At this stage of the game, almost every pair of Jordan’s we see release has a backstory that leaves the sneaker industry swooning. Sometimes the hype is warranted, sometimes it isn’t. With the upcoming Air Jordan 4 in Fire Red, though, the hype surrounding the silhouette is more than deserved. 

A genuinely iconic sneaker colourway, dripping in history from the first time that MJ graced the court in these. We take a look at the illustrious backstory of the Fire Red AJ4, the retros that followed and the upcoming release that has sneakerheads around the globe going crazy. 

Where did it all begin? 

The Air Jordan 4 Fire Red first graced the shelves of sneaker stores way back in February 1989. The Chicago Bulls were on the brink of becoming one of the greatest teams in NBA history whilst Michael Jordan was beginning to carve out his place in the history books too. Jordan silhouettes that had the Bulls colours on them really caught the fans attention, hence why the Fire Red was such a vital sneaker for the growth of the Jordan Brand. 

The legendary Tinker Hatfield designed the sneaker, opting to take the Air Jordan 4 in a completely different direction. Mesh overlays featured on the lateral and medial sides of the sneaker whilst an extra-large pulla tab on the heel saw an oversized Nike Air logo feature. Jordan Brand treated fans of MJ to four iconic colourways; Black Cement, White Cement, Military Blue and the Fire Red. At this stage, all of these colourways have been re-released and re-imagined in some way. The Fire Red has seen two retros itself back in 2006 and 2012. However, this year’s version mirrors the ’89 exactly. 

The silhouette had a massive moment in pop culture too thanks to Spike Lee, who featured the sneaker in his movie Do The Right Thing. We also saw multiple adverts released to amp up the hype around the AJ4. Jordan was filmed playing a bunch of kids at basketball on a graffiti-covered court. This advertising campaign gave the Jordan 4 an urban feel and transitioned the sneaker from simply a sportswear silhouette to an everyday shoe. Now legendary posters of that Jordan campaign are some of the best Nike and Jordan have ever produced. This helped put the shoe on the map as one of Jordan’s greatest ever sneakers. 

The retros that followed 

Two renditions of this infamous silhouette have released since it first came to fruition. The first retro came in 2006, seventeen years after the OG. 

Jordan 4 Retro Fire Red Mars Blackmon, 2006

The first retro we saw of the Fire Red Air Jordan 4 was honouring Spike Lee’s legendary character from She’s Gotta Have It, Mars Blackmon. The sneaker had all the design aspects we loved from the OG Fire Red; however, this time around, we had the addition of Spike Lee’s infamous image of his face and Brooklyn cap embroidered on the heel of the sneaker. 

This rendition of the sneaker made perfect sense because Mars Blackmon was a staple in the Jordan commercials that helped drive the sneaker to the iconic status it has today. Slight similarities featured on the sneaker compared to the OG however. The heel of the shoe did not feature the Nike Air branding that sneakerheads love. This logo was swapped out for the Jumpman logo, a move that has come under criticism within the industry.  

If you were looking to add the Air Jordan 4 Fire Red Mars Blackmon to your rotation, You’d have to part ways with around £300-£400 on the resale marketplace. 

Fire Red Air Jordan 4

Jordan 4 Retro Fire Red, 2012

After we saw the release of the Mars Blackmon Air Jordan 4, it was some six years later before Jordan Brand had another crack at the Fire Red retro. Unfortunately for the avid collectors amongst us, Jordan just missed slightly when it came down to the finer details once more. 

Don’t get us wrong many of the details did reflect the OG; the tongue had the iconic flight Jumpman logo that would only ever feature on the Air Jordan 4. The colourway was virtually exact, premium white leathers set against blacks and reds just like back in ’89. As with the Blackmon version from 2006 though, the heel saw the dreaded Jumpman logo feature instead of Nike Air. The reason sneakerheads and collectors don’t rate the Jumpman logo on the heel is somewhat unclear. Is it because it makes them feel less authentic as a retro? Possibly. All we know is that this one slip up from Jordan Brand stopped this version of the Fire Red being as desirable as it could’ve been. 

On the flip side, if you now decided you wanted to add the 2012 edition to your rotation, you wouldn’t have to spend much over RRP to cop. Pairs are floating around on the resale marketplace for around the £200 mark. 

Wanting to add the 2012 version to your rotation? Click here to find your size.

Fire Red Air Jordan 4

Jordan 4 Retro Fire Red, 2020

That takes us up to this year’s release. Finally, we get an exact match of the iconic 1989 silhouette that MJ would rock on the courts. 

On what will be the AJ4’s 30th anniversary, we couldn’t think of a better time to see the Fire Red drop again. This time around the sneaker comes composed from the finest leathers, dressed mostly in white. Pops of black and red can be seen throughout the shoe, contrasting the white underlays expertly. The sneaker looks as if it has been plucked straight from Jordan’s wardrobe from back in the day. 

And at long last, sneakerheads rejoice, the branding used mirrors the OG version. Nike Air finally features on the heel instead of the oversized Jumpman logo that has been used in previous years. A Jumpman Flight logo graces the tongue of this legendary sneaker.  

Underfoot, you will find classic Nike Air technology housed within a red, white and black sole unit. Tinker Hatfield’s daring yet iconic visible air bubble of course features. Ensuring all of us know this is a true retro of the ’89 original release. 

Please make no mistake about it; this sneaker is an absolute must-cop. Who knows what tweaks Jordan Brand will make to any future release of this shoe. Be sure to add the 2020 Fire Red AJ4 to your collection whilst you still can. 

Looking for your size in the AJ4 Fire Red? Click here

The Air Jordan 4, A masterpiece

In the sneaker industry, it is easy to be overshadowed as a Jordan silhouette. This is due to the monumental success of the Air Jordan 1. Somehow though, the Air Jordan 4 holds as much significance and relevance within the industry some thirty-plus years later. The shoe finally seems to be getting the respect it deserves. From the high calibre collabs we have seen to the fact the retros now mirror the OG silhouettes we have loved for years. Do not be surprised if you start to see the Air Jordan 4’s popularity sky-rocket to the dizzying heights of the AJ1. It is long overdue. 

Talking on Jordan silhouettes, did you read our article breaking down the success of the Air Jordan 1 Mid? Click here to read now.