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Introducing the Air Jordan 3

In 1987, Jordan's contract with Nike was about to expire, and Nike knew they needed to do something big to retain him. Tinker Hatfield designed the Air Jordan 3 in order to save the day. This silhouette set a new standard for Nike and Michael Jordan's trainers and is one of the most popular Air Jordan models of all time.

The Early Beginning

Hatfield got the project when it had been on schedule for months and worked day and night to get Jordan a prototype. Fortunately, he loved it.

Popular AJ3 Colorways

air jordan 3-firered

Fire Red

The 'Fire Red' colorway recently made a comeback. It was first released in 1988. The red colour is distinctive to the shoe and is seen across the silhouette, as is the iconic 'Elephant' print.

Air Jordan 3 Retro 'Black Cement' (2018) | 854262-001

Black Cement

The 'Black Cement' was one of the first designs to have a Nike Air logo on the heel instead of the classic Jordan Jumpman. What is striking about this colorway is the black leather base, which comes in white with most versions of the model.

air jordan 3 white cement

White Cement

The Air Jordan 3 Retro 'White Cement' is part of Jordan Brand's 'Reimagined' series. The sneaker looks exactly like the OG that came out in 1988, only this one has a vintage look. This is especially visible on the eyelets, panels on the back, and midsoles, which have all been yellowed.

Cool grey air jordan 3

Cool Grey

Next we have the 'Cool Grey', where a grey soft colour is placed on most of the upper. A darker shade of grey is seen on details, such as the outsole and heel. The design is finished off with yellow eyelets.

Air jordan 3 dark iris

Dark Iris

This colorway was released in 2022, with the original Fire Red replaced by a beautiful purple. The signature elephant print can be seen around the toebox and heel. The Nike Air logo on the back of the colorway has been replaced by a Jumpman with the text Air underneath.

aj3-fragment air jordan 3


Fragment Design is a brand by Japanese designer Hiroshi Fujiwara, who teamed up with Jordan Brand to release this colorway. On the heel, the Fragment Design logo is placed large in a black colour, which perfectly complements the rest of the design.

air jordan 3 true blue white red

True Blue

A very popular colorway is the 'True Blue', first released in 1988. White tumbled leather on the upper perfectly matches the original 'Cement Grey' 'Elephant' print, 'True Blue' accents and 'Team Red' tongue lining.

Air jordan 3 mocha


The first release of the 'Mocha' was in 2001 and it has been re-released in 2018. Instead of a grey 'Elephant' print, it comes in a 'Mocha' colour, as does the outsole and branding. Combined with the white, this is a very fresh colorway.

air jordan 3 unc


First released in 2018, the 'UNC' came back in 2020. The colorway combines white with light blue, which makes for nice fresh looks. Furthermore, the base once again comes in white.

aj3-desert-elephant air jordan 3

Desert Elephant

The Air Jordan 3 'Desert Elephant' has given a unique twist to the iconic 'Black Cement' colorway. The upper is mainly covered in black leather. The brown mudguards at the nose and heel look like the skin of an aged elephant.

air jordan 3 pine green

Pine Green

Finally, we have the 'Pine Green'. The design features the colours black and green and was dropped in 2021. It also features grey on the tongue, outsole and eyelets.

Did you know?

As Michael Jordan told Hatfield what he wanted in a sneaker, Hatfield listened intently; something that wasn't as high as what everyone else was wearing, something comfortable and rideable out of the box, and something that had a sophisticated look.

Tinker Hatfield Air jordan 3 sketches and prototype

There was an elephant skin-like print on the upper, a visible Air Unit in the heel, and a medium height on the prototype presented to Jordan. The Jumpman logo on the tongue was another important new feature. In the absence of Nike's famous Swoosh, the Air Jordan 3 gave Jordan the chance to make a statement. It is not surprising that Jordan extended his Nike contract.

Iconic colorways

As early as November 1987, Jordan wore the 'White Cement' colorway sporadically, but most fans remember him wearing the Air Jordan 3 during the 1988 NBA All-Star game for the first time. With numerous re-releases over the years, the 'White Cement' and the 'Black Cement' Air Jordan 3s remain the most popular colorways.