The 10 Best Air Jordan 3s of All-Time

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Released in 1987 during Michael Jordan’s first MVP season, the Air Jordan III has been labeled as one of the most significant sneakers of all time. An evolution from its predecessors, the Air Jordan 3 was a refreshing take on the Jordan series. Its signature elephant print combined with Jordan’s accomplishments in them transformed them from an on-court staple to a main-stay in all rotations.

Created by Tinker Hatfield, the Air Jordan 3 changed the entirety of the sneaker landscape. Constructed using Jordan’s recommendations for a mid-cut sneaker that would be comfortable upon wear and Hatfield’s design ability, the sneaker differentiated itself from its competitors. The sneaker is well known for several iconic design features: a visible air bubble, soft-grain leather, elephant print, and Jordan’s logo on the tongue. One of the most iconic colorways, the “Black Cement,” was worn during the 87-88 All-Star Game. Other staple colorways include the “White Cement,” “True Blue,” and “Fire Red” Air Jordan 3s. Since Jordan’s playing days and beyond, the sneaker has been produced in a multitude of colorways and iterations that have gathered love and recognition from many.

As the sneaker culture continues to expand every year, Jordan Retro 3s stay relevant in the game with continuously releases yearly as Jordan Heads continue to support with love and care for the silhouette. You can catch the Jordan 3 doing collaboration with your major sneaker store fronts around the US and also being re retroed on some iconic classics throughout the years. Make sure to keep up with the latest 3s with our Jordan release dates calendar.

Without further ado, we have ranked for you the 10 Best Air Jordan 3 colorways of all time.


10. Solefly x Air Jordan 3 Retro “Lotto” (2014)

solefly-air-jordan-3-retro-lotto
Solefly x Air Jordan 3 Retro “Lotto” AJ3-470085

The Solefly x Air Jordan 3 kept something great within the family. Miami-based Solefly is co-owned by Michael Jordan’s brother-in-law which granted the shop an immediate plug to greatness. The shoe’s color scheme takes its inspiration from State of Florida lottery tickets and the pairs released with special limited edition scratch-offs.


9. Air Jordan 3 Retro “Doernbecher” (2013)

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Air Jordan 3 Retro “Doernbecher” 437536-600b

Since the first time a retro Jordan was included in the Doernbecher Freestyle Collection, many have chased these limited pairs. The Air Jordan 3 DB was so good that it was the only pair to get a second release which drew few complaints given that all of the money went to support the children’s hospital.


8. Air Jordan 3 Retro “Hall of Fame” (2018)

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Air Jordan 3 Retro “Hall of Fame” 136064-116

While the HOF Air Jordan 3 looks like it could have been an OG it wasn’t. And it didn’t have a crying emoji associated with it either. The pair is pretty much the White/Cement colorway swapping the midsole color from black to red. Something so simple, but so clean.


7. Air Jordan 3 Retro “Mocha” (2001 & 2018)

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Air Jordan 3 Retro “Mocha” 136064-121, 136064-122

The Mocha Air Jordan 3 has had a complicated history. It was the first retro Air Jordan to release just a couple of days after the tragedy that took place on 9/11 in 2001. Just 5 days after that fateful Tuesday, the last thing on anyone’s mind was a new pair of sneakers. The shoes ended up hitting clearance racks at outlets and disappeared from the market rather quickly. A long-awaited retro came in 2018 and was received with a lukewarm response – not a good look for a coffee-flavored retro. Travis Scott and Jordan linked up on an AJ1 utilizing the Dark Mocha color and well, I’m sure you know how that played out with these and their market price. #traviseffect


6. Air Jordan 3 Retro “Cool Grey” (2007)

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Air Jordan 3 Retro “Cool Grey” 315297-062

Jordan has had a string of great Cool Grey Retros and these rank high up on that list. The first two Cool Grey drops were monochromatic, but the Cool Grey Jordan 3 was the second retro to release adding some other hues of yellow. A touch of red on the Jumpman Jordan logo was a unique touch that set these apart from the rest of what we had seen to date from Jordan Brand.


