May 7, 1989; Cleveland, Ohio: A floating jumper at the foul line beats a buzzer, crushes one city, lifts another and cements two legends. The first of those is the shooter — MJ himself — who finished the series clinching game five with 44 points. The other is his shoe, the black and red Air Jordan IV.
Jordan signature shoes are cool for many reasons. The Air Jordan IV, when it arrived, was the coolest ever — in pure technical terms. Designed by Tinker Hatfield, it was a stripped down, streamlined, race-car-like game shoe complete with a lightweight nubuck upper and ventilated via mesh-filled cutouts.
On court, that shot in Cleveland conflated the shoe with a cold, clinical finishing. Off court, one of the greatest sneaker marketing campaigns in history combined with major film cameos made it an instant style staple.
The Black/Red Jordan IV releases again next month in full glory (with the OG hangtag and all). The shoe also is retroed with a number of firsts, including:
The original box (it’s back for the first time since 1989)
"Nike Air" heel branding (back for the first time since 1999)
Full unisex and family sizing
A true-to-original retro is alluring, of course, because it's cool. Appeal for one is also generated from the impact it has had on athletes and fans. Four Jordan Brand family members share what the Air Jordan IV means to them:
"These are the reason why we wear Jordans!"
"The Bred IVs are Jordan grails and that makes them iconic. There are sneakers and then there are Air Jordans. Big difference! There is good and then there is great. Big difference! The Breds, like all Air Jordans, represent greatness!"
"The design of the shoe is classic — very clean looking. I view the IVs as an 'every era' type of shoe. People still want them now because they are that classic. I can’t wait to wear one of the best Air Jordan models ever in the near future."
"For me, the Bred IVs are iconic because they're what Michael wore when he hit the game winner against the Cavs. When I was a kid I used to watch old highlights of Michael and I always used to pull that shot up and try to emulate it on the court because I had those Breds on. Of course, everyone wanted to be like Mike."