Air Jordan 9 History and Background.
Flashback to the year 1993. Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls finished the first of two three-peat runs that defined the 90s NBA, while wearing the Air Jordan 6, Air Jordan 7, and Air Jordan 8 in each respective championship. This run cemented the three aforementioned silhouettes into the history books and now sneakerheads look at retros of these sneakers with fond memories of watching MJ dominate the playoffs. Tragically, prior to the start of the 1993-1994 NBA season, Michael Jordan’s father James was murdered in a carjacking and impacted the superstar to such extreme levels that he decided it was time to retire from the NBA on October 6th, 1993 (although he later shared that he had been contemplating retirement prior to his fathers passing). Leaving the NBA, Jordan decided it was time to pursue a second professional sports career - baseball.
Prior to the announcement of his retirement, legendary Nike and Jordan Brand designer Tinker Hatfield had already developed the Air Jordan 9. While prior Air Jordan sneakers stuffed each model with tech-heavy construction, the IX showcased a more minimal approach to the Jordan lineup with its simple upper consisting of a mudguard that wrapped up to the collar and perforated panel on the top portion of the upper. For internals, the dynamic-Fit inner bootie created a tight fit for the wearer while the “one-pull” lacing system allowed for an easily adjustable fit. Underfoot you’ll find a polyurethane midsole that encapsulated a full-length Air unit with the outsole hosting various phrases like “Dedicated,” “Sport,” and “Intense” in a variety of languages. This inclusion of international tongue was a reflection on how popular Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand had become as at this point MJ was one of the most famous individuals on planet earth, also reflected on the heel tab’s Jumpman that sits atop a globe.
While many look back at the Air Jordan 9 with less fond memories than the rest of the Air Jordan lineup, the sneaker has been graced with countless classic colorways over its history on top of iconic PEs worn by NBA legends. Since the initial launch of the four OG colorways, “White Black,” “Powder Blue,” “Olive,” and “Charcoal,” new colorways have hit the scene a handful of times per year while retros of the four aforementioned makeups grace the sneaker world every few years.
If you’ve been eyeing a pair of Air Jordan 9s for yourself, you’re in luck as the Sole Retriever Air Jordan 9 Buyers Guide should answer all the questions you have about the Air Jordan 9.
What are the best Air Jordan 9 colorways?
As previously stated, the Air Jordan 9 launched in four makeups, “White Black,” “Powder Blue,” “Olive,” and “Charcoal,” however, due to MJs retirement at the time of the original release, Nike pushed a marketing campaign that highlighted Jordan as fictional players and they all inspired later colorways of the silhouette. This includes Johnny Kilroy, Fontay Montana, Bentley Ellis, Calvin Bailey, Slim Jenkins, and Motorboat Jones, all of which saw a release as a part of the “Kilroy Pack” back in 2012. Many of these colorways seemingly took from various NBA teams in the league like Montana’s Knicks-like orange and blue as well as Bentley Ellis’ Cavs-like red and yellow. One of the best-executed packs produced by Jordan Brand, serious collectors have looked to complete the set of 6 sneakers for over a decade now.
We cant talk about the Jordan 9 without its tie-in to baseball, and the “Barons” colorway directly nods to MJ's time with the Birmingham Barons. Taking on a color scheme of black, grey, and white just like the team’s uniform, pinstripe details on the sockliner truly tie this sneaker to the uniform Jordan rocked during his minor league days. Other colorways that referenced America’s pastime include the “Baseball Glove” Pack that comprised a part of the Pinnacle series. Constructed with premium, high-quality materials, the upper of the AJ 9 was transformed to mimic the woven leather found in the basket of a baseball glove and came in a “Black” and “Brown” rendition.
Who doesn’t like a crossover? Well, Jordan Brand is famous for giving other silhouettes in the Air Jordan lineup similar colorways as other famous sneakers and the Air Jordan 9 received plenty of these remixes. Taking inspiration from the famous Air Jordan 11, the AJ 9 “Cool Grey” translates well onto the silhouette with the upper taken over by shades of grey and a nubuck/patent leather makeover. The infamous “Citrus” colorway originally found on the AJ 7 also found a home on the Air Jordan 9 as its all-black upper came accented by golden hits on branding details and the sockliner. Going back to the original retro run of the model in 2002, Jordan Brand brought the “Flint” AJ 13 to the model with grey and white hits on the upper accented by French Blue shades on the eyestays, branding details, and midsole.
Moving to rarer renditions of the model, the Air Jordan 9 Premio Bin 23 is arguably the rarest publicly released colorways as it was limited to 1,331 pairs when it dropped on June 5th, 2010. Premium materials and a regal-like gold/white makeup help the pair stand out amongst the entire Air Jordan 9 lineup as does the Bin23 red stamp found on the collar. When it comes to PEs, however, the world was given a shot at rocking the same colorway Kobe Bryant laced up during his sneaker free agency during the 2002-2003 NBA season back when the Air Jordan 9 Retro “Kobe” hit shelves in 2016. Los Angeles Lakers gold and purple accented the primarily white sneaker, though it, unfortunately, didn’t feature the “8” branding on the heel like the PE given to Bryant.
Did Michael Jordan Wear The Air Jordan 9?
A fun fact known by many, Michael Jordan did wear the Air Jordan 9 on the baseball field and on the NBA court in 2002, however, it remains the only Air Jordan sneaker that His Airness never laced up during its initial release. Even still, plenty of NBA players were rocking the silhouette during the 1993-1994 NBA season like Penny Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Harold Miner, and Latrell Sprewell who all received PE versions to reflect their team colors and jersey numbers.
What material is the Air Jordan 9 made of?
For the OG releases, the Air Jordan 9 was constructed out of leather for the majority of the upper with the mudguard, heel, and collar coming dressed in nubuck. Fast forward to the first retros in 2002 and beyond, the silhouette has come in a variety of materials including suede and patent leather. Some versions, like the Air Jordan 9 Boot feature a water-repellent finish similar to that of GORE-TEX while also taking on a more durable, winterized nubuck.
How does the Air Jordan 9 fit?
Typically, the Air Jordan 9 will fit true to size. Select colorways and certain releases may differ from others, so it's best to try on a pair in person to ensure you’re getting the correct size for the model. Those with wider feet may want to go up half a size
How much do Air Jordan 9 cost?
When it originally hit the shelves in 1993, the Air Jordan 9 cost $125 (approx $246 USD in 2023 dollars) and has since gone up to $200 for the silhouette. Select releases have retailed for much higher prices like the “Pinnacle” Pack mentioned previously that came in at $250, however, those are few and far between.
Where do I buy the Air Jordan 9?
The Air Jordan 9 for the most part comes out in GR colorways, meaning most if not all retailers with a Jordan Brand account will receive pairs like Finish Line, Champs Sports, and even local mom-and-pop shops. Buying directly from Nike you can head to the Nike SNKRS app to secure a pair, though many Jordan 9s do not sell out and are often available through nike.com after the release date.
What’s the hot take?
Many may look at the Air Jordan 9 in a similar fashion to the Air Jordan 2, a silhouette that didn’t have as strong a connection to Michael Jordan’s dominance on the NBA floor, however, its history runs deep and often releases in clean, wearable colorways. While no longer fit for performance basketball as its over 30 years old at this point, the Air Jordan 9 is a silhouette that could make a great addition to your collection. If you’re looking to secure an Air Jordan 9 in the near future, keep it locked to our Twitter and the Sole Retriever mobile app to stay updated on the latest releases, raffles, news, and more regarding the AJ 9 and more in the sneaker world as a whole.