The 20 Best Jordan 4 Colorways of All Time

From the "Fire Reds" to the "Breds", these are the best of the best

ONE37pm editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. You can learn more about that process here.
mobile e38a56

We recently covered Jordan 1s, so now we have another very important set of questions to pose to the sneakerhead community—where do you rank Jordan 4s in your lists of historic Air Jordans and Nike shoes as a whole, and what are the best Jordan 4s of all time. While both sets of questions have great debate potential, it’s the latter that has piqued our curiosity. Jordan 4s are an interesting subject matter—some swear by them and believe they are the greatest in the Jordan lineup. Others like 4s, but have Jordan 1s, 2s, 3s, 5s, and 6s (it begins sounding like that Mr. Owl Tootsie Pop commercial from the 2000s the deeper you get into it) over them. Personally, while we have Jordan 3s over 4s (yes there is a difference), the aesthetic of the AJ4 and how well the shoe works with the likes of jeans, shorts, tees, and more is to be appreciated. That’s why we’re taking a look at the best of them, and how their mark in footwear/fashion has been indelible.

Whether it’s the Air Jordan 4 "Fire Reds" ($279+) or the "Retro Breds," ($399+) these are some of the most legendary colorways to come out of the AJ4 models thus far.

RELATED: Michael Jordan's 11 Best Games, Ranked

Why is the Jordan 4 so legendary?

Before we get into the debate, however, we must first embark on a little history lesson on the 4s. The Jordan 4s first made their debut in 1989, instantly standing out due to their distinct mesh paneling. The very first Jordan 4s to ever be released were the "White Cements," "Fire Reds," "Black Cement/Breds," and the "Military Blues." A Tinker Hatfield creation, the 4s ability to effortlessly blend style performance together is what made them legendary in 89, and continues to make them an iconic popular model in present day—the 4s even made an appearance in Spike Lee’s 1989 classic Do The Right Thing—another testament to their power.

1. Air Jordan 4 "Fire Red"

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 2.09.24 PM
  • Release date: February 1989
  • Did Jordan wear them: Yes—to 1989 All Star Weekend and Game 5 against the Cleveland Cavaliers (The Shot)

The ‘Fire Red’ first made their arrival during the 1989 NBA All Star Weekend in Houston, Texas. While they didn’t draw that much attention at that specific time, the colorway experienced a huge surge in popularity as the OG ‘Fire Reds’ were the shoes Jordan was wearing when he hit that legendary game winner over Craig Ehlo in 1989, much to the chagrin of Cleveland Sports fans. The ‘Fire Reds’ have since gotten multiple re-releases over the years, most recently in 2020.


2. Air Jordan 4 "Retro Bred"

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 2.22.36 PM
  • Release date: 1996
  • Did Jordan wear them: Yes, frequently

The Retro Breds—definitely in the list of holy grails when it comes to all time shoes. There’s been a ton of hype around the Breds lately because there’s a ‘Re-Imagined’ edition supposedly on the way soon. That said, nothing will ever top the hysteria of the OG 89 version.  Now this isn’t the first time the model has been re-released as it’s gotten official reboots in 1999, 2008, and 2012, but as we just said, ain’t nothing topping the original.


3. Air Jordan 4 x Travis Scott "Cactus Jack"

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 2.31.25 PM
  • Release date: 2018
  • Did Jordan wear them: No

We’ve said it before and we’ll reiterate—anything Jordan and Travis Scott is an automatic instant classic. People went crazy over these joints, which was released in 2018 and paid homage to the Houston Oilers when its blue upper and splashes of red. The ‘Cactus Jacks’ are still a great collectors item six for sneaker lovers years after their original release.


4. Air Jordan 4 "Sail"

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 3.54.43 PM
  • Release date: July 25, 2020
  • Did Jordan wear them: No

Sidenote: I wanted these so bad and was envious of everyone who had a pair. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in this sentiment because these were not an easy pair of sneakers to get at retail. Why? Because 2018 was the year of Virgil and Off-White really taking off. While Off-White has continued in the wake of Virgil Abloh’s untimely passing, that specific moment in 2018/2019 won’t ever be recreated. If you think the resell prices are bad now, you should have seen them in 2018—it was two times your rent. Not kidding.


