A Look Back at Jordan Brand's Black Friday Retros
One logo has become synonymous with Black Friday drops over the course of the past decade: the Jumpman.
Jordan Brand have dominated the annual end-of-November releases throughout the 2010s, hitting 'heads with coveted retro drops year after year. Whether it be the first-ever 'Bin23' release, a string of long-awaited resurrections, or a proper return to OG form for an all-timer, Jordan Brand can always be counted on to deliver the heat during the holidays.
Now, with the 2010s coming to a close, take a look back at the Jumpman's decade of Black Friday dominance – including a little primer on a couple of pairs that laid the groundwork for the brand's favourite release day.
Air Jordan 12 ‘Nubuck’ (2003)
Jordan Brand dominated Black Friday throughout the 2010s, but the Jumpman actually pioneered Black Friday releases long before the current decade. The UNC-inspired ‘Nubuck’ 12s unofficially kicked off Jordan’s dominance way back in 2003, and were Jordan Brand’s first-ever online exclusive. A matching hoodie and hat even accompanied the drop.
Air Jordan 12 ‘Flu Game’ (2009)
Following 2003’s game-changing ‘Nubuck’ drop, Jordan’s Black Friday releases were largely limited to 2008’s Air Jordan XX3 QS trio, and a smattering of drops from Melo’s signature line. It wasn’t until 2009 that the Jumpman offered up another retro silhouette. That year, the Nike imprint stuck with the Air Jordan 12 and resurrected the classic ‘Flu Game’ colourway, complete with newly added graphics as a nod to MJ’s storied performance in that famous game.
Air Jordan 13 ‘Flint’ (2010)
Michael Jordan himself never actually laced up the ‘Flint’ colourway of the Air Jordan 13 when it debuted in 1998, but it’s long been a favourite, and considered by most to be the best of the OG AJ13 executions. The blue-based look returned in 2010 for the first time since 2005, but was missing one key ingredient: the 3M reflectivity that popped on the OG and ’05 retro.
Air Jordan 7 Premio ‘Bin 23’ (2010)
Jordan Brand’s 2010 Black Friday release wasn’t limited to the ‘Flint’ 13s. That same year, the Jumpman released the first of its ‘Bin23’ designs. This special take on the Air Jordan 7 was inspired by Tinker Hatfield’s original sketches of the silhouette, and was limited to just 2,059 individually numbered pairs.
Air Jordan 3 ‘Black/Cement’ (2011)
2011 saw an icon make a welcome comeback. After retro appearances in 1994, 2001 and 2008, 1988’s beloved ‘Black/Cement’ edition of the Air Jordan 3 returned as 2011’s Black Friday release from the Jumpman. The drop celebrated the 23rd anniversary of Tinker Hatfield’s ’88 OG, but fans would have to wait until 2018 for the original Nike Air branding to return to the heel.
Air Jordan 4 ‘Bred’ (2012)
The 23rd anniversary of Black Friday releases, kicked off by 2011’s ‘Black/Cement’ Air Jordan 3 retro, continued in 2012 with the ‘Bred’ Air Jordan 4. Throwing it back to 1989, the classic colourway’s 2012 appearance marked its first since 2008. Like the previous year’s 3s, however, these were also missing the OG ‘Nike Air’ branding on the heel, featuring the Jumpman instead. The design was finally resurrected in proper OG form in 2019 in celebration of its 30-year anniversary.
Air Jordan 5 ‘Oreo’ (2013)
Another year, another 23rd anniversary Black Friday drop from Jordan Brand. In 2013, it was the Air Jordan 5. That year, however, the Jumpman reimagined 1990’s classic Tinker Hatfield design with an all black and white ‘Oreo’ look that was perfect for the occasion.
Air Jordan 6 ‘Black/Infrared’ (2014)
Jordan’s string of 23-year anniversary Black Friday drops concluded in 2014 with an all-timer: the ‘Black/Infrared’ edition of the Air Jordan 6. While we’d have to wait until 2019 for the ‘Nike Air’ embroidery to return to the heel, these were far better than the previous 2000 and 2010 retros: the ‘Infrared’ hue was much closer to that of the OG while the upper’s reflective underlay finally made a comeback.
Air Jordan 8 ‘Aqua’ (2015)
Jordan Brand skipped the Air Jordan 7 in 2015 in favour of the Air Jordan 8 ‘Aqua’, resurrecting the OG colourway for the first time since its 2007 retro. The underrated drop is not only up there with the best of the brand’s Black Friday releases, but is one of the most impressive retros as far as authenticity goes. Thanks to Jordan’s ‘Remastered’ program, these are a near one-to-one remake of the ones MJ wore for 1993’s NBA All-Star Game. Even the grey accents, which were completely absent in 2007, were added back into the mix.
Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG ‘Cyber Monday’ (2015)
Cyber Monday is nearly as big of a deal as Black Friday these days, so 2015’s ‘Cyber Monday’ Air Jordan 1s make an honourary appearance on this list. Released just a few days after the ‘True Blue’ AJ3, these not only appeared in Retro High OG form, but rocked one of the cleanest colourways to ever hit the AJ1 – one that would have made them perfect for Black Friday, too.
Air Jordan 3 ‘True Blue’ (2016)
Following retro returns in 2000, 2009 and 2011, the ‘True Blue’ Air Jordan 3 finally hit shelves in OG form for Black Friday 2016. The Jumpman even officially dubbed the shoe as the ‘OG 88’ to celebrate its remastered form and Nike Air branding.
Air Jordan 13 ‘Altitude’ (2017)
For whatever reason, Jordan Brand elected to hit 2010’s Air Jordan 13 ‘Altitude’ retro with the same padded mesh that has always appeared on the ‘Flint’ version of the silhouette – not the leather that graced the OG. Thankfully, this wrong was righted in 2017 as black leather made a comeback for Black Friday.
Air Jordan 12 ‘Gym Red’ (2018)
2018 was a bit of a departure for Jordan Brand as it elected to skip out on a high-profile Black Friday retro release, and instead save its major drops for the following day. So on Saturday, November 24, fans were treated to one of the most over-the-top Air Jordan 12s ever, and one that took Chicago Bulls inspiration to a whole new level.
Union x Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG (2018)
The ‘Gym Red’ Air Jordan 12 was definitely not Jordan Brand’s most sought-after Black Friday-ish drop of 2018, though. That award undoubtedly goes to Union’s coveted AJ1 collaborations. Originally released via the Los Angeles favourite the week prior, these DIY-inspired odes got a ‘wider’ release the same day as the all-red AJ12s, but were still nearly impossible to cop.
Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG ‘Bloodline’ (2019)
Jordan Brand’s storied run of annual Black Friday drops throughout the 2010s comes to close in 2019 with the ‘Bloodline’ edition of the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG. A brand-new look for the classic high-top, the release puts a fresh spin on the shoe’s original Chicago Bulls–inspired colour palette as part of the ‘Fearless Ones’ campaign.
Featured Image Credit: Nike.