Verdict from 5 experts and 100+ user reviews

9 reasons to buy

  • The Air Jordan 3 Retro is an excellent product, nearly all owners declare. They are extremely happy with their purchase, and they recommend grabbing a pair.
  • Majority of wearers are surprised at how comfortable these retro basketball shoes feel.
  • Nearly all reviewers appreciate the Air Jordan Retro 3’s unique and stylish design. They are saying that it has a clean look that goes well with anything.
  • A significant number of buyers are hugely satisfied with the quality of these retro Air Jordan basketball shoes.
  • According to many reviewers, the leather quality may be one of the best in years. It is really supple and feels soft to the touch.
  • The Air Jordan 3 Retro offers great value for money, several buyers remark.
  • These retro basketball shoes fit like a glove according to most users. It is simply one of the best fitting Air Jordans.
  • The shoe’s mid-top collar does a good job supporting the ankles, a few players observe.
  • Most testers attest that these basketball shoes offer excellent heel-to-midfoot lockdown.

5 reasons not to buy

  • Nearly all testers are disappointed with Air Jordan 3 Retro’s stiff midsole. They are saying that these basketball shoes lack impact protection and are a bit painful to play in.
  • A few owners are upset with the shoe’s poor craftsmanship. The midsole has a lousy paint job, there are glue stains, and the stitching is just off.
  • These retro Air Jordan basketball shoes are pretty heavy, more than a handful of players comment. They claim that they feel like bricks on their feet.
  • A small number of Air Jordan Retro 3 owners are griping that these basketball shoes feel tight around the toe box.
  • Most testers claim that these retro Air Jordan basketball shoes make their feet feel really hot.

Bottom line

The Air Jordan 3 Retro has a lot of good things going for it. It is stylish, comfortable to walk in, and made of quality leather. Performance-wise however, these basketball shoes leave a lot to be desired. Its stiff midsole grossly lacks cushioning; making your knees and legs hurt after a competitive game.

Overall, the AJ Retro 3 is a great pick-up for collectors and casual wearers. Serious ballers can pass since lower-priced shoes (e.g. Why Not Zer0 and Adidas Dame) can outperform this model.

Tip: see the best basketball shoes.

Good to know

Michael Jordan was on the brink of ending his Nike contract until Tinker Hatfield came along to turn things around.

“I knew Michael Jordan wasn’t very happy with the Air Jordan 2. Afterall, he broke his foot in it. But that first meeting with him was really insightful. I realized a lot about Michael – and that he had a really good sense of style.” Hatfield explains.

One of the most recognizable and iconic silhouettes of all time, the Air Jordan III is among the most beloved by sneakerheads and is also said to be Michael’s personal favorite. These basketball shoes were also the most innovative during its release in 1988.

It features a radical mid-top construction, elephant skin print on the heel and forefoot, a visible Max Air unit at the heel, and the first-ever signature Jumpman logo on the tongue.

Michael also had his breakout season while wearing his Air Jordan 3. He bagged his second Slam Dunk Contest win by taking flight from the free throw line and throwing down one of the most famous dunks of all time. He also became the first-ever player in NBA history to win the scoring title, Defensive Player of the Year award, and league MVP award.

With its distinguished look and on-court history, the Air Jordan III Retro remains to be one of the most celebrated basketball shoes and is an absolute must-have for both fans and collectors.

Cushion. The Air Jordan 3 Retro utilizes a sculpted polyurethane midsole with a Max Air unit at the heel and an encapsulated Air-sole unit at the forefoot. This lightweight cushioning setup offers a responsive ride and provides active impact absorption.

These retro Air Jordan basketball shoes also feature a removable Durapontex sockliner. These anatomically correct insoles enhance underfoot comfort and decrease heat build up.

Traction. Offering superior grip on any surface is a solid rubber outsole with a modified circular traction pattern.

Length and Width. Wearers are reporting that the Air Jordan III Retro fits perfectly. Normal, narrow, and wide-footers are suggested to order their actual size. However, it is still advisable to try the shoes in-store.

Lockdown. The Air Jordan Retro 3 features a changeable lacing system that offers a fully customizable fit. An injected TPR heel counter keeps the foot locked-in and provides optimal support.

The Air Jordan 3 Retro boasts of a high-performance leather upper for extended durability. It is made from a combination of full-grain, synthetic, and nubuck leather.

The Air Jordan Retro III is widely considered as one of the best looking Air Jordans ever because of its innovative mid-top silhouette and famous elephant print design. It is also the first-ever Air Jordan to feature a visible Max Air unit and the signature Jumpman logo. Completing the shoe’s OG appearance is the “Nike Air” branding found on the heel.

Four colorways were made available during the Air Jordan 3’s original release in 1988. They are the now-classic White/Cement Grey, Black/Cement Grey, Fire Red and True Blue.

Beginning in 1994, Nike and Jordan Brand would release several OG and new colorways of the iconic Air Jordan III.  

Sought-after colors include the Black Cat, Silver Anniversary, Doernbecher, BHM, Stealth, Retro ‘88, Infrared 23, Wolf Grey, and a women’s exclusive White/Harbor Blue-Border Blue.


How Air Jordan 3 Retro ranks compared to all other shoes
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Top 35% Jordan basketball shoes
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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.