The Best 2nd Colorways Of Air Jordans Of All-Time


When it comes to what released first, those are always remembered quite well. But what about the best Jordan colorways that came next in a particular model lineup? In this feature, we highlight the second-best colorways for Jordan models and in some cases as you will read, two colorways dropped for a model on the same day but many may not always remember that as one took over as the dominant ‘debut’ release. On the other hand, some of these ‘second’ colorways are now all-time favorites for a particular model and you may even forget which came first. Take a look and let us know in the comments section which ranks as your all-time favorite.

Air Jordan XVIII "Sport Royal"

Release Year: 2003
Original Colorway: Black/Sport Royal

A favorite of MJ in his playing days with the Washington Wizards, the “White Sport Royal” XVIII, with it’s Glove-like shroud, was a big departure aesthetically for the Jordan line. Though it has many detractors, if it was good enough for His Airness, it’s good enough for us.

Air Jordan XIX Black/Red

Release Year: 2004
Original Colorway: White/Flint Grey

Another case of Jordan Brand being on the bleeding edge of sneaker design is the Air Jordan XIX. Drawing design inspiration for this wild silhouette from the deadly Black Mamba snake (not the also-deadly Kobe Bryant), the Air Jordan XIX turned a lot of heads with it’s white/silver debut colorway. Things made a bit more sense a few months later when JB dropped the silo in a more familiar black/red color scheme.

Air Jordan XV "Columbia"

Release Year: 1999
Original Colorway: Black/Red

With MJ retiring for the second time after the Air Jordan XIV, all eyes were on Jordan Brand to see what they’d come up with for the XV. The transition from the Air Jordan XIV to the XV was a big jump aesthetically, and one that drew a lot of heat on both sides of the debate. Though opinions were mixed with the initial black/red colorway, this “Columbia” colorway brought it back to MJ’s roots and changed a few minds in the process.

Air Jordan XXII "Basketball Leather"

Release Year: 2007
Original Colorway: White/Red-Silver

Jordan Brand is always pushing the limits with their ingenious use of materials and a perfect example is the second colorway of the massively underrated Air Jordan XX2, the “Basketball Leather” makeup. With the NBA changing the official game ball used across the league, JB decided to roll out this callback colorway as a homage to the old ball style. Unique, innovative and most importantly, dope…this is everything we love about Jordan Brand.

Air Jordan XVII Black/Metallic Silver

Release Year: 2002
Original Colorway: “College Blue”

While the debut colorway of the Air Jordan XVII took advantage of MJ’s new Washington Wizards threads, the second drop on the silo gave us a simple, more refined look. Doing it up in a clean black/silver makeup, this colorway of the XVII is like Sriracha, it just goes with everything.

Air Jordan XVI "Midnight Navy"

Release Year: 2001
Original Colorway: Black/Red

The first colorway to drop on the Air Jordan XVI, was the always-well-received black/red makeup. But this second colorway, the “Midnight Navy”, was MJ’s first signature designed for him to wear in a non-Bulls uniform. The clear sole and the use of navy patent leather on the toe gave us a Concord-like feeling and we love it.

Air Jordan XXIII "All Star"

Release Year: 2008
Original Colorway: “Titanium”

With the initial colorway of the Air Jordan XX3, the “Titanium”, being so extremely limited (only 1,056 released), the second makeup, the “All Star”, was the first XX3 most of us were able to get our hands on. Though the “Stealth” XX3 that dropped the following week is arguably the more-popular model, utilizing that ever-familiar Bulls “Home” colorway, the All-Star XX3 felt like the first proper colorway for the silo.

Air Jordan XXI 'Red Suede'

Release Year: 2006
Original Colorway: White/Red-Silver

The Air Jordan XXI actually made it’s debut at the 2006 NBA All-Star game in two different colorways. The first, the white/black-red makeup didn’t make a noteworthy splash. It wasn’t until sneakerheads caught a look at Ray Allen’s feet did they notice these crazy red suede XX1s. Insta-hype.

Air Jordan XX "Stealth"

Release Year: 2005
Original Colorway: White/Red-Black

Though the Air Jordan XX “Stealth” dropped the same day as the “Quickstrike” colorway, we’re featuring the former because it’s the more unique colorway. Where the Quickstrike used a color scheme similar to the debut XX colorway, the Stealth gave us the black/red beauty that every Jordan signature needs. Though the silo has plenty of detractors, we feel this one is a “modern classic” and one of the best post-retirement J’s ever.

Air Jordan XII White/Varsity Red

Release Year: 1997
Original Colorway: “Taxi”

While the “Taxi” colorway was the first to make it’s debut on the Air Jordan XII, the white/red makeup dropped shortly after and brought Jordan heads back to that familiar Bulls-friendly territory. Though not the most popular colorway from the silo, the white/red XII is slept-on far too often.

Air Jordan XIV White/Red

Release Year: 1999
Original Colorway: “Black Toe”

Following instep with the traditional Jordan signature colorway schedule, the second drop of the Air Jordan XIV was a white/red makeup, now known in some circles as the “Candy Cane”. Whatever you call it, this colorway brought us the silo’s first perforated upper wrapped around one of the best performing sneakers the brand has ever seen.

Air Jordan X "Shadow"

Release Year: 1994
Original Colorway: “Steel Grey”

Another silhouette that could be represented by more than one “2nd colorway” is the Air Jordan X. Back in 94-95, Jordan release dates weren’t concrete, so shops received shipments at different times. Both the “Stealth” and “Powder Blue” Xs dropped in November 1994. We chose the “Stealth” to feature here because of it’s significant aesthetic departure from the debut colorway of the “Steel Grey” X.

