The Best Air Jordan Releases of 2022
Retro Jordans have continued to reign supreme in 2022. Headlined by predictable superstar silhouettes like the Air Jordan 1 and Air Jordan 4, the Jumpman also continue to resurrect unfairly maligned models like the Air Jordan 2. From player exclusives to heavyweight collaborations, these were the Jumpman’s certified slam dunks in 2022.
Aleali May x Air Jordan 4 ‘Desert Camo’ F+F
Model, stylist and consultant Aleali May is one of Jordan Brand’s leading ladies, and over the course of her collaborative relationship with the Jumpman, she’s mined her upbringing, influences and tastes to inspire covetable kicks like her Air Jordan 1 and Air Jordan 14 Low. May’s rarest Js, her friends-and-family-exclusive Air Jordan 4 ‘Veteran’s Day’, follow that path as well by saluting her father’s military service!
The Aleali May x Air Jordan 4 ‘Desert Camo’ was first teased by May herself on Veteran’s Day back in 2020, and we’re pretty bummed these never received a retail release!
A Ma Maniére x Air Jordan 2
One of the most unexpected success stories of 2022, the Air Jordan 2, was originally given a shot in the arm thanks to Virgil Abloh’s kingmaking Off-White label. Numerous collaborations and GR colourways followed, but it’s hard to go past this modern classic by A Ma Maniere.
Indeed, when it comes to storytelling, community focus and luxurious design, A Ma Maniére are in a class of their own.
In June, the brand launched their Air Jordan 2, a fitting tribute to a silhouette originally inspired by classic Italian luxury. Manufactured in all-over suede uppers, A Ma Maniére’s AJ2 skilfully textures the original lizard print onto the black midsoles (*drool*), while powerful hits of Burgundy allude to the royalty of His Airness.,
A Ma Maniére showed us exactly how to celebrate the luxurious design blueprints of the Air Jordan 2, a perpetually misunderstood silo from the Jumpman canon.
Air Jordan 1 ‘Lost and Found’
Sneakerheads went absolutely bonkers for the Air Jordan 1 ‘Lost and Found’ this year. Despite reports of mould on a very small number of pairs, the Chicago remix was undoubtedly one of the best releases in 2022. Executed around the idea of a vintage pair lost in storage, the model was a faux-aged tour de force, complete with cracked black-leather ankle collars, yellowed midsoles and a mismatched box.
Air Jordan 4 ‘Zen Master’ aka ‘Amethyst Wave’
Paying homage to the great Phil Jackson and his zen teachings, the Air Jordan 4 ‘Zen Master’ is one for all of us deadheads who simply can’t put away the tie-dye.
A Ma Maniére x Air Jordan 4
One of the most luxurious collaborators in the game, A Ma Maniére (meaning ‘My Way’ in English), knocked it out of the ballpark yet again with the Air Jordan 4. Arriving in November, the model was decked-out with a premium, full-nubuck construction, bolstered with quilted lining and subtle tongue and lateral button branding.
As always, it wasn’t just the imprint’s aesthetics making an impact.
Throughout the US midterm election day, The Whitaker Group held a social media blackout to provide information and instructions on accessing the voting poles. Hell, they even put a number of orders under review that reeked of bot interference.
Do it your way, A Ma Maniére.
Travis Scott x Jordan 1 ‘Reverse Mocha’
Nothing says ‘blockbuster collaboration’ like Travis Scott taking flight with the Jumpman. The Air Jordan 1 ‘Reverse Mocha’ enticed a record-breaking number of raffle entries this year, with the release sending sneakerheads into a frenzy after Travis Scott’s long hiatus. Retaining all of the collaboration’s signature hallmarks like the flipped Swoosh and Cactus Jack branding, the Air Jordan 1 was yet again another popular canvas for creatives this year.
CLOT x Air Jordan 5 Low
Edison Chen’s CLOT imprint have always been masterful storytellers, and the Air Jordan 5 ‘Jade’ was no exception. This year’s collaboration highlights the importance of jade in Chinese culture – a mineral symbolising beauty, protection, power and eternity.
