Our monthly features on the Air Jordan line continue for July with the Air Jordan 7. Often overlooked in the grand scheme of the brand as far as favorite models are concerned, the Jordan 7 certainly still has a legion of fans that consider it among Michael Jordan's best. Once again designed by Tinker Hatfield during his run of consecutive Air Jordan masterpieces beginning with the Jordan 3, the seventh model originally released in 1992.
The Jordan 7's design was a departure from Hatfield's previous models, featuring a more minimal appearance that stripped away many of the superfluous (but very cool) details found on Jordans 3-6 like visible Air, mesh netting, reflective accents, and plastic heel tabs. The more minimal look was inspired by Hatfield's then-latest technological invention: Huarache. The Huarache system is characterized by a foot-hugging neoprene inner bootie and simplified upper design that includes features like die-cut ankle panels for reduced weight. Although the Jordan 7 went in a more minimal direction, it still stands out thanks to the sharp geometric shapes across its upper and sole that were inspired by African tribal art. The design was also significant for one big reason: it was the first Air Jordan without any Nike branding of any kind on the exterior—an early indicator of Nike's intention to let the Air Jordan line stand as its own brand.
The Jordan 7 released in a strong group of OG colorways in '92 and many more great retros since, so picking just a few of our favorites was no easy task. But we think we condensed it down to the very best selection, from OG icons to this summer's hottest new release of the silhouette. Check out our picks below.
We'll kick things off with the most iconic colorway. Although this OG black colorway with purple and bright red accents originally released before the Toronto Raptors existed, the nickname has since stuck due to its obvious similarity to the original team colors of Canada's NBA squad. Michael Jordan completed one of his most successful and decorated seasons in the league wearing the OG version, including his second straight Championship and Finals MVP honors. He also lead the league in scoring that season, made the All-NBA first team, and was the NBA MVP. Not too shabby.
After the 1991-92 NBA season was over, Jordan's on-court success continued at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona where he helped lead the historic Dream Team to a gold medal. Nike cooked up a special colorway of the Jordan 7 for the event, featuring a red, white, and blue color scheme accented with gold and silver. The "23" on the heel was also replaced with "9" to reflect Jordan's uniform number on Team USA. In the year's since, it has become a go-to for many Jordan fans to break out for patriotic holidays like July 4th and Memorial Day.
We'll skip ahead in history to a modern release of the Jordan 7, this beauty from the "Golden Moments" pack. From the two-shoe pack that also contained a white/gold Air Jordan 6, this Jordan 7 in black/gold with a premium leather constructions released in 2012 to celebrate the '92 Olympics. Because black and gold is always a winning combination, this edition has become the favorite of the set, and is generally regarded as one of the model's best non-OG colorways ever.
Bugs Bunny took over Michael Jordan's side-kick duties for Mars Blackmon in the commercial campaign for the Air Jordan 7, and this beloved OG colorway in light grey and white seems to be inspired by everybody's favorite "wascally wabbit." Along with the other white-based "Cardinal" colorway, Jordan wore these throughout the 1991-92 regular season.
Beginning with the Air Jordan 3, Michael Jordan started a yearly tradition of debuting the black-based colorway of his latest signature shoe on court at the NBA All-Star Game. In '92 he took to the court in Orlando wearing this "Bordeaux" edition. One of the most definitively '90s looks for an Air Jordan up there with the likes of the Air Jordan 5 "Grape" and Air Jordan 8 "Aqua," the "Bordeaux" colorway doesn't look like it could have been from any other era.
It's hard to believe it, but until this summer there was never an official collaboration of the Air Jordan 7. The model was used within the Doernbecher Freestyle Collection in 2016, but until Patta dropped this version in June, no boutique, designer, rapper, etc. had ever dropped their own Jordan 7. The Amsterdam-based shop known for their many epic Air Max collabs took their talents to an Air Jordan for the first time, creating this clean colorway partly inspired by the "Bordeaux" color block with a new set of hues and premium nubuck construction.