Air Jordan IX: RETIRING? Say It Ain’t So!!!

Air Jordan 09

Name: Air Jordan IX

Release: 1994

Designer: Tinker Hatfield with graphic design assistance from Mark Smith


On October 6, 1993 the sports world was hit by shock-waves as one of most popular sports stars in the world told the world that he was no longer going to lace up his custom made shoes and call it quits. Michael Jordan had won his 3rd NBA Championship, but at the same time had lost one of the most important people in his life. During the summer of 1993, Jordan’s father was found murdered in his car. He was his son’s number one fan and people wondered what Michael’s next move would be…

Like most Jordan fanatics I was left wondering if I had lost my on the court hero as well as my favorite sneaker line all in one shot…

Air Jordan 09

Enter the Air Jordan 9’s. It is said that Tinker modeled this sneaker to reflect Japanese simplicity. Even though this sneaker did not seem as flashy as the previous ones, it stood out just the same. This Air Jordan incorporated a new piece of technology which was the one pull lace lock system. It made the shoe very easy to lace up and use without having to spend lost of time threading the laces on the older models.

The midsole of the sneaker were made of polyurethane that resembled a tooth like design, which gave the shoe a very sturdy look. At the back of the sneaker there was a small globe like ball with a Jumpman logo embedded in it. Due to the fact that at this time Michael Jordan was considered to be an international superstar the sole of the sneaker was designed to reflect that factor. Mr. Hatfield put various statements to in different languages to showcase the appeal Jordan had around the world. They were the following statements:

Air Jordan 09


Uhuru (Swahili) – “Independence”
Cвобода (Russian) – “Freedom”
Cпорт (Russian) – “Sport”
Athletisch (German) – “Athletic”
Muundaji (Swahili) – “Hope”


Intenso (Italian) – “Intense”
Liberté (French) – “Freedom”
Anmutig (German) – “Graceful”
Fuerza (Spanish) – “Force”
Dédié (French) – “Dedicated”

This sneaker was made up of nubuck, mesh and leather. The nubuck portion of the sneaker went around the front portion of the toe as well as the back. Within it if you looked closely there were some sparkles in it as well. Just like the previous two Air Jordan models, this sneaker utilized the sock technology which something that almost become a standard amongst most shoes that were designed for sports or training in the Nike catalog.

Special Moments

Unlike any of the Air Jordans of the past the IX’s were the first of the series that he wore to play basketball in.  In fact the sport that he wore them for was baseball when he played the Birmingham Barons in February 1994 that were an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.  Though the shoe looked just the one released for basketball, Tinker had it modified specifically for baseball usage. It was that the reason for them modifying the sneaker was so that Jordan could wear something that he was familiar with.

In honor of Michael Jordan and all that he brought to the sport of basketball as well as the city of Chicago the city honored him with a statue in front of the United Centre where the Chicago Bulls played. One of the biggest questions that was asked was which shoe were they going to put on this statue? The answer…the Air Jordan IX, which was astounding to people because Michael Jordan had never played one game in the NBA in that particular sneaker. It is said that Tinker Hatfield felt that since Jordan had now become an international star around the world the Air Jordan IX best represented his current status…and who are we to argue with him?

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Sole Theory is a sneaker lifestyle guide that explores the social impact of the sneaker culture. Users can expect to gain insight on recent trends, historic brands and signature styles that have heavily influenced the shoe industry. Content will be driven by articles, interviews and reviews that will uncover interesting facts and stories that have rarely been told.