Manufactured in textures and colours recalling Chinese jade ornaments adorning traditional attire, the model came manufactured in special black-satin uppers, reflective tongues, and jade-inspired details throughout the design. Illuminated with glow-in-the-dark detailing, MJ’s number 23 came embroidered in Chinese characters at the rear, further emphasised by jade beads arranged into twos and threes on the lace stay.
Zion Williamson’s Air Jordan 1 ‘Voodoo’
Zion Williamson’s Jordan Zion 2 ‘Voodoo’ was so tough the Jumpman simply had to retool the Air Jordan 1 – and we couldn’t be happier with the result. Taking its vernacular from religions of the African diaspora, the AJ1 Low was manufactured in a mix of hemp, canvas and suede materials. A voodoo skull was stamped on the heels, and the tongues were placed upside down – an allusion to a voodoo curse.
Most importantly, it looks like the injury curse has been lifted from Air Zion, with the fledgling superstar putting together an incredible season so far for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Trophy Room x Air Jordan 7 ‘New Sheriff in Town’
While Marcus Jordan’s Trophy Room imprint has been mired with controversy in recent years, it’s impossible to deny the imprint’s design fidelity. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the ‘Dream Team’, the AJ7’s colour palette paid homage to the red, white and blue of Team USA. The collaboration was replete with easter eggs, including MJ’s signature etched across the lateral heel area and ‘New Sheriff in Town’ on the inside tongue tags – an allusion to Jordan’s quote said to Magic Johnson and Larry Bird at a team scrimmage.
Melody Ehsani x Air Jordan 36 PE
The Boston Celtics took a 107-88 drubbing at the hands of the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the NBA Finals in June, but the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum was no slouch – pouring in 28 points into the losing effort and taking the court for warm-ups with unique pair of Air Jordan 36s on his feet.
Designed by Melody Ehsani, the Air Jordan 36 was one of our favourite PEs this year, the deadly snakeskin uppers looking more lethal than anything you’d find in the Aussie bush.
‘The hamsa (or hand of God) on the sole is a symbol for protection from anything that doesn’t serve your purpose’, Ehsani reflected on her Instagram post.
The shoes also boasted custom tongue labels, highly detailed lace dubraes and another hamsa graphic in the middle of the throat.
The interior of the shoe read, ‘We stand on the shoulders of greats’.
Eastside Golf x Air Jordan 1 High Golf
The Jumpman have made some very impressive inroads on the golf course in recent years. The collaboration with the Compton-based Eastside Golf is certainly one of the more captivating Jordans to hit the green, with the model forming part of the brand’s ‘Out of the Mud’ concept – a reference to overcoming adversity to reach one’s dreams.
Air Jordan 3 ‘Fire Red’
Fire colourway. Fire canvas. ’Nuff said.
DJ Khaled x Air Jordan 5
Okay, we may not be enthusiastically signing up to stay in DJ Khaled’s sneaker bedroom, but we’re still unbelievably keen on the Air Jordan 5 ‘We the Best pack’. One of the biggest personalities on the sneaker circuit, DJ Khaled, composed the collection in a South Florida-friendly palette, and the summer hues look flawless on the AJ5.
Air Jordan 5 ‘Green Bean’
Beans more magical than Jack’s! Debuting in 2006, Jordanheads have been waiting a long, long time for a ‘Green Bean’ retro, and the 2022 edition didn’t disappoint.
Union x Air Jordan 2
The Air Jordan 2’s position in the Air Jordan line is an unenviable one. It’s sandwiched between the Air Jordan 1 and Air Jordan 3, silhouettes widely regarded as the greatest Jordan Brand models of all time. Still, it’s managed to catch a nice little buzz for itself in recent months thanks to the Off-White x Air Jordan 2 Low and the superlative Union x Air Jordan 2 collection.