There’s nothing like an original, but over the years, Jordan Brand has cooked up non-OG colorway editions which now rank as many all-time favorites! We take a look back and rank the 15 best non-OG Jordan colorway releases on the first 15 models. And why stop at the first 15? With the XVI, there haven’t been any new retro colorway releases since the original drops in 2001. Be sure to take a look at the full list and let us know your favorite and which would rank as your number 1!
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Jordan XV "CDP"
Release Date: 11/15/2008
The XV never got very much love from the sneaker-buying public; that much is evident from the lack of retro – and new colorway – love for the silhouette. But, one very welcome addition came in 2008, with the release of the Jordan VIII/XV Countdown Pack. Taking the OG all black XV, and adding some Bulls-friendly red to the mix, the CDP version of the shoe just may have been the best of all.
Jordan XIV Low "Pacific Blue"
Release Date: 3/18/2006
We don’t often see new colorways on Jordan Low retros. So when we do, and they’re this dope, it’s a noteworthy release. Mimicking their release schedule of the 1998 OGs, the 2006 retro run ended with JB showing some love to the lows, with this very clean “Pacific Blue” colorway.
Jordan VIII "Chrome"
Release Date: 5/3/2003
The first non-OG colorway to hit up the VIII silhouette, is also it’s best yet. The “Chrome” VIII is clean, simple and classic. Featuring a black durabuck upper, and minimal grey/white accents, this colorway is a perfect example of the mantra “less is more.” Hopefully, JB fans will get a little more soon, as the Chrome VIII is rumored to be an upcoming retro.
Jordan X "Ice Blue"
Release Date: 6/11/2005
Jordan Brand has many go-to colorways in the vault that, over time, work their way across several different silhouettes. One of the most infamous of those colorway staples is UNC or Carolina, which we all know is a homage to His Airness’s alma mater. Though it’s been nicknamed the “Ice Blue” X, the likeness to a certain icon’s college colors can’t be denied. Ice blue, Carolina blue, whatever you call it…the first non-OG colorway of the Xs were a banger.
Jordan VII "Year of the Rabbit"
Release Date: 5/7/2011
According to the Chinese Zodiac calendar, 2011 was the “Year of the Rabbit”. And, having already retro’ed the “Hare” Jordan VIIs in a 2008 Countdown Pack, JB decided to drop a brand new colorway in celebration. Along with a similarly-themed Air Force 1 and Air Jordan 2011, the YOTR VIIs were first released in Asia, and subsequently saw a limited US release a week later.
Jordan XII White/University Blue
Release Date: 5/15/2005
Carmelo Anthony made this Carolina-esque XII quite popular when he laced them up during his 2003-04 rookie season. So, when word got out about this “University Blue” colorway’s release, fans were salty to discover it was a women’s only Valentines Day drop. With many fans of the XII cramming their feet into shoes that didn’t fit, JB threw the fellas a bone and dropped men’s sizes a few months later.
Jordan XIII PE "Ray Allen"
Release Date: 7/23/2011
Though this list might indicate otherwise, player-exclusive colorways don’t hit retail very often. So, when one comes around, particularly the exclusive of a future Hall of Famer, people take note. The Air Jordan XIII “Ray Allen” PE hit retail in only a few select locations, only adding to the hype. They may have been one of the toughest J’s to get ahold of at retail, but they are classics, plain and simple.
Jordan IX "Flint Grey"
Release Date: 5/4/2002
Like a few others on this list, the Flint IXs – a new colorway at the time – have released only once since their initial 2002 drop. Joining the ranks of supremely underrated IX colorways, this non-OG joint is one we wish would retro.
Jordan II "Melo"
Release Date: 4/24/2004
Player-exclusive colorways have facilitated the growth of an ultra-exclusive (read:ultra-expensive) niche within the Jordan market. But, this 2004 Nuggets iteration marked one of the first times a player-inspired colorway was available to the public. At only $110, the limited second release of JB’s lifestyle brand brought us this take on the much-slept-on II, and paved the way for another player-inspired entry on this list.
Jordan I Retro High "60+ DMP" Celtics
Release Date: 7/11/2009
One of many rivalries during Michael Jordan’s storied career is the matchup that pitted him against Larry Legend and the Boston Celtics. This C’s-inspired version of the Air Jordan I celebrates one particular performance from the 1986 NBA Playoffs, where MJ dropped 63 points (hence the 60+ namesake). Of the plethora of colorways that the I has seen since it’s OG run, we feel this green and black version has the look, and the back story, to take top honors.
Jordan VI "DMP"
Release Date: 1/28/2006
Celebrating MJ’s first NBA title (’91), as well as his first ring back from retirement (’96), Jordan Brand blessed the fans with the first, and most successful “Defining Moments” package to date. Bringing back the two silos MJ wore in those Finals series, JB decided to class them up with some subtle hits of gold. In doing so, not only did they create one of the best colorways of the VI, but also one of the best non-OG colorways in the entire product line.
Jordan V "Laney"
Release Date: 5/10/2000
Perched near the top of the list of all-time most desired retros, are the Jordan V “Laney”. Designed with MJ’s high school color scheme, the Laney Vs are a high watermark for non-OG colorways. And, while it has taken JB nearly 13 years to bring them back, this November sneakerheads will get their fix.
Jordan III "Mocha"
Release Date: 9/15/2001
At the time of their release, the Mocha IIIs were not an instant sellout. Though they sold well overall, they weren’t as popular as some of the other 2001 retros. However, being the first new colorway on the III silhouette (and a non-Bulls one, at that) the Mocha IIIs are a significant shoe in the Jordan Brand lineup. This colorway is also one of the most demanded retros, with 2001 being the one and only time these were released.
Jordan XI "Space Jam"
Release Date: 12/13/2000
The Air Jordan XI “Space Jam” needs no introduction. Likely the most famous non-OG colorway of all time, the Space Jams were originally produced in 1995-96 with a rumored run of only 6 pairs, with MJ wearing them in select playoff games (and, of course, his silver screen debut). Though they were not available to the sneaker-buying public until the 2000 retro, these are likely the brand’s fastest selling shoes. We all remember Holiday 2009 (the shoe’s second public release), where JB showed us they could essentially print their own money by retro’ing these. Over the years, the “Space Jam” XI has elevated itself past classic and into icon status.
Jordan IV "Undefeated"
Release Date: 6/23/2005
Oh, the UNDFTD IVs. Few sneakers have been the source of so much love and hate, simultaneously. While on one hand, it is one of the finest executions of brand collaboration to-date. While on the other, the ultra-limited numbers and raffle release format left many sneakerheads salty about that summer afternoon in 2005. Though for most of us, owning this grail is little more than a pipe dream, it is a beautiful pipe dream to have. You gotta dream big, right?