Air Jordan IX "Powder Blue"

Release Year: 1993
Original Colorway: White/Black-Red

The second colorway of the Air Jordan IX, the “Powder Blue”, was an absolute banger. One of the best colorways the IX has ever seen is in desperate need of a retro. Though we did get a “University Blue” retro back in 2010, the purist in us is looking for the proper “Powder Blue” treatment.

Air Jordan II White/Black-Varsity Red

Release Year: 1987
Original Colorway: White/Red

It’s not often that a silhouette’s second colorway outpaces it’s debut in popularity, at least so resoundingly. But that’s the case with the Air Jordan II. In fact, many forget what the debut colorway even was. Sure, we agree the white/black-red colorway is a better looking sneaker than the original white/red debut, but this is just another case of the II being criminally slept-on.

Air Jordan XIII White/Black-Red

Release Year: 1998
Original Colorway: “He Got Game” White/Black-Red

One of our favorite “2nd colorways” in the entire Jordan canon isn’t without flaws of it’s own. The white/red Air Jordan XIII is a classic, but with wear, the suede often bled into the clean white leather upper. Despite that critical manufacturing flaw, these white/red XIIIs are blazing.

Air Jordan VII "Bordeaux"

Release Year: 1992
Original Colorway: “Hare”

Though they dropped around the same time as the “Hare” Jordan VIIs, we’re featuring the Air Jordan VII “Bordeaux” because of it’s unique color scheme. Back when these dropped in 1992, Jordan silohuettes didn’t see many colorways outside of the Bulls and “East All-Star” colorways (typically blue). So when the Bordeauxs dropped, they turned some heads. Who would have thought they’d still be doing that some 20+ years later?!

Air Jordan I White/Red-Black

Release Year: 1985
Original Colorway: Black/Red

As we’ve said previously, Jordan release dates, particularly those in the pre-Internet era, are very tricky to confirm. So, while these white/red-black Air Jordan Is dropped at the same time as their black/red (“Banned”) counterparts, we’re featuring them because, with all the controversy the “Banned” Is attracted, most view those as the debut colorway. Regardless of which came first, nearly 30 years after their 1985 debut, these retros sell out nearly instantly.

Air Jordan VIII "Aqua"

Release Year: 1993
Original Colorway: “Bugs Bunny” White/True Red-Flint Grey

Though the debut colorway of the Air Jordan VIII, the “Bugs Bunny” makeup was tremendously popular in it’s own right, the Aqua colorway is the one that still makes waves 20 years after it’s original release. We love it for nostalgic reasons, and the fact that it’s a “non-traditional” colorway, falling outside the Bulls/East All-Star color schemes. This one is an absolute classic.

Air Jordan VI White/Infrared

Release Year: 1991
Original Colorway: Black/Infrared

Though they debuted at the same time as their black/infrared brethren, let’s be real, when comparing the first two colorways of the Air Jordan VI, the white is a distant second to what we’re calling the debut colorway. That being said, the white/infrared is a favorite of many a sneakerhead and, with a retro slated for early 2014, this colorway is not to be slept on.

Air Jordan V Black/Silver

Release Year: 1990
Original Colorway: “Fire Red”

The black/silver colorway of the Air Jordan V dropped at the same time as the “Fire Red” makeup back in 1990. But, we chose to feature the less popular of the two to highlight just how much of a game-changer the Air Jordan V silhouette was. Still relevant nearly 25 years later, the black/silver colorway is an icon.

Air Jordan XI "Columbia"

Release Year: 1996
Original Colorway: “Concord”

Possibly the most in-demand retro request of any sneaker in the Jordan Brand vault, the Air Jordan XI “Columbia” broke some necks back in the day. Though they’re likely still doing so today, seeing as how they’ve only been retro’ed once by JB. Iconic design aside, the XI is also unique because the debut Concord was MJ’s only colorway until he brought these beauties out at the 1996 All-Star Game. If and when Jordan Brand ever retro’s these classics, it’ll be dryer than the Sahara with all the thirst.

Air Jordan IV Black/Red

Release Year: 1989
Original Colorway: White/Cement

The IV is another case of Jordan Brand dropping two colorways at the same time, but we’re featuring the black/red makeup because of the historical significance of it’s drop date brother. The first appearance of that speckled cement grey makes the white IV an icon in it’s own right. But, with it’s flawless distribution of black, red and just a hint of grey, the black/red IV is absolute perfection.

Air Jordan III "Black Cement"

Release Year: 1988
Original Colorway: White/Cement

The Black Cement Air Jordan III needs no introduction. Likely the most iconic colorway a basketball shoe has ever seen, this is line item 1 in the argument of why we love sneakers. And, though they came to retail alongside the White/Cement makeup, that infamous poster of MJ and his legendary free-throw line dunk secures those as the debut, at least in our minds. Which is why the Black/Cement Air Jordan III is the greatest “2nd colorway” of all time.


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  • bjworldstar

    Nice list! but I disagree with a few.. 13’s should have been the Bred 13’s or the Flints and the 11’s should have been the Space Jam’s but it’s all debatable and opinion’s

  • ChicoFontaine

    Great list, only thing is the bordeaux and aqua’s while “different” they still fall into the east all star color scheme as both have blue accents and both were the all star shoes for their respective models.

  • Time2ballup

    Have you seen the 2014 white/infrared VI? The infrared looks more like salmon or maybe even pink. Disgusting.


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