Non-Original Gangsters: Top 50 Retro Jordan Colorways

Non-Original Gangsters: Top 50 Retro Jordan Colorways

The recent “Cool Grey” Air Jordan 11 release sparked the conversation: what is the best non-original colorway? When retro Jordans became the “it” sneakers near the turn of the millenium many JB loyalists scoffed at the thought of new colorways. While OG makeups still garner their deserved share of attention, sneakerheads have come around to the new renditions, case in point the Air Jordan 11 “Cool Grey”. The past decade plus has seen numerous new colorways, but the braintrust at Nice Kicks has counted it down to the 50 best. From various “Cool Grey” releases to shoes inspired by Mike’s alma matter and interests, all were considered. Which pair took the number one spot? Click through to find out.

**Note: Excludes PEs and rarities that went unreleased to the public.

50. Air Jordan 4 White/Navy

[caption id=”attachment_139969” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 4 White/Navy”]Air Jordan 4 White/Navy[/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 4
Color: White/Columbia Blue-Midnight Navy
Released: 1999

The first ever non-OG retro release starts our list.

49. Air Jordan 13 “Neutral Grey”

[caption id=”attachment_139968” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 13 “Neutral Grey”“]Air Jordan 13 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 13
Color: White/Neutral Grey
Released: 2005

Subtle tones and the no-bleed factor made these outlast the “Team Red” pair that dropped the same day.

48. Air Jordan 7 “Miro”

[caption id=”attachment_139967” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 7 “Miro”“]Air Jordan 7 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 7
Color: White/Sport Red-Black-Metallic Gold aka “Miro”
Released: 2008

The Barcelona Olympic inspired AJ 7s go hard in the paint.

47. Air Jordan 14 Black/University Blue

[caption id=”attachment_139966” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 14 Black/University Blue”]Air Jordan 14 Black/Carolina[/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 14
Color: Black/University Blue-Metallic Silver
Released: 2006

A nice alternative to the standard Carolina motif.

46. Air Jordan 8 “Sugar Ray”

[caption id=”attachment_140453” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 8 “Sugar Ray”“]Air Jordan 8 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 8
Color: Black/Stealth-Clover aka “Sugar Ray”
Released: 2008

The Boston colorway should clue you in that this HOH exclusive was made for Jesus Shuttlesworth and not Mark McGrath.

45. Air Jordan 14 Graphite/Chartreuse

[caption id=”attachment_139964” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 14 Graphite/Chartreuse”]Air Jordan 14 Graphite/Chartreuse[/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 14
Color: Light Graphite/Chartreuse-Black
Released: 2005

Grey bases, suede uppers, and bright green accents dominated 2010. 5 years ahead of their time?

44. Air Jordan 5 Black/University Blue

[caption id=”attachment_139963” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 5 Black/University Blue”]Air Jordan 5 Black/University Blue[/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 5
Color: Black/University Blue-Silver
Released: 2006

Never can go wrong with 5s, proving that contrast stitching could work on Jordans.

43. Air Jordan 13 Low Black/Lightning

[caption id=”attachment_139962” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 13 Low Black/Lightning”]Air Jordan 13 Low Black/Lightning[/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 13 Low
Color: Black/Metallic Silver-White-Varsity Maize
Released: 2005

Nobody beats the Wiz, and few low tops beat the 13.

42. Air Jordan 7 “Magic”

[caption id=”attachment_139961” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 7 “Magic”“]Air Jordan 7 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 7
Color: DMP 60+ aka “Magic”
Released: 2009

Simply put, the Air Max Penny 1 carried over to an Air Jordan. Don’t hate the package, hate the game.

41. Air Jordan 3 “Doernbecher”

[caption id=”attachment_139960” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 3 “Doernbecher”“]Air Jordan 3 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 3
Color: Varsity Red/Metallic Silver-Black aka “Doernbecher”
Released: 2010

Red upper, icy sole, great cause.

40. Air Jordan 4 “Mist Blue”

[caption id=”attachment_139907” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 4 “Mist Blue”“]Air Jordan 4 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 4
Color: Mist Blue/University Blue-Gold Leaf-White aka “Mist Blue”
Released: 2006

JB struck gold with this Melo inspired makeup.

39. Air Jordan 8 “Chrome”

[caption id=”attachment_139905” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 8 “Chrome”“]Air Jordan 8 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 8
Color: Black/Chrome aka “Chrome”
Released: 2003

How do you compose a new colorway for a shoe so beloved for its original makeups? Keep it simple.

38. Air Jordan 11 Low “Red Patent”

[caption id=”attachment_139902” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 11 Low “Red Patent”“]Air Jordan 11 Low [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 11 Low
Color: White/Varsity Red aka “Red Patent”
Released: 2001

The newly designed 11 low couldn’t keep up with their midtop counterparts when they released. We’re pretty sure they’d sell now.

37. Air Jordan 6 “DMP”

[caption id=”attachment_139901” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 6 “DMP”“]Air Jordan 6 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 6
Color: Black/Metallic Gold aka “DMP”
Released: 2006

The first ever package still stands tall as the best.

36. Air Jordan 4 “Cool Grey”

[caption id=”attachment_139900” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 4 “Cool Grey”“]Air Jordan 4 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 4
Color: Cool Grey/Chrome-Dark Charcoal-Varsity Maize aka “Cool Grey”
Released: 2004

The most wearable Jordan in the most popular colorway not associated with Chi-Town.

35. Air Jordan 8 “Q-Rich”

[caption id=”attachment_140458” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 8 “Q-Rich”“]Air Jordan 8 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 8
Color: White/Blue Ribbon-Orange Flash
Released: 2008

Readers get teased all the time with rare Q-Rich PEs popping up on eBay for outlandish prices, but this pair actually released. Can we get more Knicks’ colorways?

34. Air Jordan 3 “Cool Grey”

[caption id=”attachment_139895” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 3 “Cool Grey”“]Air Jordan 3 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 3
Color: Silver/Sport Red-Light Graphite-Orange Peel aka “Cool Grey”
Released: 2007

A little more neutral and these would have gone top 10.

33. Air Jordan 2 “Va$htie”

[caption id=”attachment_139894” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 2 “Va$htie”“]Air Jordan 2 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 2
Color: Lavender/Deep Purple aka “Va$htie”
Released: 2010

Ladies love cool Js.

32. Air Jordan 12 “French Blue”

[caption id=”attachment_139893” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 12 “French Blue”“]Air Jordan 12 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 12
Color: French Blue – Metallic Silver – Varsity Red aka “French Blue”
Released: 2004

Maybe now we’ll call it “Freedom Blue”.

31. Air Jordan 6 Low “Uni Blue”

[caption id=”attachment_139892” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 6 Low “Uni Blue”“]Air Jordan 6 Low [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 6 Low
Color: White/University Blue aka “Uni Blue”
Released: 2002

Tar Heel blue graduated to a low top.

30. Air Jordan 5 “Sunset”

[caption id=”attachment_139883” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 5 “Sunset”“]Air Jordan 5 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 5
Color: White/Fire Red-Sunset-Dark Cinder aka “Sunset”
Released: 2006

Girls won, guys lost.

29. Air Jordan 11 “DMP”

[caption id=”attachment_139882” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 11 “DMP”“]Air Jordan 11 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 11
Color: White/Gold-Black aka “DMP”
Released: 2006

No topping the original, but still a great take.

28. Air Jordan 5 “Olive”

[caption id=”attachment_139881” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 5 “Olive”“]Air Jordan 5 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 5
Color: Olive/Oiled Suede-Flight Satin aka “Olive”
Released: 2006

Not quite Undefeated, but hardly an L.

27. Air Jordan 11 Low “Columbia”

[caption id=”attachment_139880” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 11 Low “Columbia”“]Air Jordan 11 Low [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 11 Low
Color: White/Columbia Blue aka “Columbia”
Released: 2001

Makes us wonder what a mid would look like…

26. Air Jordan 1 Patent Black/Gold

[caption id=”attachment_139879” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 1 Patent Black/Gold”]Air Jordan 1 Patent Black/Gold[/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 1
Color: Black/Metallic Gold
Released: 2003

The best of the all-patent-everything AJ 1s.

