So here’s the part of the show where we make fun of ugly shoes. Over 23 different Jordans there have been a couple that are on the strange side. None of them are extremely horrible, but…well…actually, some of them have been fairly craptastic, especially for the price.
Like the Dunk Contest, Air Jordans have run into the problem of several dunkers over the past decade — everything has pretty much already been done. You’ve got your Jumpman logo, your air, your upper and some rubber. Nike’s been trying over the last decade to figure out ways to get people to pay $200 for Jordans that aren’t retro, and there have been some disasters.
Since there’s a top 10 and the upcoming bottom 10, there are three styles that are right in the middle. Those would be the Air Jordan VI, X and XIII. None of them were offensive, but at the same time none of the three were transcendent.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are the 10 worst Air Jordans of all time, in order of their crappiness (meaning No. 1 is the biggest stinker).
10. Air Jordan XII
Here are the problems I have with this shoe, even though it’s known as one of the more fashion-forward Jordans in the line. First, the way it was formed my size 13’s couldn’t help but look GIGANTIC in every color, so I’m biased. Second, it’s inspired by women’s high heels. Mike, is there something you’re not telling us?
9. Air Jordan XXIII
Extra points for no crazy overlays, Velcro straps or other unnecessary business. Still, these Jordans are trying to be too cute. I don’t need my shoes to look as if they have wallpaper covering the entire outside of the shoe besides the toe. This whole “graffiti is art” deal has been what’s killed the LeBron series too.
8. Air Jordan XXII
These shoes look as if somebody tried to modernize the Jordan II and realize material costs were getting unexpectedly high. So high, they even decided to release a pair made of basketball leather. Uggh.
7. Air Jordan XVIII
These aren’t horrible, but the tongue-cover, combined with a non-ventilated suede upper make these the most impenetrable, hottest looking shoes ever. And by hot I mean like an oven. A really sweaty oven that smells like men’s feet. These are definitely Jordans to frame in a glass case next to your opened box of Michael Jordan Cologne and still-in-the-shrink-wrap first edition copy of “Space Jam” on VHS. I could never imagine playing in these things.
6. Air Jordan XIX
These are like the Air Jordan XI’s combined with a Velcro snake. Funny that this shoe was influenced by the black mamba. Was that when Nike was trying to sign Kobe away from Adidas? Apparently Kobe’s new Hyperdunk Lo-tops are supposed to be the most comfortable things ever, but I’ve never actually seen a pair in real life. I wonder if Trevor Ariza wears them to kiss Kobe’s ass like Ronny Turiaf used to, or because he actually likes them. Probably a little bit of both. When you have NBA League Pass these are things you think about.
5. Air Jordan XVII
OK, so there are four extra holes to put your laces through, but there’s a hidden lace system? And how stiff does this shoe look, anyway? The worst thing that ever happened to the Jordan line was the advent of carbon fiber. Shoes aren’t bikes. The shank doesn’t need to be six inches long. That’s what she said.
4. Air Jordan XX
I actually kind of like the strap over the top, which is rare, and these shoes are comfortable. However, the separated strap on the top? I there was such a thing as a “basketball nerd,” this shoe would be the one such a person would be wearing. It does look like a shoe that would perform very well in space however, so there is that.
3. Air Jordan XVI
You know what this shoe needs? A leather condom! Oh, now it’s perfect. Nice job with the ugliest visible air Nike ever came up with, too. At least it says “JORDAN” in really cheesy lettering on the side of the midsole.
2. Air Jordan VIII
The first of the retro-era Jordans to suck out loud. Just an amazingly dated shoe. The Huarache sleeve is nice, but it’s surrounded by way too much. Criss-cross straps that connect to Velcro “bunny ears” coming off the Achilles, a very early-1990’s pattern of mixed colors on the lower side next to the heel, and a carpet(!) Jumpman symbol on the tongue. I remember in high school thinking the world had gone crazy the first time I saw a kid wearing these, and immediately switching back to Air Flights.
1. Air Jordan XV
First of all these are the most uncomfortable Jordans ever, so automatically they’re the worst. Stiff, a terrible inner bootie and I still think Nike’s lying about these shoes actually having any air in the midsole. But they also look abominable, with some sort of wicker weave on the sides and a tongue that actually juts forward. It doesn’t matter if Jordan himself stuck his tongue out all the time, that is horrible.
-Why won’t your jeans go over your humongous shoes?
–Oh, the tongue’s in the way.
-Why don’t you just play basketball in them?
–Because they feel as if my feet are swimming in a pool of wicker and carbon fiber. They are now my “trudging to work on casual Friday” shoes.