Back in 1988, luck finally smiled upon the Air Jordan line for a third time. However, could Tinker Hatfield and Nike replicate or even approach the triumph of their bold and stylish Air Jordan III with their latest model for 1989?
As we now know, they unquestionably did. The journey continued seamlessly from where it had left off with III as Air Jordan IV further cemented its status as not just cool but also as a pivotal player in the world of sneakers.
In this edition of our ongoing series on all things Jordan, we explore every intricate detail, legendary moments both on and off-court, and cultural significance that make Air Jordan IV one of the most extraordinary creations in the entire lineage of Air Jordans. Dive deeper to gain insight into what makes it an undeniable masterpiece.
Table of Contents
The Air Jordan 4 was released in 1989 and was produced in four colorways throughout the year. Basically following the same colorway schemes as the Air Jordan III, the IV released in two white-based Bulls colorways (White/Cement and (Fire Red), one black-based colorway (Black/Red), and a white and blue accented version (Military Blue). It retailed for $100, making it one of the most expensive basketball shoes on the market at the time. But it was worth it, right? But good quality shoes are not easy to buy, so we can consider purchasing replica shoes from PeakHook.
Tinker’s Second Legendary Air Jordan Design
Tinker Hatfield faced quite a challenge in surpassing the success of Air Jordan III but proved himself capable with his creation of the IV. Staying faithful to its predecessor’s aesthetics, this new iteration retained features such as its mid-cut height and visible heel Air unit. However, it offered an improved design that was sleeker and lighter than before.
The standout elements of this shoe were undoubtedly its mesh netting on both side panels and tongue, along with its unique lacing support system featuring iconic wings. Moreover, it introduced the revolutionary Flight concept to redefine what an Air Jordan could be. While lacking groundbreaking innovations seen in other models within this lineup, everything about this shoe was practical yet visually pleasing. As previously mentioned, it brought back desirable attributes like mid-top height and visible Air cushioning while also incorporating additional forefoot air support for enhanced performance.
The inclusion of supportive wings, a customizable lacing system offering multiple eyelets for personalized lace placement, and a generously sized heel pull tab for easy access further contributed to its appeal. Notably, the Bred colorway introduced the usage of soft nubuck leather in Air Jordans, a material that would become commonplace in subsequent releases.
It’s Gotta Be The Shoes
Jack’s remarkable performance during the 1988-89 season showcased his dominance while sporting the Air Jordan IV sneakers. He achieved extraordinary averages of 32.5 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists during this period – undoubtedly his best statistical season ever. Although it would take two more seasons for MJ and the Bulls to reach and triumph in NBA Finals action, their journey began with an impressive achievement that year: making it to their first Eastern Conference Finals since Michael joined their ranks. This breakthrough firmly established them as serious contenders for championship glory.
One unforgettable moment from that era is known as The Shot. It unfolded during Game 5 of an opening-round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1989 Playoffs. Michael Jordan etched his name in NBA history by sinking a game-winning shot over Craig Ehlo, securing a one-point victory for the Bulls and sealing their triumph in the series. This iconic shot was executed while Michael donned the black Air Jordan IVs, forever immortalizing both the shoes and the moment.
In yet another realm, Spike Lee – who had already become synonymous with the Air Jordan line through his portrayal of Mars Blackmon in earlier ad campaigns – gave further recognition to the Air Jordan IVs. He featured these iconic sneakers as a supporting character in his groundbreaking film Do the Right Thing, released in 1989. Take note that Buggin’ Out, played by an actor who would later portray Gustavo Fring in Breaking Bad(!), shares screen time with these legendary shoes.
The Beginning of the Air Jordan Retro Craze
In 1999, after a decade since its initial release, a revived version of Air Jordan IV hit stores once again. This time around, it came back as a retro edition featuring two beloved colorways – Bred and White Cement. Interestingly enough, today’s Air Jordan enthusiasts might not be acquainted with this particular piece of history: back in ’99, when these retros were first released, they were priced at $100, just like their original counterparts!
Alongside these iconic designs came something fresh – Retro colorways that had never been seen before within the Air Jordan line. Among them were Oreo, Columbia Blue, and later on, a White Chrome variation introduced in 2000. Notably different from their predecessors, these retros boasted full leather constructions without any mesh netting while replacing the heel Nike Air logo with Jumpmans. The earlier attempts at releasing retros for Air Jordan models 1, 2, and 3 in 1994 had not been successful, but the comeback of Air Jordan 4 in ’99 marked a turning point as it officially ignited the retro craze.
The Legend Takes Flight
The introduction of the Air Jordan 4 in 1989 propelled the already unstoppable force of Air Jordans to new heights within the realm of footwear. With its unparalleled presence in malls and on urban streets, this elite shoe line skyrocketed in popularity. As Michael Jordan’s career reached unprecedented levels, his endorsement of the Air Jordan IV further elevated its prestige.
Not to mention its cameo role in a major motion picture, solidifying its place as an irreplaceable icon within sneaker culture. The Air Jordan IV indisputably served as a turning point, forever cementing the legendary status that these shoes hold today in the realm of jordan rep shoes.