Air Jordan Retro 3

The latest Air Jordan 3 colorway includes an Easter egg from Tinker’s original concept

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The old story goes that, after two signature shoes with Nike, Michael Jordan was contemplating leaving the brand for greener pastures in the late 80s.

Like any smart company with a once-in-a-lifetime endorser on its books, the Swoosh sprung to action, tapping former architect Tinker Hatfield to design the third iteration of the Air Jordan.

His early sketches for the AJ3 are attention-grabbing stuff from a design standpoint, particularly looking back at them more than three decades later, and the notes he wrote alongside them are simply fascinating.

One simple line-drawn image shows the internal debate on whether or not to include the Swoosh logo, as Hatfield’s note wonders, “how do we mark the Air Jordan product?” The hand-drawn shoe including the Swoosh was ultimately vetoed, but several retro releases have paid homage to that original sketch with 2018’s Air Jordan 3 ‘Tinker’ and two colorways of the Air Jordan 3 ‘JTH’ preceding the 2019 Air Jordan 3 Tinker ‘Air Max 1’ and black/reflective ‘Tinker’ releases.

His sketches and notes also broke down the inspiration for the forthcoming model: “Michael Jordan is maturing. So is his shoe,” and aimed for a “simple yet tasteful look.” There’s no questioning the success of this design brief.

Increasing the “wow” factor is the first indication of what we now know as the iconic Jumpman logo, or the “Little Man Jordan Patch” as Tinker first referred to it. And it’s hard to overlook the fact that “AJ Revolution” was floated as a potential name for the sneaker. Probably dodged a bullet there.

What does this have to do with the upcoming release? Look to the top-left corner of the sketch above and you’ll find the ankle wrapped in black denim.

That denim didn’t make it to the OG production shoe, but the fabric certainly has been incorporated on a range of Jordan colorways over the years since.

Now it makes an appearance on the forthcoming Air Jordan 3 Retro SE ‘Denim,’ a new take on the OG ‘Fire Red’ colorway. Denim covers the overlays at the toe and wrapped around the heel, and in Tinker’s iconic elephant print patterning, in sharp contrast to the otherwise white upper.

The perforated leather around the ankle pops in Fire Red to match the front lace-holes and Jumpman logos on the tongue, while the heel counters feature Nike Air branding for the purists under a translucent heel tab bearing another Jumpman logo.

Grab a low-key piece of sneaker history when the Air Jordan 3 Retro SE ‘Denim’ releases on 8/27 in Men’s and Kids’ sizes at FinishLine.com and in select stores via mobile app reservation only.

How to Purchase

– Available at FinishLine.com or in select stores via mobile app reservation on 8/27.

– To enter for a reservation of the Air Jordan 3 Retro SE ‘Denim,’ head to our mobile app. Reservations open on Monday, August 17 at 10am EST and will close on Thursday, August 20 at 11:00am EST.

*Status Members, use your Status Points to redeem extra entries to increase your chances of winning.

– Reserved pairs can be picked up in store.

– No pairs will be sold in stores on 8/27, only at FinishLine.com

– To adhere to local social distancing guidelines, we suggest picking up your shoes during designated windows of time:

11am-1pm (last names beginning with A – G)

1pm-3pm (last names beginning with H – M)

3pm-5pm (last names beginning with N – T)

5pm-7pm (last names beginning with U – Z)

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