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Air Jordan X
Year released: 1994
Designer: Tinker Hatfield
Most Popular Colorways: Chicago, UNC, Steel Grey, Shadow Black
First Retroed: 2005
One would think that designing a signature sneaker for a player that wasn’t in the league anymore might leave Tinker with a lack of inspiration. The Xs came out really nice though, with ghilly lacing, Jordan's accomplishments listed on the outsole, and numerous colorways to represent different cities in the NBA. They were worn by guys like Kendall Gill, Nick Anderson, Harold Miner and Hubert Davis, though, which just wasn't the same.
Michael Jordan himself was disappointed with how the Jordan X originally ended up since he was not consulted on the final design as he normally was. When Hatfield finally tracked him down to show him the Xs, Michael responded “I don’t like it and you need to change it.” Hatfield had added a strip of leather across the toe, something that hadn't been on an Air Jordan since the V. Hatfield got on the horn the next day and had alterations made for the ensuing colorways after Jordan told Tinker (jokingly, we think) that he would make up the financial difference if they didn't sell as well as his previous models. Even the retro version of the "Steel Grey" Xs featured a clean toe. Mike is always right.
The Jordan X even dropped in a cleated version for baseball enthusiasts that were ready to be like Mike (hopefully with a better batting average) on the diamond, but with baseball on strike it meant another career change for MJ. “I’m back” was the headline on almost every national publication after Michael Jordan returned to the league wearing the 4-5 on March 18, 1995. Jordan played impressive even after being off a year and a half (ask the Knicks about that double-nickel), but the Bulls fell short to the Shaq- and Penny-led Orlando Magic in the Conference Semis. Either way, everyone was just glad that Mike was back in the building—well, maybe not everyone.