The 6 Best Red Air Jordans

  • Air Jordan XX1
    Air Jordan XX1

    The XX1 wasn’t exactly a standout among Jordans, but I’d say that had more to do with its design than anything else. The original colorways, even the graphite-based suede, were just missing something and looked relatively ordinary on feet, which almost never happens with Jordans.

    But the all-red suede was entirely different, which made it even more weird that it sat on shelves. I guess people just weren’t ready for this? I used to frequent one mall store in particular, and they had a pair of these that sat in the back for months. To this day, I still beat myself up for not copping.

    image via KicksOnFire

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  • Air Jordan 5
    Air Jordan 5 Retro "Toro Bravo"

    Probably my favorite all-red Jordan release. This colorway came as part of a Defining Moments package in 2009, which was dubbed the “Raging Bull” pack. Along with a 3M black Air Jordan 5, the pack was explosive and tame, mixing traditional colors with a new look for the modern age.

    The 5 is one of the more versatile Jordans you’ll ever see, perfect for jeans, and these were far and away the standouts from this pack. The red-tipped teeth are an awesome final touch.

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  • Air Jordan Retro III
    Air Jordan 3 Retro "Doernbecher"

    Sporting just enough black to offset the overload of cherry red on the upper — and also just enough black that I almost left this one off the list — this¬†Cole Johanson-designed 2010 release went above and beyond. A diamond upper pattern that actually spelled his name. Red elephant print. “Strength” and “Courage” on the inside. “Spaghetti” and “Chocolate” behind the heel tabs. And to top it all off, the 3 came with a translucent sole. Sometimes these things don’t work on classics sneakers. But somehow this one turned out nice.

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  • Air Jordan 9
    Air Jordan 9 Retro "Motorboat Jones"

    The all-red concept has been seen on the Air Jordan 1 and the XX8, as well as the recent Jordan¬†6 retro, but one of the only other previous release that deserves a spot on this list is the Motorboat Jones 9. As part of Jordan’s 2012 “Kilroy” pack, this shoe was the best of the six and also the final release. None of the colorways stayed in retail for very long, quickly turning the hype into overdrive.

    The Air Jordan 9 was never an important sneaker, considering Jordan never played in them on the first go-round, but these MJ alter-ego-inspired joints turned the 9 into a cultural icon … at least for a few months. Celebrities often wore them, and NBA players consistently rocked them on the hardwood.

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  • Air Jordan 4
    Air Jordan 4 Retro "Toro Bravo"

    Coming a few years after the Air Jordan 5 from the “Raging Bull” pack that bared the same name, this release was a sequel of sorts. With an all-red nubuck upper and black and gray accenting, it took the iconic silhouette color scheme from one of Jordan’s most famous shots — over Craig Ehlo — and flipped it. This sneaker was a classic from the moment it hit shelves, and helped usher in a new era of red Jordans. Knowing all of the 4s that eventually became popular — the aforementioned original colorway, the white/red/black edition — it’s surprising this sneaker took so long to come out.

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  • Air Jordan 14
    Air Jordan 14 Retro "Ferrari"

    The 14 exudes speed through its sleek design and Ferrari concept, yet up until this point it has stayed away from dipping too deep into the sports car inspiration. But with the grille-like carbon fiber and the perfectly executed Jumpman logo — the style, color, and shield shape are all taken straight from the Ferrari design — the shoe reeks of fast performance. If this wasn’t a lifestyle release, I’d love to see it on court. Alas, no one is going to take that chance, not with an all-suede upper that’s going to look incredibly crispy this fall.

    The “Ferrari” 14 will be one of the year’s best sneakers and I think you’ll see a wide range — both OGs and newbies — looking to cop this one on Saturday.

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  • Air Jordan XX1
  • Air Jordan 5 "Toro Bravo"
  • Air Jordan Retro III "Doernbecher"
  • Air Jordan 9 "Motorboat Jones"
  • Air Jordan 4 "Toro Bravo"
  • Air Jordan 14 "Ferrari"

In middle school and on into my early years in high school, I loved playing AAU basketball not just because I loved to hoop or because we traveled or because we had a nice squad or because we played good competition. It was also the colors.

Our first day of practice, I remember finding out the “Renegades” were going to sport a black, red, and white color scheme, with black and white-based jerseys to choose from. I lost it. A young kid like that, a Bulls fan… a Jordan fanatic? Oh, it was on. I couldn’t wait. I had grown up wearing green and white in middle school and in high school we were black, yellow, and white — technically, that black was supposed to be brown but no one was trying to rock brown and yellow — so I felt like my life was finally coming full circle.

Black and red and white? Are you serious?!

Michael Jordan’s signature Air Jordan line is what made that colorway. It transformed sneaker culture. I always image what our world would look like if Jordan had played for the Lakers or the Celtics or just about anyone else. It’s hard to say, hard to imagine when you think about how many classic Air Jordans are “Bred” colorways.

Bred is a hit no matter what shoe Jordan released it on, but in a weird twist, we rarely saw all-red J’s. Customizers eventually took it upon themselves to create their own, but that was something I always wondered about. Seeing the public’s infatuation with sneakers like the Red Octobers, why didn’t the Jordan Brand go to the all-red well more often?

This weekend, the Jordan 14 “Ferrari” is releasing at Champs Sports, a shoe that’s been in the making for over a decade. It’s going to be one of the biggest sneaker releases of the year, continuing a trend that’s now perfectly clear: sneakerheads love red shoes. Jordan should follow suit.

In anticipation of this release, we’re taking a look back at some of the best all-red releases over the years. There haven’t been many, but they almost always work.

Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney