Air Jordan 12
The Air Jordan 12 is the twelfth Air Jordan signature shoe designed for Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan. It debuted in 1996 and released throughout the 1996-1997 NBA season. The sneakers originally retailed for $135 and was designed by Tinker Hatfield. Throughout the shoe’s run, five color ways were released – white/black aka “Taxi”, a white/red, “Obsidian”, a black/red “Flu Game” (more on this later), and a black/white “Playoffs”. The Air Jordan 12 was the first Air Jordan sneaker with Zoom Air cushioning. A full-length cushion was encased in Phylon and placed above a carbon fiber mid foot shank. The sneaker mostly built with premium full-grain leather, a detail that ended up being somewhat of a disadvantage due to its lack of breathability.
It goes without saying that the Air Jordan 12 was an immensely popular sneaker. Despite coming off the release of arguably the greatest Air Jordan ever – the Air Jordan 11 – the Air Jordan 12 still drew fans to stores in droves as MJ won yet another NBA Championship. However, the Air Jordan 12 should be remembered more for its place in time in regards to the power of Michael’s marketability. It was the first Air Jordan sneaker to feature no Nike or Swoosh logo anywhere on the sneaker (previous models still had it on the insoles), although the shoes did come in a Nike shoebox. 1997 was also the year that Jordan Brand was formed; it easily became one of the most popular brands in the world, at times rivaling Nike proper.
Some other facts: The design of the Air Jordan 12 was partly inspired by the “Rising Sun” emblem on the Japanese flag. This may have been intentional as Michael Jordan hosted a basketball clinic in Japan in the Summer of 1996. The shoes were also remembered for its high-contrast with the distinctive coloring of the leather upper and mudguard. It was one of the most visible sneakers on television. The aforementioned red/black colorway was later dubbed the “Flu Game” by sneaker heads; it was the color that Jordan wore during Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals on June 11th. Jordan had apparently caught the flu the night before and was barely able to stand on his own energy; despite his ailment, he scored 37 points. It was later revealed by Jordan himself during “The Last Dance” documentary series that he caught food poisoning from delivery pizza, debunking conspiracy theories that included Jordan simply being hungover from a night of partying.
Like every other Air Jordan before it, the Air Jordan 12 was immensely popular. It released again in 2003 in colorways both new and old, while a new low-top version also debuted. Since then, the Air Jordan 12 has been in regular production and is a top-seller for Jordan Brand without much effort on the marketing end. Some of the more standout editions include the Jordan 12 “Wings”, which features a wear-away exterior that reveals a custom pattern, and a collaboration with Drake’s OVO imprint. There are no signs of production stopping anytime soon.
price range / $190-300