It may not be the most famous Jordan, but it remains a highlight nonetheless. Designed by the legendary Tinker Hatfield, the Jordan 6 debuted in 1991 and ushered in a new thematic trilogy in the designer's work on the Jordan line. The Air Jordan 6 rejected the design ethic of the 3s, 4s and 5s. A gamble that paid off. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the silhouette, read all about the history, the most popular colorways, the coolest collabs and the new releases.
Let's go back in sneaker history
By 1991, the Air Jordan line had been on the rise for a while. With five previous models, Michael Jordan had iconised his trainers like no athlete had ever done before. Still, the Jordan 1 through 5 were no help to him in winning a championship. Neither the 'Boston Celtics' nor the 'Bad Boy Pistons' got past him and so he may well have been one of the most popular basketball players, but the first ring has so far eluded him.
Later that year, when he finally secured the first NBA title against the Magic Johnsons Lakers, Jordan wore a new silhouette: the Air Jordan 6, a shoe that of course immediately went down in sneaker history with this historic event.
Tinker Hatfield worked Michael Jordan's penchant for sports cars into the design of the 6 Series.
That's why the shoe has angular trim and even a tab on the heel that mimics the spoiler of a Porsche. In fact, this won't be the last time a motorised reference point is used, for example a Ferrari inspired the AJ 14.
There is significantly less padding around the upper or the ankle. This makes the shoe much lighter and more dynamic than any of its predecessors. Jordan himself previously complained about the lack of effortlessness when putting on the 3s, 4s and 5s. Therefore, Hatfield implemented a large die-cut and rubberised tongue with two large holes for the fingers in the design of the Jordan 6. With the Air Jordan 6 'Black/Infrared', Jordan finally earned its first title.
The Air Jordan 6
The Jordan 6 was both a step forward and a step sideways when it was released. Thus, it ushered in a new era of the Air Jordan that would continue through to the 8, and an era of Jordan reign that would change the sport of basketball forever. The art of trainer making often takes place a year or two before a shoe's debut. Hatfield could so impossibly have planned for the 'trilogy' to accompany Jordan all the way to his first treble. Yet Jordan's victory makes the sneaker even more appealing.
Like many classics, the AJ 6 is primarily known for its original colours. The 'Infrared', for example, proves this with its retro release in February 2019 (which you have already seen above).
A few months later, the model received another notable revival: the famous and rarely released DMP colorway. In black and gold, the Defining Moments lettering once again came in a true-to-form construction that reflected the Swoosh Brand's recent interest in reviving its past.
extra knowledge deluxe
In 2000, the shoe was redesigned for the first time, with new colours and Jumpman logos replacing the original 'Nike Air' branding. It should be noted that the AJ 6 was Nike's last shoe before the Swoosh Brand and Jordan Brand developed their own identities. In 2002, the model was then scaled down and released for the first time as a low-top model, along with colorways and sizes for women.
After a few individual releases, the Air Jordan 6 was then released in 2010 for the first time in a completely retro look. For the shoe's 23rd anniversary in 2014, numerous old and new models were released throughout the year.
To be able to shine with Jordan 6 knowledge, here are the most important colorways for you. These include 'Midnight Navy', 'Oreo', OG 'White/Infrared' (from 1991), OG 'Black/Infrared' and the AJ 6 'DMP' already shown.
The most important Air Jordan 6 collaborations
But while the most important releases shaped the history of Jordan Brand, many collaborations rival the classics in terms of influence. Travis Scott, whose touch has led to more than a handful of coveted sneakers, lent his own personal style to the Fall 2019 model. In keeping with his taste for the militaristic, the pair featured the usual Cactus Jack branding as well as a utilitarian cargo pocket at the ankle.
Other collaborations include celebrity stylist Aleali May, sports empire PSG and retailer Social Status. These include the following sneakers, for example, or you can read more about them here.
In the 90s, manga icon Takehiko Inoue focused on the 6 as a sneaker for the protagonist of his best-selling basketball series Slam Dunk. The comic (and later the anime based on it) served as an important introduction to the world of basketball for a new audience.
New Jordan 6 Heat
The Air Jordan 6 normally retails for €190, but certain editions command a small premium. Coming up next, the Air Jordan 6 Retro 'Electric Green' (CT8529-003) will be released on Saturday, 05 June 2021.
Since Michael Jordan first laced up the 6, it has remained a timeless sneaker. Icons from the world of fashion, music and pop culture alike love to collaborate with the silhouette. What's more, modern sneaker icon Virgil Abloh even calls the pair his all-time favourite - and hints that he will one day design his own pair.