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Jordan Brand has held the top spot in the sneaker world for quite some time with the best and brightest collaborators and designers working on the historic Air Jordan line. 2022 saw the return of classic colorways, remixes on iconic models, and collaborators who brought their design language to life on various silhouettes in the Jordan lineup. Today, we're going through our pick for the top 10 Air Jordan releases in 2022 as decided by the team here at Sole Retriever with writers Adam Cheung, Steve Jaconetta, and Nicholas Vlahos breaking down each pair on the list down below.
After 7 years, Jordan Brand gave everyone what they wanted with what many consider the sneaker of the year - the Air Jordan 1 “Lost & Found.” Designers at Jordan Brand were looking to recreate the nostalgic feeling that hardcore sneakerheads in the previous generation felt when digging through the backrooms of old mom-and-pop shops by aging the “Chicago” colorway and including details that mimic the analog system of organizing a stockroom that would lead to a coveted pair being lost for decades. Cracked leather details, an aged midsole, mismatched box lids, and the included receipt fall in line both with the fashion trend of vintage apparel and footwear as well as JB’s mission to tell a story through a pair of sneakers. The colorway also saw the shape of Jordan 1 get slightly altered from the standard pair we’ve seen over the last half-decade with it closely mimicking that of the 1994 series of retros that hit the scene. Going forward, we should expect to see all AJ 1 High OGs follow this mold - an excellent choice to start a new era of Jordan 1s with the classic “Chicago” colorway.
James Whitner really does have the Midas touch, because everything he comes in contact with seems to turn to rock-solid gold. The A Ma Maniere x Air Jordan 4 Retro “Violet Ore” is certainly no different. Following the release of its Air Jordan 1, Air Jordan 2, and Air Jordan 3, the Atlanta-based boutique has now put everything behind its rendition of the Air Jordan 4, and the results are truly breathtaking. Rolled out in a deep purple leather, this has got to be one of the most premium Jordans of 2022. Button detailing adorns the heel complete with the storefront’s signature “A” logo, and the inside of the shoe is lined with a plush quilt fabric that’s extremely soft. As if that wasn’t enough, AMM also decided to throw some inspirational messages into the mix, with the right heel counter reading “It’s not about the shoes” and the left one continuing with “It’s about where you’re going.”
2022 began with Travis Scott still in the midst of his self-imposed hiatus and sneakerheads were clamoring for his next release as he teased his Air Max and Air Trainer collabs during the end of 2021. While these pairs eventually did release with much excitement, his Nike collaborations don't bring the same energy that his work with Jordan Brand does. Step in the Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 Low “Reverse Mocha,” a take on the classic AJ 1 Low that flips the script on his first iteration of the sneaker. Its high-quality mocha-shaded nubuck mixed with stark white leather and sail accents make this earth-tone-based colorway pop amongst the rest of the work La Flame put in with Jordan Brand. A fitting return for one of the most influential people in the sneaker world.
2022 was set to be the year of the Air Jordan 2, but it looks like that will be the case in 2023 with numerous GRs set to drop. We did see AJ 2 collabs from Union, A Ma Maniere, Maison Chateau Rogue, and Nina Chanel Abney this year, but GR colorways remained absent. That is, except for the best Air Jordan 2 colorway of all-time, the "OG" white, black, and red. This pair comes back for the first time since 2010 (not counting the Alumni iteration from the Converse Pack in 2017). Coming as close to the 1987 original as it comes, this pair features the traditional white-based leather upper we all know and love, complete with black and red accents, Nike Air branding, and the Wings logo prominent on the tongue. Releasing on December 30th, 2022 after a few delays, this pair is a perfect way to say goodbye to 2022.
Signing with Jordan Brand prior to stepping onto the NBA court, Zion Williamson quickly joined the coveted ranks of athletes with a signature sneaker from the house that MJ built, however, the Pelicans star has also received plenty of PE colorways on retro Air Jordan sneakers during his short time on the roster. When it comes to his work on these retro sneakers, a few did receive retail releases with his Air Jordan 1 Low “Voodoo” being the most popular as it brings serious Travis Scott vibes through its earth tone color palette, patchwork construction, and unique details like the flipped Jordan Wings logo on the heel. One of the coolest details on the silhouette would have to be the voodoo graphic that is embroidered into the lateral side of the heel overlay which features an added button stitched atop the eyeball of the skull artwork. Truly a unique take on the AJ 1 that many will look back on when remembering the year 2022.
The Air Jordan 3 Retro "Fire Red" is easily one of the best releases of 2022. However, its hype died down significantly upon its release this past summer. This caused the sneaker to garner low resale value, mainly due to the amount of pairs that were still available well after release day. Not to mention, restocks. Still, this is a pair you shouldn't sleep on. Those that pass now will regret it as I am confident these will be coveted in the years to come. I mean, how can an OG AJ 3 colorway with "Nike Air" on it for the first time since 1988 be so underrated? Times are a changin'.
Since 2009, Jordan Brand has released an Air Jordan 11 Retro for the holiday season. For 2022, they decided to take the coveted "Cherry" colorway, originally released in low-top form, and drop it in high-cut fashion for the first time ever. This pair features a red sockliner, mimicking how the "Concord's" have a black liner, while the low top Cherry's sported a white liner. Still, you can't go wrong with a white and red Air Jordan 11, no matter what you say. People have mixed feelings on this pair, but it still sold out, as all AJ 11s usually do. For me, it might not be the best colorway, but it certainly isn't the worst. Cough, "Platinum Tint," cough.
To no one's surprise, a white/black rendition of one of the more trendy Air Jordan silhouettes (the Air Jordan 4) became one of the most sought-after sneakers in the early parts of 2022. Getting its inspiration from the iconic “Military Blue” colorway, Jordan Brand swapped out the blue accents for stealthy black hits and created the go-to sneaker for your favorite Instagram and TikTok influencers. Even after a few restocks from various retailers and a second chance thanks to a Jordan Reserve a few months after release, the model was still popping up at every sneaker store and convention while carrying a premium price tag on the secondary market. Although other entries on this list bring unique details or carry historical significance, sometimes simplicity is king.
After much anticipation, the Air Jordan 1 High “Taxi” finally arrived this year as part of Jordan Brand’s Fall line-up, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Painted in the classic Black Toe-style colorblocking, it pays tribute to the cabs that you’ll find driving throughout New York City. Crafted from panels of delectable leather, while the yellow, black, and white combination might seem quite eye-catching at first, the colors just work so well together. We have no doubt that will be a future classic, sitting up there amongst some of the greatest Jordan 1s of all time.
And last but not least, we have the Air Jordan 4 “Black Canvas.” Regarded by many sneakerheads to be one of their favorite AJ 4s ever made, while this might sound like a pretty bold statement to make, we’re honestly not that surprised. Dropping the usual all-leather construction in favor of something a little more versatile, this colorway has been engineered for everyday wear. It’s interesting to note that the “Black Canvas” bears a striking resemblance to the holy grail that is the Eminem x Carhartt x Air Jordan 4. A three-way collab that was released exclusively via an auction back in 2015 and now goes for over $40,000 on the resale market (with some sizes even valued at around $190,000), if you’ve always wanted a pair in your collection, this is the ultimate alternative.