Back in the late '80s, most basketball players wore hightops. It's not that lows and mids didn't exist - they certainly did - but the prevailing thought was that basketball shoes should be higher cut. The Air Jordan III did for midcuts what the recent Kobe line has done for lows. It didn't create something entirely new, but it attached the biggest name in the game to a yet-unproven (to many) design concept. Hightops didn't stop, but people became aware of the alternative.
First Air Jordan To Feature Mid-Cut Design