5. Air Jordan 3 Retro “Black Cat” (2007)

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Air Jordan 3 “Black Cat” 136064-002

In 2007, Jordan Brand was in its second year of taking retro Jordans to an all-white and all-black look. The All White colorway was dubbed “Pure Money” and the blacked-out pairs were known as “Black Cat” which tied in one of many nicknames for His Airness.


4. Air Jordan 3 Retro “Fire Red” (1988, 2007 & 2013)

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Air Jordan III “Fire Red” 4367, 136064-161, 136064-120

The Fire Red Air Jordan 3 was interestingly the least loved of the original four Air Jordan 3s, but still a colorway that deserves all the praise. The Fire Red colorway had a unique blocking to it with red added to the panel around the collar of the ankle that tied to the full length color on the midsole.


3. Air Jordan 3 Retro “True Blue” (2001, 2009, 2011 & 2016)

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Air Jordan 3 Retro “True Blue” 136064-141, 854262-106

The “True Blue” Air Jordan 3 was said to be created for Michael Jordan to wear in the 1988 NBA All-Star Game. While Mike wore them for a team photo shoot, he opted for the White/Cement for the free-throw line dunk and the Black/Cement for the actual All-Star Game where he snagged MVP. The 1988 NBA All-Star Weekend was a big coming-out party for Michael Jordan being played in his hometown of Chicago.


2. Air Jordan III “White Cement” (1988, 1994, 2003, 2011, 2013 & 2018)

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Air Jordan III “White Cement” 130203-101, 136064-102, 136064-105, 580775-160, 923096-101

Four words: Free-throw Line Dunk.


1. Air Jordan III “Black Cement” (1988, 1994, 2001, 2008, 2011 & 2018)

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Air Jordan III “Black Cement” 130203-001, 136064-001, 340254-061, 136064-010, 854262-001

Honorable Mentions:

Air Jordan 3 Retro Ls ‘Do The Right Thing’- Released in 2007, inspired by the 1989 Spike Lee movie “Do The Right Thing,” the Air Jordan 3 silhouette debuted in a limited lifestyle. A Brisk Blue suede upper is complemented by Brisk Blue and White overlays on the toe and heel in a classic elephant print pattern. Pro Gold coats the midsole, the bottom and upper eyelets, the inner tongue, the Jordan Jumpman emblem on the heel, and the Jordan logo on the outsole. A second Jordan Jumpman logo is positioned on the tongue in Radiant Green. White then graces the heel, ankle, inner sock liner, laces, tongue, midsole, and two-color blocks on the outsole. 

ATMOS x Air Jordan 3 Retro ‘Safari- The Jordan Brand and Atmos teamed up in 2017 to create an Air Jordan 3 and Air Max 1 Safari Pack. The Air Jordan 3 portion features a nubuck and leather upper and black side panels, toe top, laces, tongue, heel, and midsole. A safari print dark grey and white pattern coat the overlays on the toe and heel mudguards. Orange accents appear on the bottom eyelets, inner tongue, and Nike logo on the shoe’s bottom tread. The rest of the outsole is coated in translucent icy white. A green Nike Air logo sits on the back of each heel.

A-Ma Maniere x Air Jordan 3 Retro ‘Raised By Women-This is the first time A Ma Maniére has collaborated with Jordan Brand. The brand’s founder, James Whitner, designed the sneaker. The Air Jordan 3 model has a special meaning for him, as these were the first Jordans his mother bought for him and his brothers. The entire design is inspired by his mother, a strong woman. In the end, the sneaker became a tribute to all women.

Air Jordan 3 Retro ‘Kobe Pack‘- The late great Kobe Bryant was a free agent during the 2002-2003 NBA season and didn’t have commitments with any sneaker brand. During this time, Jordan Brand gifted Kobe with exclusive designs, including the Air Jordan 3 Retro ‘Kobe Bryant’ PE. The sneaker boasts iconic elephant print elements, as well as a Home White leather upper and Lakers-inspired gold and purple details on the heel, eyelets, Jumpman logo, and lining. Part of the Kobe Jordan pack, alongside an Air Jordan 8 Retro PE, these were never released to the public and only gifted to friends and family.

If there is a Mount Rushmore of Jordans and the Black/Cement Jordan 3 isn’t on there, your head has probably had a few collisions with the cement sidewalk in your lifetime. One of the greatest Jordans and sneakers OF ALL TIME.

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