A History of Non-OG Air Jordan 3s

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The Air Jordan 3 is arguably the most iconic basketball shoe ever made. Winning over wearers from almost all style camps, the elephant-printed pair was enough to keep Mike with the Swoosh and helped launch Tinker Hatfield into a league of his own.

Like most beloved basketball models, a strong sense of originality makes new takes tougher to take to. For the past 13 years, the Air Jordan 3 has seen an array of new colorways. Some have been loved upon launch, others neglected, but over time, most have become sought after. As we approach the drop of the Air Jordan 3 “Infrared 23”, we take a look back at all the non-OG AJ3 releases.


Air Jordan 3 "Mocha"

Released: 2001

The first non-OG AJ3 drop was a risk, and not necessarily a hit. The “Mocha” 3s were a general release and the first AJ3 drop since the ’94 wave. A very L’Style oriented colorway missed the mark with Day 1 fans and came way before the retro rush we see today. The “Mocha” makeup didn’t take well to the NBA hardwood, but Fab managed to hook them up with a Browns jersey in the “Young’n (Holla Back)” video. Over time, the oddity that made these a miss in ’01 combined with their current rarity have made them a favorite among modern day fans and current artists like Macklemore and A$AP Twelvy.

“Cool Grey”

Bring 'em Back: Air Jordan 3 "Cool Grey"

Released: 2007

Despite the eternal popularity of the AJ3, fans had to wait six years before they saw another new colorway. The “Cool Grey” installment played off the successful scheme seen on the AJ9 and AJ11, opting for citrus accents over icy or smokey soles. This colorway was better received than that of the “Mochas” but not a campout classic upon launch. Absence has made the heart grow fonder on the “Cool Grey” 3s, with this pair a favorite among the Flight Club crowd, Nick Young and even Drizzy Drake.



Released: 2007

All-over elephant print before the “3LAB5” series, the “Flip” 3s took the iconic element of the third Air Jordan to new places. The concept and colorway were certainly polarizing, but arguably the best received new Air Jordan 3 makeup to date. A $150 price tag was also steep at the time, but these more or less moved at most spots.

“Do The Right Thing”

Released: 2007

The Air Jordan 3 got plenty of run in 2007. Of all the unique interpretations, the “Do The Right Thing” colorway still stands out as the boldest. Apparel loops forced some shops to pass, but like other colorways on this list, the “DTRT” has grown in popularity over time.

“Pure Money”

Air Jordan 3 Retro Pure Money

Released: 2007

From a trend standpoint, the “Pure Money” AJ3 was a little late following the white-on-white run of the early 2000s and releasing around the start of the colorful streetwear explosion. That being said, can you ever go wrong with an all-white Air Jordan 3? A patent leather mudguard and subtle elephant print on the laces added to pop to this clean colorway.

“Black Cat”

Air Jordan 3 "Black Cat"

Released: 2007

While the “Pure Money” makeup may have registered as a little late, today’s runway-rendered street fashion scene has everyone kicking themselves for passing on a pair of the “Black Cat” 3s back in ’07. Playing off MJ’s other moniker and using the same recipe as the “Pure Money” drop, this murdered out AJ3 is tough to find these days.

“Silver Anniversary”

"Silver Anniversary" Air Jordans Available Online - Air Jordan 3

Released: 2010

Utterly identical to the “Pure Money” pair, the “Silver Anniversary” makeup launched just three years later. Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the AJ line, JB elected to deck out the entire signature lineup in all-white renditions, releasing a select few. The AJ3 was a no-brainer, giving fans a second chance at some super clean 3s.


Released: 2010/2013

Across the board, the Air Jordan 3 might have made for the most coveted and admired JB x Doernbecher release. Launched originally in 2010 and again in 2013, this pair place 3M flash on an all-red upper atop an icy sole. Basically, designer Cole Johanson did work. Proceeds benefited the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital both times on this colorway inspired by strength and courage.

“Black History Month”

Air Jordan 3 Black History Month

Released: 2011

Jordan Brand celebrated the 35th anniversary of Black History Month with a special edition launch of the Air Jordan 3. Donning a black base with gold accents, this BHM 3 ditched elephant print for themed trim. This pair and collection were popular at the time of release.


Air Jordan 3 Stealth

Released: 2011

Shades of grey surfaced once again on the “Stealth” Air Jordan 3. Darker and less busy than the “Cool Grey” version, this grey driven pair pulled from Chicago themed accents. These weren’t a smash hit upon launch, but will likely garner more interest as time goes by.

“Black Flip”

Air Jordan 3 "Black Flip"

Released: 2011

Dropping the same season as the Black/Cement 3s, the “Black Flip” foray used the same formula as the first “Flip” 3s. All-black leather construction made for a toned down look, with the higher end composition making for a higher price tag.


Released: 2013

After taking time off in 2012, the Air Jordan 3 returned to the retro rotation in 2013. The “Joker” installment coincided with the brand’s All-Star Weekend releases, sporting a black base with bright purple and green hits on the outsole, tongue and lining.

“Bright Crimson”

Air Jordan 3 Bright Crimson 136064-005

Released: 2013

Super similar to that of the “Joker” drop, the “Bright Crimson” colorway of the Air Jordan 3 relied on a black base with pop accents. A 3M tongue and mudguard added to the excitement for better or worse depending on style on this 2013 launch.


Released: 2013

The Air Jordan 3 proved the hardest pair to find from the much acclaimed “Fear” Pack. Going back to grey, this pair sported orange accents, similar to the “Cool Grey” colorway, in suede fashion.

“Powder Blue”

Released: 2014

Super saturated, the Air Jordan 3 “Dark Powder Blue” completely covered the upper in the deep topic tone. An all-blue AJ3 was a first, coinciding with the colorway of the OG Air Jordan 10 drop and other JB releases.

“Infrared 23”

Released: 2014

The newest non-OG Air Jordan 3 may appear the most like an OG of any of the previous pairs. Sporting a white upper and classic cement print, this rendition relies on black leather accents and infrared eyelets.

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