Originally released in 1987, the Air Jordan 2 was designed as a joint effort by Peter Moore and Bruce Kilgore, the men behind the Air Jordan 1 and Nike Air Force 1, respectively. The Jordan 2’s sleek design was not quite like any basketball shoe before it, blending performance and luxurious style. Luxury was indeed the goal with the silhouette. It was made in Italy with premium leather, complete with faux iguana skin on the quarter panels. The Jordan 2 was also the first Nike shoe ever released without Swoosh branding, with the intent to let the Air Jordan line speak for itself and become its own singular brand. Obviously, that goal was eventually achieved, and it all started right here.
The Jordan 2’s historic importance as the catalyst for Jordan Brand to exist parallel to Nike can’t be disputed, but the design has still struggled to become a darling of the retro-loving community. There’s no clear answer to why it’s not as beloved as many other Air Jordans, but its impact and influence on later models is obvious, from the minimal branding to the iguana skin paneling that seems to foreshadow the even more exotic-looking elephant print of the Air Jordan 3.
If your collection is missing the Air Jordan 2 and you’re now convinced you need a pair, we’re here to help with a handy curated selection of all the best colorways of Mike’s second signature model currently available here at Stadium Goods. After a look at these ten strong releases, we hope you’ll appreciate the model at least a little bit more. Quit sleeping, and pick up a pair right now.
There’s no better place to start with the Air Jordan 2 than its most iconic original colorway, featuring a Chicago Bulls color scheme in white, black, and red. Did you know there was no original black-based colorway of the Jordan 2? This is as close as it got in ’87, with a black midsole, laces, and accents. The most memorable moment of this colorway was Jordan winning his first All-Star Slam Dunk Contest in the shoe in 1987. It’s definitely time for another retro, but you can pick up the 2004 release while it’s still here.
From there we go to the other must-have OG colorway of the Jordan 2, featuring a similar but overall lighter color scheme than the black-accented version. Often referred to as the “Home” colorway, Jordan wore this version for most Bulls home games in the 1986-87 season.
The Air Jordan 2 also holds a special place in sneaker history as the first Air Jordan model released in the annual and always anticipated Doernbecher Freestyle Collection, the annual collection of Nike models given special colorways by patients at the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon. This awesome design by Sheridan Brenton from 2007 was the first Doernbecher Jordan. The shoe features a luxe construction in black with yellow trim and a stylized paisley print in green. A callout to a bible verse near and dear to Sheridan, Proverbs 8:28, is embroidered on the tongue. This rare release is now one of the most coveted Air Jordan 2s of all time.
Which takes us to what is definitely the most coveted Air Jordan 2 of all time, the “Legends of Summer” colorway produced exclusively for Justin Timberlake for his 2013 tour with Jay-Z. The stunning rendition features an all-red treatment in suede, metallic snakeskin, shiny quarter panels, and a translucent rubber outsole. Simply beautiful.
Building on the concept of luxury associated with the original Air Jordan 2, high-end streetwear guru Don C crafted the Air Jordan 2 in an ultra-premium construction. His take on the Jordan 2 features a buttery-soft quilted leather upper with suede detailing. It’s been released in a few colorways, including royal blue and a soft pink version exclusively for girls, but many consider this sandy tan “Beach” version to be the best.
Without question, one of the best Air Jordan 2 colorways is this clean look originally designed for Carmelo Anthony as a player exclusive in his Denver Nuggets team colors back in 2004. Luckily for Air Jordan fans, the baby blue and yellow version finally came back and released at retail last year to celebrate Melo’s 15th year with the brand.
In 2016 Jordan Brand dropped this special edition of the Air Jordan 2 inspired by an original print advertisement for the shoe from 1987 that included a photo of the shoe with the headline “Wing It.” Replicating the black and white ad, the shoe features a white leather upper with black and grey accents. A croc skin texture adds the perfect final touch.
It’s become a tradition for Jordan Brand to release special edition sneakers every year for the Quai 54 streetball tournament in Paris, France. In 2016 the Air Jordan 2 got the special treatment for the event, featuring a premium look in Light Bone leather with shining metallic gold accents. A translucent white outsole with the Quai 54 “Q” logo visible underneath was the icing on the cake for this outstanding edition of the Jordan 2.
The Jordan 2 received this vibrant “University Blue” colorway in 2010, inspired by Jordan’s college days at the University of North Carolina. The simple yet effective look illustrates how we simply need more Jordan 2 retro colorways in general. Or at least another release of this one.
We’ll finish things off with another original version of the shoe that many people forget about, or maybe don’t even know exist, despite the fact that Jordan actually wore them on court. The iconic white, red, and black colorway also released in this low-top edition in 1987, and was worn by MJ for a few games in his third season. It’s hard to say when, or if, these will release again, so add this 2016 retro of the small piece of Air Jordan history to your collection while you still have a chance.