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It’s been nearly two decades since Michael Jordan debuted a new Air Jordan shoe in the NBA, but his retirement from basketball has hardly affected the unwavering popularity of the greatest signature shoe collection of all time. Air Jordans were some of the most desirable and innovative sneaker releases of 2021 due to Jordan’s indomitable legacy, and because a new generation of creators, all inspired by “The GOAT” in one way or another, were drawn to the timeless appeal of so many Air Jordan styles throughout the last twelve months.
In 2021, classics worn by Jordan with the Bulls, like the Air Jordan 6 “Carmine,” and new school colorways designed through an artistic lens, like A Ma Maniére’s Women’s Air Jordan 3 “Raised by Women,” had an immeasurable impact on the direction of sneaker culture. As we’ve seen before, no sneaker brand is better at mixing nostalgia with hype than Jordan.
Now, as the year comes to a close, it’s time to reflect back on the best Air Jordan releases of 2021. It’s almost impossible to say which shoe is the greatest, so we improvised and picked 10 Air Jordans from 2021 that we think best represent where Jordan Brand has been, and where it’s headed into the future.
True, Michael Jordan wore a lot of great Air Jordans with the Chicago Bulls. But he also found a way to keep his footwear choices interesting on the Washington Wizards, too. One of the best sneakers Jordan wore during his tenure with the team was the Air Jordan 11 “Cool Grey.” The retro basketball shoe’s first-ever non-original colorway, the “Cool Grey'' created a frenzy in the sneaker community when it originally released in 2001 and when it was brought back in 2010. We all waited another 11 years for its next drop, but as you can see, it was worth it.