Introducing the Air Jordan 17 and the Return of a Legend

Jordan 17 Solefly

While the Air Jordan 16 embraced the dichotomy of Michael Jordan, the then-retired player and businessman, the Air Jordan 17 was the first shoe designed for him since his return to the NBA.

Michael Jordan may not have been the same fiery young player he once was, but he was far from washed-up. In reality, his skill set and abilities had aged gracefully. During his career, MJ had developed an arsenal of moves and a high basketball IQ that deemed him one of the greatest improvers on the court.

The aim of the Air Jordan 17 was to fully represent where Jordan was in his career and life as a seasoned basketball player and living future-Hall-of-Famer.

Air Jordan 17's Top-Tier

Performance Specifications

The Air Jordan XVII wasn't just about dazzling design and slick packaging. Smith didn't hold back on performance and packed the shoe with a host of upgrades:

  • Premium leather upper that's easy to clean
  • Lightweight, stable design that enabled a multi-dimensional or explosive player like Mike to wear them without compromising support and comfort
  • Wide squared toe box for roomier comfort
  • Herringbone traction pads on the foot's pressure points
  • Carbon fiber shank plate for superb lateral support
  • Large Air unit in the TPU heel, Zoom Air unit in the forefoot
  • Removable midfoot cover to either hide or show the lacings
Jordan 17 all star white lightning black

Record Retail Pricing

for Air Jordans

The Air Jordan 17 was the most advanced Air Jordan of its time, and its price reflected that. On the heels of the Air Jordan 16's $160 retail price, the Air Jordan 17 hit the shelves at a hefty price tag of $200. Its improved performance technology, fancy packaging and bonus CD made the AJ 17 the most expensive Air Jordan to date.

Despite all that it offered, many sneakerheads found it hard to justify the cost when retros like Playoff 9s, Raptor 7s and other new and exciting colorways were releasing for $125 or less.

Jordan 17 retro

Original Air Jordan

17 Colorways

Unlike every other Air Jordan that debuted in some variation of black and red or white and red, the Jordan Brand changed things up to coincide with MJ's new Washington Wizards uniform.

In February 2002, the AJ 17 launched in a White/College Blue colorway, and Black/Metallic Silver 17s followed a month later. Fans yearning for a Bulls-like colorway had to wait until July of that year for the White/Varsity Red colorway.

Jordan 17 college blue

For its next release in Copper, the brand tweaked the 17's design, eliminating the lace cover and adding faux crocodile detailing on the tongue and heel.

Jordan 17 trophy room

Over the course of the year, the Air Jordan 17 Low (which was more like a mid with an inner bootie construction) got released in three colors, the most popular being Lightning, which MJ wore in the 2002 NBA All-Star Game.

Jordan 17 3

Also worth mentioning is an oddball slide-on shoe called the Air Jordan 17 Mule. Though it didn't get sneakerheads excited, its legacy lives on, and it's now considered a collector's item, especially if you can find a deadstock version.

Jordan 17 low lightning

Collectability and Resale

of the Air Jordan 17

Although the price seemed astonishing at the time, the Air Jordan 17 has undoubtedly become one of the most collectable post-Bulls era silhouettes. The shoe is remarkably designed and packaged, both of which appeal to collectors. Today, the CD and briefcase are pieces of nostalgia that can only be matched by picking up one of the original three colorways from 2002.

Depending on the size, condition and whether the CD/suitcase combo are included, OG Jordan 17s can sell for more than double or close to triple their original price. If you can't find a pair of those, consider a Copper AJ 17+ or a low-top style, which both typically sell at or below their original retail prices.

Jordan 17 black

AJ 17's Smooth, Jazzy Design

Designed by Wilson Smith III, the Air Jordan 17 drew inspiration from jazz music, a genre as smooth, elegant and graceful as Jordan's game. Much like MJ's abilities on the court, the greatest jazz musicians boast an exceptional foundation of skills and experience that allows them to improvise in their respected art.

While the jazz theme symbolizes the shoe in its entirety, the most apparent styling cue is in the musical notes on the lace cover. The notes signify the melody to the lyrics "Michael Jordan, greatest to ever play the game" from jazz artist Mike Phillips' song entitled,"The Greatest."

Jordan 17 black gym red

Further improvising the jazz theme, the shoes came packaged in a large briefcase, similar to what a traveling musician would carry. It included a CD-ROM featuring behind-the-scenes content about the sneaker's design and performance attributes—with smooth jazz playing in the background.

Another inspiration for the Air Jordan 17's refined upper was the sleek yet luxurious lines of the Aston Martin sports car. The lace eyelets were reminiscent of the vehicle's aggressive fender vents. The metallic silver heel cup represented the brushed aluminum finish on the car's interior trim and the premium leather upper mimicked its high-quality leather seats.

Retro Releases: Readily Available or Rare to Find

The Air Jordan 17 hasn't seen much retro play over the years. The first retro came along in 2008 in the 6/17 Countdown Pack, and a handful of releases followed:

  • The AJ 17 Copper 17+, rereleased in 2018 for $250, found competition from more collectable shoes like AJ 1s, 3s, and 11s that are more affordably priced at $160 to $220.
  • The Bred 17+ in classic black with red accents was also released in 2018.
  • Trophy Room and SoleFly collaborations are the most notable Air Jordan 17 retros— and very rare to find. The Trophy Room collaboration, with a full suede upper and a $323 retail price, and the SoleFly collaboration that paid homage to the original Lightning low-top that MJ wore during the 2002 All-Star Game, are limited to 4,500 and 2,300 pairs, respectively.

Jordan 17

Jordans Release Dates, News and Articles

Attention all sneakerheads and basketball fans! Read all about the oldest and latest Jordan releases on the eBay Sneaker Hub. From iconic retro styles to new collaborations, you'll find everything you need to know to complete your Jordan collection.