Jordan 4: Everyone’s Favorite
Released in 1989 by the now reigning king of Jordans, Tinker Hatfield, the Jordan 4 was the first pair to go global with an international release at first drop. The Jordan 4 put out 4 colorways with their initial production: off white / military blue, black / cement grey / red, white / red / black, and the most notable, white / cement grey / black, which was dubbed the “cookies and cream” for it’s texture resemblance and similarity.
The Jordan 4 saw the addition of the ankle strap for additional support. It was an added defense against Jordan rolling his ankle and with so many ballers now making the Jordan brand their go-to shoe, it only made sense to incorporate the feature into wide release. The Jordan 4 held over the full length mid sole and air chamber from the Jordan 3 to supplement comfort and support.
Cleveland Cavalier fans probably remember the Jordan 4 best for it’s part in “The Shot.” Not only was it the shoe Jordan wore to defeat them in game 5 of the 1989 Eastern Conference First round, but Nike retroed the Jordan 4 in 2012 with a “Cavs” colorway (black / safety orange / game royal blue) to commemorate what is known as one of Jordan’s greatest clutch moments and the beginning of the Jordan’s Bulls Dynasty.
The Jordan 4 also saw the return of Mars Blackmon in Nike’s Mars & Mike campaign, one of their all time most successful advertising campaigns. Actor/Director Spike Lee, who played Mars in the commercials (his character from “She’s Gotta Have It), gave the Jordan 4 a key scene in his next film, “Do The Right Thing”. As a thank you for the massive shout out and free marketing, Nike commissioned the highly sought after Spiz’ike for Lee, which went on to create its own craze and loyal following. The Jordan 4 commercials were a “Can, Can’t, Can” tag team of Lee and Jordan with the jumpman himself flying in the shoes which you “can” buy, but you “can’t” fly like THAT. Currently getting a retro spoof of its own, Blake Griffin and “Dr. Drain” have done a similar throwback commercial for the Jordan brand.
Speaking of retros, the 4 was the first retro to actually sell well. While Jordan retros 1, 2 and 3 wound up in the clearance bins, the 4 sold out within hours or release. Realizing the shift in the market and the opportunity to strike while the iron was hot, Nike began re-releasing other retros with a variety of new colorways and minor design changes. They called them the Retro+ line. While many OG’s slammed the idea and refused to buy the “fakes” plenty of other people bought the line and drove sales high enough for Nike to continue with releases. Some argue that’s what planted the real seed of knock offs and gave the public an acceptance for fake Jordans.
Also one of the most retroed Jordans, the 4 has long held a dominance for the ballers and Pharrell’s of the world who want fashion with their function. The history behind it is no light weight either.