Five Fun Facts About the Air Jordan 15

Air Jordan 15

The Air Jordan 15 is still one of the most polarising sneakers in the Jumpman’s prodigious catalogue.

Conceived by industry godfather Tinker Hatfield, the AJ15 debuted in 1999 in the 'Black/Varsity Red' colourway, before returning to shelves a year later in five more renditions.

Loved and loathed in equal measure, the design DNA is of course recognisable for its immense, protruding tongue, and was the first Jordan Brand sneaker not worn by His Airness on the hardwood.

To celebrate the release of Billy Eilish's Air Jordan 15 collaboration this week, we thought we'd revisit five fun facts about the neck-cranking silhouette.

Say what you like about the Air Jordan 15, the jet plane is here to stay!

Air Jordan 15 Metallic Silver
Air Jordan 15 'Metallic Silver' (2000)

Stealth Mode: Activated

Modelled on the X-15 hypersonic jet plane (an engineering marvel that broke records, surpassing speeds of 4,000 miles per hour), the Air Jordan 15 was woven in Kevlar aramid fibre uppers - an aesthetic homage to MJ’s stealthy mode of attack. The world’s fastest manned aircraft on earth, the X-15 was the perfect blueprint to fuel the next stage of MJ’s career, His Airness routinely pairing the sneakers with more formal attire for his philanthropic pursuits.

Air Jordan 15
Air Jordan 15 'Columbia Blue' (2000)

Goodbye, Jumpman!

Dry your tears! The Air Jordan 15 was the first Jordan sneaker that Miachel Jordan never actually wore on the court. Despite rumours of the Jordan line being discontinued after Jordan’s second retirement (cue canned laughter), the Jordan Brand obviously had other plans, the colossal label this year releasing the Air Jordan 36!

Despite Michael Jordan never wearing them on-court, other players from Team Jumpman like Ray Allen, Mike Bibby, and Michael Finley all laced the AJ15 (even Reggie Miller rocked a pair!),

Air Jordan 15
Air Jordan 15 'Deep Red' (2001)

Love it, Or Loathe it?

The Air Jordan 15 did not meet sales expectations. In fact, it didn’t even get close. Some sneakerheads complained about the quality of materials (citing ill-fitting, uncomfortable inner sleeves), while for others, the shape was just too damn weird. There’s no doubting that the Air Jordan 15 is one of the more eccentric silhouettes from the Jumpman hangar, but that hasn’t stopped a vocal fanbase from defending the shoe, the AJ15 still retaining a cult-like following to this day.

Air Jordan 15
Air Jordan 15 'Anthracite' (2017)

Suns Out. Tongues Out.

Rumour has it, the exaggerated, protruding tongue of the Air Jordan 15 was actually intended to resemble MJ’s tongue, which was constantly poking out when breaking ankles or mid-flight. One of the boldest tongue designs in the Jordan Brand catalogue, the Air Jordan 15 has kept tongues wagging since the late 90s.

Air Jordan 15

Italian Luxury

Like the Air Jordan 2, Tinker Hatfield had premium Italian shoes in the front of his mind when designing the AJ15, utilising a woven pattern on the uppers and easy-fit design resembling the shape of a moccasin. A red stripe featuring on the all-black colourway further alluded to its Italian luxury roots, MJ a vocal fan of the Prada brand.

Keen for more fun facts on the Jordan Brand catalogue?

Make sure to check out our recent feature on the AJ15’s predecessor, the Air Jordan 14.

SOLED OUT, the new Sneaker Freaker book is coming soon! Find out more about our epic 720-page compendium here.

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