Profile of the Air Jordan 5 Retro

Although retaining a few design elements from the Jordan 4s, the Air Jordan 5 earned a name of its own during the 90s. At that time, the Jordan brand to innovated so much with their shoe technologies; and the AJ 5 became among the first well-known Jordan basketball shoes to feature a clear outsole, an asymmetrical ankle collar, molded foam and a reflective material on their shoe. Even today, the shoe still performs as well as it did in Michael Jordan’s days.


Cushion. The Air Jordan 5 Retro uses the Nike Air cushioning, both on the heel and forefoot. The air units are made of rubber pouches filled with dense gas. These units compress when pressure is placed and bounce back in order to give the user a responsive ride. The encapsulated forefoot air unit is a bit thinner than the visible air unit in the heel, making the forefoot lower to the ground and giving the shoe a good court-feel.

Traction. The shoe uses a herringbone pattern on both the forefoot and heel area of the outsole. Both are made out of soft, translucent rubber. The midfoot and the tip of the forefoot, on the other hand, are made out of hard, black rubber and does not feature any traction pattern—rather, just a textured surface.


Length and Width. The Air Jordan 5 Retro runs true to size, both in length and width. If you are planning to purchase this shoe, it is suggested that you follow your standard Nike size.

Lockdown. The Air Jordan 5 is one of the first shoes to sport an asymmetrical collar. This heavily padded collar supports the ankles when the laces are tightened. The sculpted internal heel counter, on the other hand, molds to the shape of the heel; making sure that the foot stays in place. If you have narrow feet, the shoe also has alternate lace loops that you can adjust for a better lockdown.

The Air Jordan 5 Retro also comes with plastic lace locks that, in theory, keeps the laces from loosening. However, it is a given fact that the laces are already sufficient to keep the shoe tight and that the lace locks are only added decorations.


The Air Jordan 5’s material varies depending on the released colorway. For some, the upper is made from split-grain leather coated with a polyurethane layer. Newer colorways, however, use nubuck. The leather upper is deemed more structured and more durable than the nubuck upper.

Found on the side panels and on the tongue of the shoe are clear rubber nettings that function as ventilation shafts. These areas provide breathability to the foot during use. This feature is one of the elements that was borrowed from the previous model. Lastly, the midsole is made of  polyurethane foam rubber. This provides cushioning to the feet and is very durable.


Ever since its release in 1990 and being retroed in 2000, there have been more than 20 different colorways available for the market to choose from. As for the branding, depending on what year the shoe was released, either a Nike Air callout or a Jumpman logo is found on the rear. Two other Jumpman logos can also be seen on the tongue and outsole of the shoe. In some colorways, the number 23 is embroidered on the lateral side of the heel.

As mentioned, the Air Jordan 5 Retro takes its inspiration from the World War 2 Mustang Fighter Jet. The details found on the fighter plane’s nose are also found on the sides of the shoe’s midsole–shark teeth feature accented by black-speckled paint. The shoe, itself, appeals very much to the sneaker community and is now worn more for casual use than for basketball.


In the course of the 1989-1990 NBA season, Michael Jordan was slowly solidifying his status as an athlete and a celebrity. The Chicago Bulls was one game away from heading off to the NBA Finals, but they lost to the Detroit Pistons 93-74. Although the loss was heart-breaking, Jordan actually still had an impressive season; averaging 33.6 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game and 6.3 assists per game.  

The Air Jordan 5 was debuted during the All-Star Game in 1990. The shoe captured a lot of attention because of the fresh details that were incorporated in its aesthetics and physical features. Even before starting the design of the Jordan 5, Tinker Hatfield, Nike’s senior designer, thought how Michael Jordan played like a fighter plane on the court. Saying that, “He [Michael] would be floating around the edges of the game and come out of nowhere to attack.” To this, Hatfield added subtle details that allude to the shark teeth designs pilots paint on the noses of their aircrafts to intimidate the enemy.

The clear rubber outsole was inspired by Michael J. Fox’s shoes in Back to the Future II, which Hatfield also designed. This shoe featured a clear molding where light could shine through. This material was used both on the outsole and on the nettings on the side panels of the shoe. And to add a hint of flair, a reflective material was also placed on the tongue so that the Jumpman would be highlighted whenever there would be a flash of light. All these details, along with the asymmetrical collar and the molded midsole, were all a first in the shoe industry. And the this shoe that featured all these firsts is the shoe we know now as the Air Jordan 5.

Special Colorways of the Air Jordan 5 Retro

Just four colorways of the original Air Jordan 5 was made available in 1990. Two of these hues ('Metallic' and ‘Fire Red’) featured Michael’s number “23” on the side and were limited to 100 pairs each.

