For sneakerheads, we know how essential it is to locate the ideal pair of kicks that look fly and feel great, plus rock on the court. In this post, we’re gonna show you our 20 favourite and the best Jordan 3 Retro sneakers of all time. From timeless hues to special collabs, we’ve got something for everybody.
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The Air Jordan III, released in Michael Jordan’s first MVP season of 1987, is widely considered to be one of the most iconic sneakers of all time. It was a revolutionary departure from previous models, featuring the signature elephant print and propelling Jordan’s fame to even greater heights, making it an essential sneaker in everyone’s collection.
Created by Tinker Hatfield, the Air Jordan 3 changed the entirety of the sneaker landscape. Constructed using Jordan’s recommendations for a mid-cut sneaker that would be comfortable upon wear and Hatfield’s design ability, the sneaker differentiated itself from its competitors.
The sneaker is well known for several iconic design features: a visible air bubble, soft-grain leather, elephant print, and Jordan’s logo on the tongue. One of the most iconic colourways, the “Black Cement,” was worn during the 87-88 All-Star Game. Other staple colourways include the “White Cement,” “True Blue,” and “Fire Red” Air Jordan 3s. Since Jordan’s playing days and beyond, the sneaker has been produced in a multitude of colourways and iterations that have gathered love and recognition from many.
As the sneaker culture continues to expand every year, Jordan Retro 3s stay relevant in the game with continuous releases yearly as Jordan Heads continue to support with love and care for the silhouette. You can catch the Jordan 3 collaborating with your major sneaker storefronts around the US and also being re retro-ed on some iconic classics throughout the years. Make sure to keep up with the latest 3s with our Jordan release dates calendar.
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Without further ado, Sneaker Fortress has ranked the 20 Best Air Jordan 3 colourways of all time.
1. Jordan 3 Retro “Black Cement” (1988)
First up, we have the iconic Jordan 3 Retro “Black Cement” sneakers. Originally released in 1988, this basketball shoe has stood the test of time and is still a favourite among sneakerheads today. Featuring a black leather upper, cement grey accents, and a red Jumpman logo, these sneakers are a must-have for any sneaker collection.
2. Jordan 3 Retro “White Cement” (1988)
Another classic colourway is the Jordan 3 Retro “White Cement” sneakers. Similar to the Black Cement, this sneaker features a white leather upper with cement grey accents and a red Jumpman logo. The difference between the two is the white elephant print detailing on the toe and heel of the White Cement, giving it a more unique look.
3. Jordan 3 Retro “True Blue” (1988)
For those who prefer a pop of colour, the Jordan 3 Retro “True Blue” sneakers are a great option. This sneaker features a blue leather upper with white and cement grey accents. The detailing is done in a darker blue, adding a subtle touch of contrast to the sneaker.
4. Jordan 3 Retro “Fire Red” (1988)
Re-released in 2020, the Jordan 3 Retro “Fire Red” sneakers pay homage to the OG colourway from 1988. This sneaker features a white leather upper with fire-red accents and cement grey detailing. The Jumpman logo is done in red or black (depending on the release), giving it a sleek and modern touch.
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5. Jordan 3 Retro “Animal Instinct”
If you’re looking for a more unique and daring sneaker, the Jordan 3 Retro “Animal Instinct” sneakers are a perfect choice. This sneaker features a faux animal fur upper in shades of brown, black, and white. The sneaker is accented with black detailing and a bright red Jumpman logo, making it a true statement piece.
6. Jordan 3 Retro x Fragment Design
For those who love collaborations, the Jordan 3 Retro x Fragment Design sneaker is a must-have. This limited edition sneaker was released in 2020 in collaboration with Japanese streetwear brand, Fragment Design. The sneaker features a black leather upper with white and blue detailing and Fragment Design branding on the heel.
7. Jordan 3 Retro x Travis Scott
The eagerly anticipated Jordan 3 Retro x Travis Scott sneaker was released in 2020, in partnership with renowned rapper Travis Scott. The stylish sneaker is crafted with white leather and mocha brown accents, plus a sleek black finish, and the removable velcro patch proudly displays the iconic Cactus Jack logo.
8. Air Jordan 3 Retro “Mocha” (2001)
The ‘Mocha’ Air Jordan 3 stands as a true pioneer – the first of its kind, the first non-OG AJ3 colourway to ever release. Its classic, timeless design has been an unsung hero of the Jumpman lineup for nearly two decades and it continues to be an inspiring reminder of the legacy of the AJRe-released in 2018. These feature a white tumbled leather base with ‘Dark Mocha’ accents throughout. Despite their elegant simplicity, it appears that many have yet to recognize their worth – the 2018 retro can often be found at prices lower than retail.
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9. Air Jordan 3 Retro “Katrina” (2006)
In 2006, Nike and Jordan Brand organized an auction of a one-of-a-kind Air Jordan 3 edition – a twist on the classic ‘White/Cement’ OG – to benefit those affected by the disastrous Hurricane Katrina. Sneakerheads had been begging for a retail drop of this sought-after shoe ever since then, and their prayers were finally answered in May of 2018.
