Ranking the Greatest Air Jordan 4 Colorways Ever Released

  • Air Jordan 4 Columbia Legend Blue
    10. "Columbia/Legend Blue"

    Upon going through this list, I had my mind tossed over how many incredible colorways released for the Jordan IV over the years. Think about it. Just recently in 2013, the “Green Glow,” the “Fear,” and the “Toro Bravo” all hit hard, perfectly executing a number of different colorways. Before that, we had immediate classics like the “Rare Air” and “Fire Red” laser editions, both of which shut the game down upon their release. However, in the end, I’m still partial to some of the older releases, including the recently updated “Legend Blue.” It returned earlier this year for the first time since 1999, when it was nicknamed “Columbia.” This is just a clean silhouette.

    1 of 10
  • Air Jordan 4 black cat
    9. "Black Cat"

    I’ve probably worn this sneaker more than any other in my rotation since it first dropped in the summer of 2006. Why? It’s the perfect beater. It can go with anything, in any situation, and you really have to TRY to mess this one up. Dropping along with an all-white pair dubbed “Pure $,” this shoe played off Mike’s black cat alter ego.

    2 of 10
  • Air Jordan 4
    8. "Doernbecher"

    Isaiah Scott, a patient at the Doernbecher Hospital, originally designed this edition in 2011. The Superman logo on the tongue played off the nickname his mother had given him and even gave a shoutout to Nate Robinson with the lime green accents. (Nate earned the Kryponate nickname by dunking over Dwight Howard during the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest.)

    3 of 10
  • Air Jordan 4
    7. "Oreo/Tech Grey"

    Perhaps 2015’s biggest retro release so far, this colorway first arrived during the 1999 batch of IV retros. We haven’t seen it since. With updated materials through Jordan Brand’s 2015 remastered program, the “Tech Grey” edition will come and go quickly. In terms of its historical importance, Jordan never wore this sneaker on the court and it originally released during a time when JB’s retro phase was still in its adolescence. But the shoe is just a clean silhouette with the added benefit that no one has seen it in 16 years.

    4 of 10
  • Air Jordan 4
    6. "Lightning"

    A 2006 release that came in a massive pack that also included the “Thunder” IV, which basically flipped this yellow and black colorway, as well as some matching gear, the reaction to these was crazy. The shoe was so different and unique for this silhouette that they quickly reached classic status. These are still one of the best efforts JB has put out over the past 10 years, even if the release made them almost impossible to land.

    5 of 10
  • Air Jordan 4 Military Blue
    5. Military Blue

    I remember when this sneaker re-released for the first time in 2006. It was one of the original four pairs to come out, and at the time, the only one that hadn’t seen the light of day since. I still vividly remember going to cop, planning on copping, and then getting to the store and seeing that the “white” part of the sneaker wasn’t so much white as it was cream. I didn’t like it, thought it looked weird, and passed. (You have to understand that back then, finding decent pictures of these kicks online wasn’t as easy as it is now.)

    Idiot.

    As far as Jordan himself, he didn’t make too many memories in these. But that’s because these were well ahead of their time as one of the first non-Chicago colorways to ever release on a Jordan sneaker.

    6 of 10
  • Air Jordan 4
    4. Fire Red

    A colorway Mike brought out every once in a while during the 1988-89 season, the Fire Red colorway was a classic from the start, perfectly mimicking Chicago’s home uniform with a nice mix of red and black accents.

    Eventually, the sneaker would come back in a couple of different designs. First there was the laser edition of 2005, which turned the culture on its head. Then the following year we got a Mars Blackmon edition, complete with the Mars logo near the heel. I copped those immediately and still consider them one of my favorite pairs in my rotation.

    7 of 10
  • Air Jordan 4
    3. "UNDFTD"

    This collaboration turned into one of the most sought-after Air Jordans of all time, and many a collector have spent their lives attempting to hunt down a pair. (We caught up with one of them recently in @theinfader, and he even has the Ballistic sample version, which makes him basically a unicorn in this game.)

    Debuting in 2005 with a total of 72 pairs, the shoe was a resounding success because it made great use of its MA-1 Flight Jacket inspiration with the right colors and removable patches on the tongue.

    8 of 10
  • Air Jordan 4 White Cement
    2. White/Cement

    Heralded as a classic immediately when it dropped with all of the four original colorways, Mike did SO much in this one — from the triple-double streak to having his best all-around season to starring in commercials with Mars Blackmon — that the shoe’s history in and of itself pushes this sneaker to impressive heights. It also happened to be the sneaker that made quite an impressive on this culture with its appearance in Spike Lee‘s Do the Right Thing in 1989.

    9 of 10
  • Air Jordan 4 black cement
    1. Black/Cement

    My favorite pair of IVs, hands down. These should be yours as well, considering Jordan pulled off one of the greatest moments of his career in this sneaker. During Game 5 of the ’89 Playoffs First Round in Cleveland, Jordan saved the Bulls’ season with a double-pumping jumper at the buzzer over Craig Ehlo. It went on to be known as “The Shot,” and elevated MJ’s status beyond merely being a great scorer. It turned him into an icon.

    That single moment created a classic sneaker. It doesn’t hurt that the colorway is basically perfect, too.

    10 of 10
  • Air Jordan 4 Columbia Legend Blue
  • Air Jordan 4 black cat
  • Air Jordan 4 "Doernbecher"
  • Air Jordan 4 "Oreo"
  • Air Jordan 4 "Lightning"
  • Air Jordan 4 Military Blue
  • Air Jordan 4 "Fire Red"
  • Air Jordan 4 "UNDFTD"
  • Air Jordan 4 White Cement
  • Air Jordan 4 black cement

The Air Jordan IV was not the first sneaker to be released as a retro. The first re-release run didn’t start until 1999, a full five years after Nike initially went with the idea. But since then, this classic silhouette has come back out so many times, in so many different colorways, that a few of them were bound to fall through the cracks. When you have that many great, great shoes, many of them will inevitably become underrated.

I currently own seven pairs of the Air Jordan IV. I have a pretty solid sneaker collection — over 100 pairs — even if it’s not as crazy as some sneakerhead collections out there. Still, I’m pretty sure that’s the most I own of any single Air Jordan…probably any single shoe silhouette ever. Why? Well, some of it is just luck. The year 2006 was littered with IV releases and at the time I was just starting college. I had money. No bills. No one to support. No loans. No real problems, so I bought basically anything I could get my hands on.

The sneaker is versatile and lends itself well to a number of different colors. It’s a lot like the Air Jordan III in that regard, which makes sense. The IV built in slight improvements to its predecessor but kept many of the same design components, like the same mid-cut, the same sculpted midsole, as well as the visible Air Unit and padded tongue and collar.

With one of the original retroes from 1999 coming back this Saturday at Champs Sports, a remastered edition of the “Tech Grey” colorway, now is as good a time as ever to see where it ranks among the top colorways ever put on this shoe. Today, we’re Ranking the Greatest Air Jordan 4 Colorways Ever Released.

Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney

image via Jordan Brand