The Air Jordan IV Almost Looked Like a Completely Different Sneaker

Things could've been a lot different.

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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The "White/Cement" Air Jordan IV makes it return this weekend with a retro that's closer to the O.G. than it's been in nearly two decades, but a look at the original sketch from 1988 shows that it could've been much different than the sneaker we remember so fondly today.

@j23app shared this image of Tinker Hatfield's original Jordan IV sketch, which is on display at 306 Yonge this weekend. The sketch is dated March 20, 1988 and features many of the same design elements as the final product, but there's one major difference around the toe.

Based on Hatfield's notation, it looks like the toe guard/mudguard area almost had a "zebra embossed" durabuck overlay, which sounds like it would've been similar to the elephant print of the Air Jordan III. Additionally, the breathable mesh area on the tongue extends to the top in this sketch.

As for the rest of the shoe, it looks unchanged for the most part. There's the visible Air unit, molded heel logo, lockdown "wings" — called "lightweight tech straps" here — and many more of the things we're used to seeing on the AJ IV. 

The "White/Cement" Air Jordan IV Retro drops tomorrow for $220.