A significant number and a significant Air Jordan. The Air Jordan 23 (Air Jordan XX3 or XXIII) was the first to be part of Nike
’s “Considered” line, featuring a more environmentally friendly design that utilized far less glue than the average basketball shoe as well as recycled materials in the outsole. It was also a signature shoe in the most literal sense, with some models featuring Jordan’s initials embroidered into the upper as a monogram pattern, along with his signature on the toebox. And if that wasn’t enough, the tread pattern was based on his thumbprint, which also featured on one of the tongue tabs.
The Air Jordan 23 went back to full-length Zoom Air for cushioning, as well as a prominent carbon plate for midfoot support. A sculpted thermoplastic urethane chassis gave the shoe its shape, and also helped keep the weight down to a respectable 15 ounces. Elegant perforations in the forefoot were a nod to the dress shoes that Michael Jordan
found himself in more often that not — after all, he was 45 (years old, that is). But the cut was pure basketball performance.
This was a Tinker Hatfield
design, which was welcome news to Air Jordan aficionados everywhere who wondered how Jordan would tackle the long-anticipated 23rd model. The release was just as special as the shoe itself, as the first “Titanium Blue” colorway only was distributed to a handful of retailers, and sold for $230 (the “basic” model retailed for $185). Different colorways utilized different stitching patterns on the uppers, which added both an additional design element as well as added support. And no matter how limited the distribution, each version was that much more unique. The entire shoe simultaneously nodded towards classic dress shoe style, as well as the future of high-performance basketball footwear—not an easy task. Another Tinker-helmed masterpiece.