Original colorways:

  • Original Black/Black–Metallic Silver 'Metallic'
  • Original White/Red–Black 23
  • Original Grapes White/Grape Ice–New Emerald 'Grape'
  • Original White/Black–Fire Red 'Fire Red'

Retro releases:

  • Retro+ White/Metallic Silver-Black ‘White Metallic’
  • Retro+ White/Varsity Royal–Varsity Maize ‘Laney’
  • Retro Black/Black–Metallic Silver
  • Retro Black/Cool Grey-White ‘Oreo’
  • Retro Black/Metallic Silver-Fire Red ‘Metallic’
  • Retro Black/Metallic Silver–Red 23
  • Retro Black/New Emerald-Grape Ice-Black ‘Black Grape’
  • Retro Black/University Blue–White
  • Retro Black/University Red ‘Bred’
  • Retro Black/Varsity Maize-Varsity Royal-Black ‘Shanghai’
  • Retro Black/Varsity Red DMP ‘Raging Bull’
  • Retro Black/Varsity Red-Metallic Silver ‘Metallic’
  • Retro Cement Grey/Gamma Blue-Black ‘Elephant Print’
  • Retro Dark Stucco/Fire Red ‘Camo’
  • Retro Deep Burgundy/Flint Grey–White
  • Retro Game Royal/Black-Game Royal ‘Blue Suede’ aka ‘Flight Suit East’
  • Retro Green Beans Silver-Green Bean-Flint Grey
  • Retro Light Graphite/White-Wolf Grey ‘Wolf Grey’
  • Retro LS Army Olive/Solar Orange-Black ‘Olive’
  • Retro LS Black/University Blue-White
  • Retro LS Deep Burgundy/Flint Grey-Silver ‘Burgundy’
  • Retro LS White/Grape Ice-New Emerald ‘Grape’
  • Retro Midnight Navy/Turquoise Blue-White ‘Pre-Grape’ aka ‘Hornets’
  • Retro Motorsports White/University Blue Unreleased
  • Retro Obsidian/White-Metallic Red Bronze-Bright Grape​ ‘Bronze’
  • Retro Orange/White
  • Retro Premio Black/Black-Metallic Silver ‘Bin 23’
  • Retro Q54 White/Radiant Green-Black-Metallic Silver ‘Quai 54’
  • Retro RA White/Army Olive-Solar Orange-Bison ‘Laser’
  • Retro Sail/Orange Peel-Black-Hyper Royal ‘International Flight’
  • Retro Sequoia/Fire Red-Medium Olive-Black ‘Fear’
  • Retro Silver/Green Bean-Flint Grey
  • Retro T23 Varsity Maize/Anthracite-Wolf Grey-Black ‘Tokyo23’
  • Retro Team Orange/Game Royal-MTS ‘Melo’ PE
  • Retro Undefeated Olive/Oiled Suede-Flight Satin
  • Retro University Red/Black-University Red ‘Red Suede’ aka ‘Flight Suit’
  • Retro Varsity Red/Black-White DMP ‘Raging Bull’
  • Retro White/Black–Fire Red
  • Retro White/Black-Metallic Gold Coin ‘Gold Medal’​
  • Retro White/Black-Univeristy Red ‘White Cement’
  • Retro White/Dark Cinder-Dark Army-Del Sol ‘Cinder’
  • Retro White/Fire Red-Black CDP
  • Retro White/Fire Red-Black ‘Fire Red’
  • Retro White/Fire Red-Tech Grey-Black ‘Cement’
  • Retro White/Metallic Silver–Black ‘White Metallic’
  • Retro White/New Emerald-Grape Ice-Black ‘Grape’
  • Retro White/Sport Royal/Stealth
  • Retro White/Varsity Red-Midnight Navy ‘Independene Day’
  • Retro White/Varsity Ref-White ‘History of Flight’
  • Retro Womens Silver/Shy Pink–Stealth
  • Retro Womens White/Fire Red-Sunset-Dark Cinder ‘Sunset’

Air Jordan 5 Premium ‘Bordouex’

These luxurious basketball shoes feature a rich leather upper dipped in wine. Tan accents and a quilted lining complete the high-end look.

Air Jordan 5 Premium Pinnacle ‘Flight Jacket’

Made of premium leather, these all-black basketball shoes feature a pleated tongue, pleated panels, and a smokey translucent outsole.

Air Jordan 5 Premium ‘Pure Platinum’

These white basketball shoes exude a more lifestyle feel with its pristine aesthetic. Constructed with premium leather, the Air Jordan 5 Premium ‘Pure Platinum’ features gold laces, a milky translucent outsole, and knitted side panels.