10. Air Jordan 3 “Seoul” (2018)
Celebrating 30 years since the 1988 Summer Olympics held in Seoul, the Air Jordan 3 ‘Seoul’ offers a contemporary take on the classic ‘White/Cement’ look. Designed by Tinker Hatfield and Dan Sunwoo in the Innovation Kitchen, the all-white kicks feature blue/red collars and the Korean flag on each tongue, plus Hangul embroidery on the inside of the tongues – with ‘Seoul’ on the left and the 88 Games’ motto of ‘Harmony and Progress’ on the right. Exclusive to the Jordan Hongdae store and the Swoosh’s Korean web store, the highly-coveted kicks are a must-have for any sneakerhead.
11. Air Jordan 3 “Backflip“ (2011)
In 2007, the Jumpman took the Air Jordan 3’s signature elephant print to a higher level by introducing a ‘Flip’ version of the silhouette. The ‘Black Flip’ version of the silhouette released in 2011 was even better, as its near ‘Triple Black’ execution provided the perfect contrast to the elephant-printed upper. These new sneakers combined the best elements of both the ‘Flip’ and ‘Black Cat’ releases.
12. AJ3 “Doernbecher” (2010)
Over the years, Nike’s collaboration with Portland’s OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and the Doernbecher Freestyle program has offered the chance for patients to create some of the most remarkable and sought-after shoes. Designed by Cole Johanson, the fiery red shoes had Cole’s name hidden in the distinctive grid pattern of the upper and included a translucent sole with black and silver highlights. Even after almost a decade, the 2010 Air Jordan 3 remains the standout of the Doernbecher range. It was so popular when it was first released it was re-issued just three years later.
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13. AJ3 “Do The Right Thing” (2007)
In 1986, Spike Lee’s Mars Blackmon character debuted in the director’s film She’s Gotta Have It, and later became a crucial part of the iconic Air Jordan 3 ad campaigns created by Wieden+Kennedy, a long-time partner of the Swoosh and Jumpman. In 2007, Jordan Brand paid homage to Lee with the release of a Do The Right Thing-inspired pair of 3s, featuring a colourway of ‘Brisk Blue’, ‘Pro Gold’, and ‘Radiant Green’.
14. Solefly x Air Jordan 3 Retro “Lotto” (2014)
The Solefly x Air Jordan 3 kept the greatness of the family alive; co-owned by Michael Jordan’s brother-in-law, Solefly of Miami was given a direct connection to excellence. The shoe’s hues were inspired by State of Florida lottery tickets, with limited edition scratch-offs included with each pair.
15. Air Jordan 3 Retro “Cool Grey” (2007)
Jordan Brand has had a succession of fantastic Cool Grey Retros, with the first two being monochromatic, and the third iteration featuring some accents of yellow and a hint of red on the Jumpman Jordan logo, which made it distinct from the previous Cool Grey releases.
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16. Justin Timberlake x Jordan “JTH Bio” (2018)
Justin Timberlake is a passionate sneaker enthusiast and staunch supporter of the Jordan 3; this is exemplified by the stylish JTH Bio shoes designed by him. Justin Timberlake has opened up about the story behind his collaboration with Jordan Brand, the Air Jordan 3 JTH in “Bio Beige”, which was released on August 28th. He revealed that the sneaker’s design was inspired by the “Higher Higher” track from his Man of the Woods album, emphasizing the handmade craftsmanship and use of premium tan suede and raw leather laces.
17. Air Jordan 3 Retro Rust Pink (2021)
The Air Jordan 3 remains a classic silhouette beloved by sneakerheads around the world, and this new colourway (2021) adds to its legacy with its vibrant hues. The Rust Pink base creates an organic look, while the Crimson accents bring a pop of summer colour. The white midsole gives this style a crisp finish.
18. Jordan 3 Retro Pure Money
The Air Jordan 3 Retro “Pure Money” serves as a tribute to the brilliance of Tinker Hatfield’s design for Michael Jordan in 1988; its all-white palette, subtle Elephant Print detailing and chrome accents make it an elegant contrast to the more ostentatious colourways of the time. Although not too hard to get when first released, this AJ3 has become an increasingly sought-after style, with celebrities such as Mark Wahlberg and Jay-Z, as well as a number of athletes including Nate Robinson, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, having been spotted wearing it.
19. Air Jordan 3 Retro “Dark Iris”
In 2022, the red colourway was replaced by a purple version featuring the signature elephant print around the toebox and heel. The Nike Air logo on the back of the red colourway was swapped out for a Jumpman logo with the text “Air” underneath.
20. Air Jordan 3 Retro “Desert Elephant”
The Air Jordan 3 ‘Desert Elephant’ breathes new life into the legendary ‘Black Cement’ colourway. Its upper is primarily cloaked in black leather, while the tawny mudguards at the nose and heel evoke the wrinkled hide of an elderly elephant.
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In conclusion, these are our top picks for the best Nike Air Jordan 3 Retro sneakers on the market. Whether you’re a classic sneaker enthusiast or prefer more daring designs, there’s a Jordan 3 Retro sneaker for everyone. So, which one will you add to your collection?
All these Jordan 3 Retro and more are available online at GOAT.