Batman is known for being one of the most iconic and revered pop culture icons and superheroes of all time. His choice of accessories for Batman Returns (1992) included the many gadgets he uses for fighting crime and a style choice that fans fell in love with. The choice went unnoticed by many, but many die-hard fans noticed the time that Batman rocked out in a pair of Air Jordan 6 sneakers. Let’s take a moment to remember this monumental moment in sneaker history when two very different worlds collided.
Nike Air Jordan 6
The sixth signature line of Nike Air Jordan sneakers for Michael Jordan was introduced in 1991. As many (but not all) of the Air Jordan sneakers were, this range was designed by Tinker Hatfield and was made famous when they were seen on the feet of MJ himself for his first NBA title.
Designed with function and fashion in mind, these sneakers introduced a reinforced toe cap for protection and a rubberised tongue while maintaining many of the beloved Air Jordan design elements, like the Jumpman logo on the heel and keeping the beloved visible Air-Sole unit in the heel to instantly mark these as a part of the beloved Air Jordan range.
Two Worlds Collide
The year is 1992, and Michael Keaton is stalking the streets as Batman in Batman Returns, with the enigmatic and brilliant Tim Burton at the helm as director. While Burton has a fantastic ability to make his films dark and incredibly atmospheric, his skills also lie in bringing some humour to his films and catering to his audience.
Wanting to bring a character that was first introduced to the world in 1939 into a more modern, gritty and urbanised Gotham, Bob Ringwood, head costume designer on Batman (1989), worked to integrate an epic overhauled design of the Air Jordan 6 sneakers into the Caped Crusader’s look, to the point where they were almost unrecognisable to the untrained eye.
To keep with the usual booted look that Batman usually has for his suits, the sneakers were changed in many ways to fit the part, leaving the sole mainly looking the same but in a fitting black. At the same time, some Batman-worthy armour was added to the upper where the laces would be.
The armour extends all the way past the tongue of the sneakers onto the leg up to the knee, giving the sneakers a boot-like look, complemented by the fact that the collar of the sneakers is also extended up to give it a booted look.
At this point in time, we are accustomed to Nike sneakers creating designs connected with superheroes. Still, a creation like the one made for Batman Returns marked a moment in history when sneaker and nerd cultures combined, making the collaborations we now know and love possible.
Although the sneakers were never available to the public, the Air Jordan 6 sneakers-turned-Batman-combat-boots were a memorable moment that fans have loved in their memory for decades. Bringing two pop culture worlds together is a challenging feat, and this collaboration did just that in one of the most memorable ways in pop culture history.
A single right shoe was found in 2015 and sold for $8,100. It is understandable since it looks like it just fell off the foot of Batman after a brutal battle and has Michael Keaton’s name on it.