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The Air Jordan 5: Five Things You Must Know

Date: January 28 2020

By: Sebastian Bugeja-Drinkell

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If we’re talking about legendary models that changed the game and revolutionised basketball kicks as we know them, we have to give the Air Jordan 5 its fair share of kudos. Designed by the legendary Tinker Hatfield, the AJ5 was inspired by an American fighter plane, and was suitably aggressive – penetrating the 1990s and setting the vibe for the decade. Here’s five things you must know about the iconic build. 

Image via: Grailed

Image via: Grailed

1. Inspired by an American Fighter Plane

Used for air attacks on Germany during World War II, the P-51 Mustang fighter plane helped inspire the iconic Air Jordan 5. Hatfield chose this particular plane as it aligned with Michael Jordan’s aggressive need to dominate while playing basketball. The plane was given the nickname ‘The Shark’, and clear design cues can be found on the AJ5 – especially the shark-like teeth running along the front of the midsole.

2. The First Jordan of the 90s

Kicks nowadays will see their debut, then a week later we’ll be pummelled with every possible colourway known to humanity. However, back in the early 1990s, when the AJ5 saw its release, only four different colour combos dropped. The White/Black/Fire Red, the Black/Metallic Silver, the White/Grape Ice/New Emerald, and the White/Fire Red/Black. As the first Jordan to drop in the 90s, the AJ5 helped to set the tone for one of the greatest decades of kicks.

3. Retroed 10 Years After Its Initial Release

Not only did the Air Jordan 5 set a precedent for the whole of the 1990s, it also set the mood for the millennium. The first round of retros of the AJ5 arrived 10 years after the initial release – just in time to kick the Y2K bug to the kerb. The year 2000 saw the return of some OG favourites, as well as new kids on the block that caused quite a stir.

4. First In, Best Dressed

The Air Jordan 5 was the first baller to do a number of things on the hardwood. Not only was it shining bright as the first basketball silhouette to rock 3M, it was also the first to be blessed with a lace lock, clear outsole, and moulded ankle collar. It was truly revolutionary.

5. Will Smith Received an AJ5 for his 50th Birthday

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air did a lot for the Air Jordan 5, especially the ‘Grape’ iteration that was arguably the most sought-after AJ5 soon after being spotted stompin’ round Bel-Air.


Paying homage to Will Smith on his 50th birthday, Jordan Brand decided to give him two AJ5s. Most notably, the F&F golden edition was limited to only 23 pairs.

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