5. Air Jordan 4 "Black Cat"

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 4.00.37 PM
  • Release date: January 22, 2020
  • Did Jordan wear them: No

The "Black Cat" is a newer arrival in the Jordan 4 catalog, but for some reason people have taken to the  model more than just "liking it." Maybe it’s because of the sleek all black colorway, maybe not…but for whatever reason the “Black Cats” have been entered into the longevity category for Jordans—meaning we’ll probably be seeing them again much more in the future. 


6. Air Jordan 4 "Thunder"

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 4.03.41 PM
  • Release date: 2006
  • Did Jordan wear them: No

The AJ4 "Thunders" go all the way back to 2006 when they got an exclusive online release (which was still a relatively “new” thing at that time). Obviously signifying thunder and lightning, the AJ4 “Thunder” just recently got an update in 2023 after over a decade (it was last reissued in 2012). That means another five to ten years before we get a new iteration if we’re calculating that correctly.


7. A Ma Maniere x Air Jordan 4 "Violet Ore"

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 4.07.53 PM
  • Release date: November 11, 2022
  • Did Jordan wear them: No

Honestly, you can "eeny, meeny, miny, moe" any A Ma Maniere x Air Jordan release and will automatically deserve a spot on this list as this has been one of Jordan Brand’s most popular and sought after collaborations. That wouldn’t be fair though as we would be leaving out lots of other Jordan 4s that need to make the list, so we’ll go with the "Violet Ore," because of the neutral color that’s bound to suit any and everybody’s taste. Fair? 


8. Air Jordan 4 "Military Blue"

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 4.10.22 PM
  • Release date: 1989
  • Did Jordan wear them: Yes, in various games

No Jordan 4 list is complete without the “Military Blue,” which dropped as one of the original 4s in 1989. As we mentioned earlier, 4s in general didn’t really pop off until Jordan hit that shot against Ehlo (people thought they were very similar to 3s, so a lot of folks passed on them at first). Once 4s got off the ground, however, all of them caught fire—including the "Military Blue" colorway, which was like the brother to “Fire Red” with the latter representing “warm temperatures,” and the former representing “cooler temperatures”—you know, like a thermometer.


9. Air Jordan 4 "Frozen Moments"

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 4.13.47 PM
  • Release date: August 8, 2023
  • Did Jordan wear them: Yes, in an advertisement

For those lucky enough to actually have a full memory of the 1990s, you probably remember the "Frozen Moments" Jordan ad from that era. Well, that’s what the "Frozen Moments" is referencing here. It’s hard to understand the reference completely without actually seeing the ad, so make sure to look at it so you can put two and two together to see how they came up with these 4s. Get it? Clever joke huh?


10. Air Jordan 4 "White Oreo"

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 4.17.08 PM
  • Release date: 1999
  • Did Jordan wear them: No

Rewinding it all the way back to 1999—the "White Oreos" shook things up a bit when they dropped twenty-five years ago. To put things in perspective, this was 1999—one year after Jordan had officially retired for a second (and what was believed to be the final) time. Believe it or not, there were questions from some about the long term legacy of Air Jordan’s after MJ’s retirement. And they were fair questions to ask because Jordan’s power was so great that if he had worn a certain model on the court (especially if it was a legendary game), people would flock to go get those very same shoes once they retailed just on that principle alone. Without that, could the Jordan Brand still be powerful?

One of the answers to those questions was the "White Oreo"—designed to look like a splendid cookies and cream milkshake. It captivated people then, and continues to captivate to this day.


11. Air Jordan 4 "Red Cement"

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 4.20.33 PM
  • Release date: September 9, 2003
  • Did Jordan wear them: No

But wait…isn’t this the…. No, it’s not the "Fire Reds." The "Red Cements" are an example of where you have to pay close attention to the smaller details on a shoe because it's those very same small details that set it apart from the "Fire Red." Nicknamed "The Remix," the "Fire Red" sneaker has black overlays whereas the "Red Cement" has a fire engine red color. Another difference? Likewise, the upper liner on the "Fire Red" is red where as the upper liner on the "Red Cement" is black.  Gotta pay attention to those details—especially when a shoe is "remixed."


