Profile of the Air Jordan 16 Retro

2000 was the year after Michael Jordan retired from the NBA for the second time. He did, however, return to the NBA the same year, not as a player but as part owner of the Washington Wizards. This greatly inspired footwear designer Wilson Smith III, and he highlighted in the design of the Air Jordan 16 the story of MJ’s transition from a professional basketball player to an executive.

Getting design cues from a marching band member’s cleat, the Air Jordan XVI Retro is two sneakers in one. The basketball shoe comes with a leather shroud that makes it fit for dressy events and boardroom meetings. When the shroud is removed, it is immediately transformed into a shoe that is fit to ball in.


Cushion. The shoe’s midsole is made of three integral parts. One is the visible blow-molded Air Sole unit in the heel. This technology involves having pressurized air blown into a heated foam compound that is then sealed shut, thereby trapping the air bubble inside. Another is a full-sized Zoom Air unit at the forefoot, and the last one is a Phylon midsole that holds both units together.

Traction. The medial side of the outsole features a herringbone pattern on targeted sections while the lateral side features a storytelling pattern with protruding nubs. These nubs stick out and grip the floor during quick stops and movements. It is advised to limit the shoe to indoor use since the grooves are shallow.


Length and Width. Expert reviewers recommend going half a size down as the shape of the toe box is altered to match the squared-off toe of a dress shoe. This actually brings a performance advantage as the shape reduces painful toe jams and is wide-footer friendly. If you have a wide foot, however, go true to size.

Lockdown. The foot is securely contained by the shoe’s traditional lacing system, the narrow throat of the shoe, and the strategically constructed panels that grasp the foot from both the medial and lateral sides.


The Air Jordan XVI Retro's upper is composed of a variety of materials. The shroud itself is made of full-grain tumbled leather. Quilted fabric makes up its front panel while mesh makes up the part that covers the heel. A rubber piece helps hold the shroud in place when worn with the shoe.

The inner shoe also features high-quality materials like tumbled leather for the side rands, patent leather for the toe box, a ballistic mesh and nubuck combination for the main upper, and open mesh for tongue. With each colorway, these material combinations may vary.

The midsole is basically a Phylon foam that encases a visible Air unit at the heel, Zoom Air unit at the forefoot, and a heel-to-toe carbon fiber sprint plate.


The shoe takes some design cues from the Air Jordan 3, Air Jordan 4, and Air Jordan 11. The removable shroud provides a touch of class and formality. It is complemented by the patent leather toe rand. The lines on the shroud are reminiscent of the design of the XIs. A holographic button containing the Jumpman logo is found on the lateral side of the shoe. When the shroud is removed, the inner shoe showcases a mix of premium materials.

Special Colorways of the Air Jordan 16 Retro

The Air Jordan XVI Retro originally released in two colorways, and both have red detailings. Later on, in 2016 and the year after, the shoe is re-released in two other blue-based colorways.

Air Jordan 16 Retro Black/Varsity Red

Among the colorways that were originally released in 2001 was the Chicago Bulls-themed colorway. It has a predominantly black upper with varsity red accents.

Air Jordan 16 Retro White/Midnight Navy

Released in 2016, the second most popular colorway of the shoe had the Washington Wizards uniform colors. Specifically, it has a predominantly white upper with midnight navy hits.

Air Jordan 16 Retro CEO

The great Michael Jordan’s role as CEO and first majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets is celebrated through the AJ 16 CEO colorway. This mid-top basketball shoe was released in Fall 2017 in only 2300 pairs. It retailed at a surprising $250 on selected retail shops. The CEO comes with a black suede upper with an iridescent purple patent leather toecap. The shoe sits on a translucent rubber outsole.

Air Jordan 16 Retro Trophy Room

The Trophy Room colorway does not have the same rich blueness as the 12th Michael Jordan shoe. This AJ 16 has a grey and smokey undertone, giving it such a distinct and unique look. Its translucent rubber outsole takes design cues from the outsoles of the Air Jordan 5, Air Jordan 6, and Air Jordan 11.

Facts / Specs

Top: Mid
Signature: Michael Jordan
Lockdown: Lace-Up
Collection: Air Jordan
Features: Retro / Ankle support
Colorways: White / Blue / Black
SKUs: 540794400 / 683075106 / 854255416 / AA1235003

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Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic

Dimitrije Curcic has been playing basketball for over 22 years. Like Manu Ginobili, he’s a left-hander whose moves led him to a better career-shooting percentage than the Argentine himself. After playing professionally for 10 years, Dimitrije moved to coaching for two seasons before he became a basketball statistician for StatScore, and FanSided contributor for the San Antonio Spurs. Dimitrije loves to tell hoop stories through numbers and graphics and has been featured on Fansided, FiveThirtyEight, Eurohoops, and TalkBasket among the others.