Air Jordan V

Design Story

Tinker Hatfield's design of the Air Jordan V was inspired by a fighter jet called the Supermarine Spitfire Mk VIII, a World War II era British fighter jet.  Tinker used “teeth” on the midsole to give the AJ V an aggressive look, making the parallel between the way Jordan played and the way fighter planes maneuvered and attacked the battlefield.

The Air Jordan V had many firsts. It was the first Air Jordan to use a clear (or translucent) outsole, it was the first shoe to make use of molded foam in the shoe's ankle collar, it was also the first to be included with a unique set of lace locks. 

A last first for the Air Jordan V, was that it was the first in the signature line to use 3M reflective material as a central part of the shoe's design. It's believed that Tinker featured the 3M material on the shoe's tongue to make the shoes pop for camera flashes as Jordan drove to the basket.

He was of the thought that it was only in snapshots of MJ that he believed the sneaker would really “shine.” What better way to sell his design than to have them literally glaring at you in a poster of Mike dunking on Patrick Ewing? The photographer’s flash would set off the 3M tongue at any moment of Michael Jordan’s brilliance, thus providing a perfect compliment to any poster or Sports Illustrated cover.

Original colorways


White/Black-Fire Red

Black/Black-Metallic Silver

White/Grape Ice-New Emerald

White/Red-Black 23

Retro colorways


White / Black – Fire Red

Black / Black – Metallic Silver

Laney High School White / Varsity Royal – Varsity Maize

White / Metallic Silver – Black


Black / University Blue – White 

Green Beans Silver-Green Bean-Flint Grey 

Women's - White/Fire Red-Sunset-Dark Cinder 

White/Grape Ice-New Emerald 

White / Sport Royal / Stealth 

Women's - Silver / Shy Pink – Stealth 

Undefeated Olive/Oiled Suede-Flight Satin 

Deep Burgundy / Flint Grey – White

White / Fire Red – Black

Low White / University Blue – Team Red


Laser White / Army Olive – Solar Orange – Bison

Retro Black / Metallic Silver – Red 23

White / Black – Metallic Silver


White/Black-Fire Red


Black/Varsity Red

Varsity Red/Black-White

White/Dark Cinder-Dark Army-Del Sol


Black/Black-Metallic Silver "Bin 23"

Varsity Maize/Anthracite-Wolf Grey-Black "Tokyo 23"

Light Graphite/White-Wolf Grey

White/Radiant Green-Black-Metallic Silver "Quai 54"

White/Varsity Red-Midnight Navy

Black/Varsity Red-Metallic Silver


White/Fire Red-Black

White/New Emerald-Grape Ice-Black

Black/New Emerald-Grape Ice-Black

Sequoia/Fire Red-Medium Olive-Black

White/Fire Red-Black

Black/White-Black "Doernbecher"

3LAB5 Cement Grey/Gamma Blue-Black

Black/Varsity Maize-Varsity Royal-Black "Shanghai"

Cool Grey/Club Pink-Court Purple-Game Royal "Fresh Prince"

White/Varsity Maize-Varsity Royal-Black

Black/Cool Grey-White

3LAB5 Black/Infrared 23


3LAB5 Black/Black-Metallic Silver


White/Metallic Silver-Black

Midnight Navy/Turquoise Blue-White

White/Infrared 23-Light Poison Green-Black

SUPREME X JORDAN Bamboo/Black-Classic Stone-Chino


SUPREME X JORDAN White/Fire Red-Black

Did you know, did you know, did you know?


May 14, 1990 - Sports Illustrated cover

  • The Air Jordan V was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the cover headline: "YOUR SNEAKERS OR YOUR LIFE" regarding the 1989 murder of a 15 year old high school student named Michael Eugene Thomas who was chocked to death by one of his peers for a pair of Air Jordans.
  • Michael Jordan scored a career high 69 points on March 28, 1990 versus the Cleveland Cavaliers wearing the White/Black-Fire Red coloway of the Air Jordan V. MJ also had 18 boards, six assists, and four steals. The Bulls won the game by 4 points in Double OT. Less well known is the fact that Jordan got angry at the crowd after they cheered early in the game when he was on the floor recovering from a hard foul from John Williams. Jordan got so angry that he told defender Craig Ehlo, ”Listen man, I’m hitting everything, so I’m gonna tell you what I’m gonna do this time and see if you can stop it. You know you can’t stop it. You know you can’t stop this. You can’t guard me. “I’m gonna catch it on the left elbow, and then I’m gonna drive to the left to the baseline, and then I’m gonna pull up and shoot my fadeaway.” He made it, of course.
  • The Air Jordan V was featured on the '90s TV show 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' more than any other sneaker on the show due to the fact that Will Smith was wearing them in the opening credits.