‘Kobe’
The Air Jordan 9 Retro ‘Kobe’ celebrates the time Kobe Bryant was a sneaker free agent. Crafted after the pair the Black Mamba wore, the ‘Kobe’ features a Lakers-inspired combination of white, tour yellow, and concord.
Air Jordan 9 Retro ‘MOP Melo’
The Air Jordan IX ‘MOP Melo’ celebrates Carmelo Anthony’s tenure at Syracuse where he won the 2003 National Championship. Taking inspiration from the Most Outstanding Player (MOP) trophy, the ‘MOP Melo’ boasts a wood grain overlay and a metallic gold midsole. Carmelo’s number 15 is seen on the heel while his “Melo” nickname is printed on the insole.
Air Jordan 9 Retro ‘Silver Anniversary’
Released in 2010, this Air Jordan 9 is part of Jordan Brand’s 25th Anniversary collection. These Michael Jordan basketball shoes feature an all-white leather upper with silver accents on the tongue and heel.
Air Jordan 9 Retro ‘Space Jam’
The Air Jordan series has makes special references to the popular movie Space Jam. Almost every Air Jordan shoe has an aptly named Space Jam colorway. The Air Jordan 9 Space Jam features a black and white leather upper.
Air Jordan 9 Retro ‘The Spirit’
This colorway of the Air Jordan 9 pays tribute to Michael Jordan’s statue outside the United Center known as “The Spirit.” The Air Jordan IX ‘The Spirit’ features a combination of white, black, and militia green. Bronze detailing represents the statue’s color while the date of the statue’s unveiling (November 1, 1994) is seen on the inner tongue.
Air Jordan 9 Retro ‘Quai 54’
Released as part of Jordan Brand’s Quai 54 tournament, the ‘Quai 54’ features a white leather upper with black and varsity maize accents.