Air Jordan 5 Premium ‘Take Flight’

Featuring a militarized aesthetic, these retro Air Jordan basketball shoes take cues from the P-51 flight bomber jacket. The AJ V Premium ‘Take Flight’ is dressed in sequoia green with vachetta tan accents.

Air Jordan 5 Retro ‘Bel-Air’

The Air Jordan 5 Retro ‘Bel-Air’ pays tribute to the 90’s TV show Fresh Prince of Bel-Air starring Will Smith. Featuring vibrant colors associated with the sitcom, these Michael Jordan sneakers come in a cool grey upper with striking colors incorporated throughout.

Air Jordan 5 Retro Doernbecher

The Air Jordan 5 Retro Doernbecher pays tribute to the life of its late designer Isaac Arzate who tragically suffered a second cardiac arrest during a baseball game. “Finishing his shoe is a huge honor in his name to reflect all the things he loved about life,” Isaac’s mother Lindsay said. “What better way to say we love him.”

Using Isaac’s original sketches as a guide, the AJ 5 Retro Doernbecher incorporates events in his life. It features his date of birth, jersey number, as well as words from a poem he wrote a day before he passed away. “I believe we have captured Isaac’s essence in this shoe,” Lindsay said. “I hope it’ll touch those who wear it just as Isaac touched the lives of all those around him.”

Air Jordan 5 Retro ‘Fab Five’

This exclusive colorway of the pays tribute to the most dynamic lineup of the University of Michigan Men’s Basketball Team. According to Tinker Hatfield, “If you were watching College Basketball in the early ‘90s, the Fab Five stuck with you. They brought a new style of play. They had swagger to their game that I hadn’t seen at the college level before. They became one of the most iconic teams in college sports. I wanted to create a special shoe that celebrated that team and marks the start of a new era for the teams at the Jordan Brand and the University of Michigan.”

The Air Jordan 5 ‘Fab Five’ features a maize upper contrasted by black. Odes to the Fab Five include an embroidered “M” on the tongue along with the phrases “Hail To” and “The Victors” stitched on the inside. A unique heel graphic created by Tinker completes the theme.

Air Jordan 5 Retro NRG ‘Fresh Prince’

The Air Jordan 5 ‘Fresh Prince’ takes inspiration from the ‘Grape’ colorway Will Smith wore in the TV show Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The ‘Fresh Prince’ is similar to the ‘Grape’ colorway save for some changes. These Michael Jordan sneakers do not come with any laces since the lace holes are actually sealed.

Air Jordan 5 Retro ‘Oregon Duckman’ PE

This PE colorway is dressed in a black-based upper with yellow detailing. What’s unique about these pair of Air Jordans is the Duckman logo on the heel instead of the traditional Jumpman.

Air Jordan 5 Retro ‘Pro Stars’

This Air Jordan 5 takes inspiration from the 90’s cartoon featuring Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, and Wayne Gretzky. This sneaker is dipped in white with 3M accents on the tongue. An icy blue outsole completes the silhouette.

Air Jordan 5 ‘Paris’

A nod to the Paris Saint-Germain Soccer Club, these Air Jordan basketball shoes are dressed in black and are highlighted with the word “Paris” on the side panel. The number “75” is stitched on the side of heel to represent the city's zip code.

Air Jordan 5 Satin ‘Bred’

This Air Jodan 5 features a black satin upper with red accents. The words “Greatness” and “Recognize” are printed on the inner tongue.

Air Jordan 5 ‘Transformers’

Jordan Brand gifted Mark Wahlberg with a one-of-one Air Jordan 5 to celebrate the release of the movie “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Dubbed ‘Transformers,’ this Air Jordan 5 is dressed in black patent leather with Optimus-Prime-inspired accents. Completing the theme is the Transformers logo that is visible through the translucent outsole.

Air Jordan 5 ‘Wings’

Designed by students at Little Black Pearl (a non-profit cultural arts center), these Air Jordan basketball shoes feature artwork throughout its upper. Lace locks and side panels shaped in the form of wings complete the silhouette.

Supreme X Air Jordan 5

Skateboarding shop and clothing line Supreme and Jordan Brand finally teamed up to create three unique silhouettes. The Supreme X Air Jordan 5 comes in either black, white, or desert camo. All three colorways have “94” stitched on the lateral side of the heel.

Facts / Specs

Weight: 468g
Top: High
Signature: Michael Jordan
Lockdown: Lace-Up
Collection: Air Jordan
Features: Retro / Ankle support
Colorways: White / Black / Blue / Purple / Green / Red / Grey / Yellow

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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.