Introducing Air Jordan 23: The Legendary Number
Michael Jordan and the number 23 are forever linked, so it's no surprise that the Air Jordan's 23rd iteration would be more than just another sneaker. The Jordan Brand truly elevated its shoe design and manufacturing game to make the XX3 a triple threat of performance, style and sustainability.
The Air Jordan 23 Design:
MJ's Signature Stamp
MJ's Signature Stamp
The OG Air Jordan XX3 was released in early 2008, followed by a retro version in late 2015. The XX3s are also referred to as the AJ XX3, XXIII or the 23. Once again, the Jordan Brand entrusted Tinker Hatfield to develop the concept, lead the design team and bring the sneaker to life. The directive was clear—create the most innovative basketball shoe ever designed using environmentally preferred materials and manufacturing processes.
The XX3 was the first shoe developed under the Nike Considered design ethos, which formalized the company's effort to adopt sustainable, responsible manufacturing and business practices. The XX3's design reduced waste in production, minimized the use of chemicals and glues with adverse environmental impact and incorporated responsibly sourced materials such as recycled Nike Grind rubber. Every pair of XX3s included a DVD containing interviews with MJ, Hatfield and designer Mark Smith discussing the process and strategy behind the shoe.
Michael Jordan said, "The AIR JORDAN XX3 is deeply meaningful to me, as a celebration of both my life and career. The number 23 is obviously of great significance to me, and the release of the XX3 is a pinnacle moment in the Brand's history." These are some of the special details that went into the XX3:
- "23" on the left shoe's tongue and the Jumpman logo on the right
- Jordan's signature is all over the design, literally—his thumbprint appears on the back of the tongue, his fingerprint serves as the mold for the pattern on the outsole and his written signature is inscribed on the toe cap
- The upper features an intricate MJ stitching pattern created with a Nike-exclusive 3D stitching machine revolutionized when the shoe was first developed in 2008
Why is "23"
Michael Jordan first wore the number 23 on his high school jersey. His favorite number, 45, had already been claimed by his older brother, Larry. MJ divided his preferred number in half and then rounded it up to 23. Since then, he wore 23 in virtually every game of his career—from high school at Emsley A. Laney HS in Wilmington, NC, through his days as a Tar Heel at the University of North Carolina to his run with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. When Jordan abruptly retired from basketball in 1993, the Bulls retired his iconic number. When he returned, MJ briefly donned the number 45, which he also wore with the White Sox before returning to the legendary number 23.
Brilliant Colors Set the AJ XX3 Apart
In 2008, the OG AJ XX3 was released in 11 colorways, including white. The three most notable are:
- White/Titanium–University Blue. Only 1,058 pairs of this colorway were issued, making it among the rarest of the OG versions
- Finale Black/Varsity Red. Just 520 pairs were released and sold out immediately
- The All-Star White/Black–Varsity Red. Released during All-Star Weekend in 2008, this version features the MJ stitching pattern on the upper
Other vibrant colorways include:
- UNC Black/University Blue–White
- Old Love White/Varsity Red–Metallic Silver
- Low White/Midnight Navy–Silver
Chicago Bulls Black/Varsity Red–White
Motorsports Wizards Black/Varsity Royal–White
Low White/Varsity Red
The Jordan Brand released only one Retro Jordan XX3, Chicago, in 2015. The vibrant all-red design showcases an embroidered Chicago skyline on both outside heels with "Chi" on the left and "City" on the right. The inside of the tongue features the Chicago area codes 312 and 773.
Authenticity of the AJ XXIII: Tough to Knock Off
The Air Jordan XX3's intricate design is a counterfeiter's worst nightmare. The TPU/carbon fiber frame and unique stitching pattern are nearly impossible to recreate, and replicating the many interior and exterior design features would be challenging. However, to ensure you're getting a true original, watch for these clues:
- The stitching detail on the upper should be of high quality
- The Jumpman logo should be properly proportioned
- The carbon fiber shank, fingerprint outsole and thumbprint on the inside of the tongue should be clean, detailed and free of unusual lines or manufacturing flaws
- Since the Air Jordan XX3 was released in a limited number of colorways, it's easy to spot unknown colors and combinations not in the 2008 or 2015 releases
Jordan XXIII Construction: Built for Performance
Nike has always used the Air Jordan as a platform for new technology, but no other shoe boasts as many innovations as the XX3. Combining inspiration from MJ's legacy of extraordinary achievement with the Nike Considered ethos, the Air Jordan XX3 delivers unrivaled comfort and performance:
- Leather upper with intricate double and triple stitches in key places, built on a two-piece frame glued at the toe and heel for superior stability
- Full-length bootie designed for comfort
- Breathable tongue
- Memory-foam like dual-density material surrounds the heel for a secure, customized fit
- Quilted sock liner provides excellent arch support
- Full-length, low-profile Zoom Air-Sole unit combined with a low-profile Phylon midsole for exceptional cushioning and comfort
- Leather fin on the heel functions as a pull tab and adds high-end aesthetic appeal
- TPU outsole with carbon fiber shank visible at the midfoot
- Automotive-quality robotic painting process on the back of the TPU frame
- Available in high- and low-top versions
Due to the Jordan XXIII 's high-quality materials and combination of textures and colors, it's critical to take extra care when cleaning them. Always remove any loose dirt with a soft cloth. Treat scuffs and scratches with a non-abrasive solution to keep the rubberized areas looking their best.
Jordans Release Dates, News and Articles
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