The Air Jordan III is one of the original Air Jordan models designed by the legendary Tinker Hatfield. The shoe was originally released in 1988 and has been re-released (“retro-ed”) several times since. Ever since I was about 11 or 12, I’ve held firm in my view that the Air Jordan III, specifically the black and cement colorway, is the greatest sneaker ever created. At the heart of my affinity for this shoe is it’s seemingly contradictory blend of simplicity and boldness. These shoes at once embrace subtlety, with the loudest color, a firery red, used sparingly against a mostly black and grey canvas, and attitude, with the use of iconic logos and a unique “elephant print.” Wearing Air Jordan IIIs feels like a tribute to two people who influenced me growing up, the man himself, Michael Jordan, and Spike Lee, who directed and starred in the television ads for the shoes. Granted, I wasn’t even born when these ads first debuted but Spike’s – and Jordan’s for that matter – connection to the hip hop and sports driven fashion culture that I grew up in enshrined these ads in history. This is a basketball shoe but what has made it desirable to me for nearly two decades is only tangentially related to playing basketball. I would argue that this was one of the first “lifestyle” shoes, something that takes cues from athletic designs and applies them to something meant for everyday wear. As the wearer, you’re left feeling more capable than your intentions for the day might call for. Who doesn’t want to feel “like Mike” even if you’re just grocery shopping.
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