25. Air Jordan 7 “French Blue”

[caption id=”attachment_139878” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 7 “French Blue”“]Air Jordan 7 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 7
Color: White/French Blue-Flint Grey aka “French Blue”
Released: 2002

Releasing the same day as the OG “Raptor” colorway made these a sleeper.

24. Air Jordan 12 “Melo”

[caption id=”attachment_139877” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 12 “Melo”“]Air Jordan 12 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 12
Color: White/University Blue–Metallic Silver aka “Melo”
Released: 2004

Ladies first, gents second, everybody happy.

23. Air Jordan 9 “Bin 23”

[caption id=”attachment_139876” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 9 “Bin 23”“]Air Jordan 9 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 9 Premio
Color: White/Metallic Gold aka “Bin 23”
Released: 2010

The “Greatest Show on Turf” provided inspiration for the greatest Bin 23.

22. Air Jordan 6 “Motorsports”

[caption id=”attachment_139875” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 6 “Motorsports”“]Air Jordan 6 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 6
Color: White/Black aka “Motorsports”
Released: 2010

Mike’s love of racing plus everyone’s love of elephant print equaled a great colorway.

21. Air Jordan 5 “Burgundy”

[caption id=”attachment_139874” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 5 “Burgundy”“]Air Jordan 5 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 5
Color: Deep Burgundy/Lt Graphite-Silver aka “Burgundy”
Released: 2006

Stay classy AJ 5.

20. Air Jordan 3 “Flip”

[caption id=”attachment_139871” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 3 “Flip”“]Air Jordan 3 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 3
Color: White/Chrome-Black aka “Flip”
Released: 2007

Elephantiasis of the sneaker.

19. Air Jordan 10 “Ice Blue”

[caption id=”attachment_139869” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 10 “Ice Blue”“]Air Jordan 10 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 10
Color: White/Obsidian/Ice Blue/Varsity Red aka “Ice Blue”
Released: 2005

A star studded 2005 North Carolina team won it all in this sneaker.

18. Air Jordan 9 “Cool Grey”

[caption id=”attachment_139867” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 9 “Cool Grey”“]Air Jordan 9 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 9
Color: Medium Grey/White/Cool Grey aka “Cool Grey”
Released: 2002

The sequel to the 11s of the same theme was still a blockbuster.

17. Air Jordan 11 Low “Snake”

[caption id=”attachment_139865” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 11 Low “Snake”“]Air Jordan 11 Low [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 11 Low
Color: White/Black-Navy aka “Snake”
Released: 2001

The only cure for ophiophobia.

16. Air Jordan 7 “Citrus”

[caption id=”attachment_139864” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 7 “Citrus”“]Air Jordan 7 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 7
Color: Black/Citrus-Varsity Red aka “Citrus”
Released: 2006

An Oak Hill colorway everyone prepped for.

15. Air Jordan 4 “Oreo”

[caption id=”attachment_139861” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 4 “Oreo”“]Air Jordan 4 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 4
Color: Black/Black-Cool Grey aka “Oreo”
Released: 1999

11 years later and this colorway is still getting milked.

14. Air Jordan 12 “Nubuck”

[caption id=”attachment_139863” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 12 “Nubuck”“]Air Jordan 12 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 12
Color: Black/University Blue aka “Nubuck”
Released: 2003 and 2009

Fans that passed on the pinwheel and hoody pack years ago got redeemed on this re-retro, a breakthrough for non-OG colorways.

13. Air Jordan 3 “Mocha”

[caption id=”attachment_139862” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 3 “Mocha”“]Air Jordan 3 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 3
Color: White/Dark Mocha aka “Mocha”
Released: 2001

Starbucks collab? No. Hot? Yes

12. Air Jordan 9 “French Blue”

[caption id=”attachment_139860” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 9 “French Blue”“]Air Jordan 9 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 9
Color: White/French Blue/Flint Grey aka “French Blue”
Released: 2002

Whether you call these the “Flint Grey” or “French Blue” 9s is debatable. Whether these are the best of ALL Air Jordan 9s is also up for grabs.

11. Air Jordan 1 “Levis”

[caption id=”attachment_139858” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 1 “Levis”“]Air Jordan 1 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 1
Color: Jordan 23/501 Denim Pack aka “Levis”
Released: 2008

Classic brands, classic collaboration.

10. Air Jordan 2 “Melo”

[caption id=”attachment_139857” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 2 “Melo”“]Air Jordan 2 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 2
Color: White/Columbia Blue-Varsity Maize aka “Melo”
Released: 2004

This mile high AJ 2 caused mile long lines.

9. Air Jordan 4 “Laser”

[caption id=”attachment_139856” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 4 “Laser”“]Air Jordan 4 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 4
Color: Black/Varsity Red-Medium Grey Laser aka “Laser”
Released: 2005

The best “Laser” Jordan retro, word to Mini-Me.

8. Air Jordan 13 “Altitude”

[caption id=”attachment_139854” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 13 “Altitude”“]Air Jordan 13 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 13
Color: Black/Altitude Green aka “Altitude”
Released: 2005 and 2010

The uber-limited first release had some sneakerheads calling it quits, the revamped re-retro saw it stand tall in a season full of high profile releases.

7. Air Jordan 6 “Olympic”

[caption id=”attachment_139853” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 6 “Olympic”“]Air Jordan 6 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 6
Color: Midnight Navy/Varsity Red/White
Released: 2000

When new retro colorways were getting serious hate patriotism prevailed.

6. Air Jordan 5 “Toro Bravo”

[caption id=”attachment_139851” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 5 “Toro Bravo”“]Air Jordan 5 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 5
Color: “Toro Bravo” Pack- Red
Released: 2009

The 3M pair was straight, but it was the red suede makeup that had ‘heads everywhere paying package prices for really one pair of shoes.

5. Air Jordan 11 Low “Citrus”

[caption id=”attachment_139852” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 11 Low “Citrus”“]Air Jordan 11 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 11 Low
Color: White/Citrus aka “Citrus”
Released: 2001

The first time JB had fresh guys shopping in the ladies department, the “Citrus” lows hold up as a cult classic.

4. Air Jordan 4 “UNDFTD”

[caption id=”attachment_139850” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 4 “UNDFTD”“]Air Jordan 4 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 4
Color: Olive-Oiled Suede-Flight Satin aka “UNDFTD”
Released: 2005

Shop collaborations and flight jacket inspired sneakers are nothing new in 2010, but both were new in 2005. A half decade later these hold the test of time and have surpassed the hype.

3. Air Jordan 5 “Laney”

[caption id=”attachment_139849” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 5 “Laney”“]Air Jordan 5 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 5
Color: White/Varsity Royal/Varsity Maize aka “Laney”
Released: 2000

One man, one shoe, one high school, paved the way for every Lower Merion, SVSM, and Oak Hill sneaker to come.

2. Air Jordan 11 “Cool Grey”

[caption id=”attachment_139848” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 11 “Cool Grey”“]Air Jordan 11 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 11
Color: Medium Grey/White-Cool Grey aka “Cool Grey”
Released: 2001 and 2010

One re-release had every other brand playing follow the leader for a whole year and saw Jordan once again owning the fourth quarter.

1. Air Jordan 11 “Space Jam”

[caption id=”attachment_139847” align=”aligncenter” width=”620” caption=”Air Jordan 11 “Space Jam”“]Air Jordan 11 [/caption]

Model: Air Jordan 11
Color: Black/Varsity Royal-White aka “Space Jam”
Released: 2000 and 2009

MJ may have worn this makeup during the original launch, but this Tune Squad PE didn’t officially release til the retro roll out in 2000. Nostalgic colorway and a second release saw two blink-of-the-eye sellouts and casual fans attaching the nickname to the entire model. Simply, #1. That’s all folks!

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  • Notes: 9
  • Posted: 28 December 2010

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