12. Air Jordan 4 "Metallic Purple"

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 4.26.45 PM
  • Release date: 1989
  • Did Jordan wear them: Yes, during certain games

Also included in that original 1989 lineup is the "Metallic Purple," which differed from previously seen Jordan releases up to that point. Bringing forth intricate metallic details with a little bit of sparkle thrown in, fans gravitated towards the “Metallic Purple” because at the time of its release it felt like some limited-edition shoe you weren’t going to ever be able to get again. We have, in fact, seen updated versions of the "Metallic Purple," but it’s important to understand what people were thinking in real time when the shoe dropped.


13. Air Jordan 4 "Midnight Navy"

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 4.29.10 PM
  • Release date: October 29, 2022
  • Did Jordan wear them: No

Since we put the "Red Cement" on here, we’ve also got to include the "Midnight Navy" model because it’s another technical remix of the OG 1989 iterations. Other than the midnight navy color (which includes dark navy and light grey mixtures), there isn’t much specs-wise that separates the “Midnight Navy” from others—it’s just a really nice smooth looking sneaker. That’s a good enough reason to include it right?


14. Levi’s x Air Jordan

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 4.32.54 PM
  • Release date: January 17, 2018
  • Did Jordan wear them: No

There were some hefty expectations set upon Levi’s x Air Jordan because you had two very different brands coming together to create what we’ll call an “Americana” shoe. With Levi’s being in the picture, you already knew there had to be some incorporation of denim, but at the same time, the shoe had to also avoid looking like something a teenager in the 2000s would have picked up while at the mall with the homies. It’s safe to say that Levi’s and Jordan Brand nailed it with this all denim but not too much denim iteration of the 4s.


15. Nike SB x Air Jordan 4 "Pine Green"

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 4.35.09 PM
  • Release date: March 21, 2023
  • Did Jordan wear them: No

The green jolly Nike SB x Air Jordan 4 "Pine Green." Something about this colorway screams "going golfing at the country club," and you’re seriously missing out if you are indeed a golfer and don’t own a pair. Plus, how many times have Nike SB and Air Jordan linked up? Exactly. Gotta love the SB gum rubber detail at the bottom as well. It's the small details people!


16. Air Jordan 4 "University Blue"

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 4.38.18 PM
  • Release date: April 28, 2021
  • Did Jordan wear them: No

UNC is where the semi-professional (professional nowadays) portion of Michael Jordan’s basketball career began. You don’t get to the Chicago Bull without first stopping at UNC when it comes to MJ, so any Tar Heel/UNC/North Carolina shoe has to be included on any all time list as per our standards. Not sure what anybody else has to say about this matter, but this is what we’re saying.


17. Air Jordan 4 "Black Canvas"

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 4.41.04 PM
  • Release date: October 5, 2022
  • Did Jordan wear them: No

Is it too early to put the "Black Canvas" on here? Screw it, we're putting these on here because the "Black Canvas" is a shoe with power and potential. The power to captivate much in the way the "Black Cat" has, and the potential to still be around some years from now. We’ll see if we’re correct on this little prediction of ours some years down the line.


18. Air Jordan 4 "KAWS"

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 4.44.21 PM
  • Release date: March 31, 2017
  • Did Jordan wear them: No

If you’re a fan of KAWS or art in general, then you appreciated/appreciate the Jordan 4 "KAWS" as an homage to the art of artistry. The Jordan Brand and KAWS teamed up back in 2017 for an elaborate collaboration that is now considered a sneaker collectors item. Needless to say, it's a pretty penny to get your hands on one of these, but if you, consider yourself as owning something very prestigious.


19. Air Jordan 4 "Military Black"

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 4.48.05 PM
  • Release date: May 21, 2022
  • Did Jordan wear them: No

Alright, so if you take the "Black Canvas" shoes and turn them inside out, you get…the "Military Black?"  That’s how it works right? Well, even if not, the Military Black Jordan 4 is still one that can shakeup any sneaker collection. There’s nothing "spectacular" about it—which isn’t necessary because the 4s are a shoe that holds its own without any "spectacular" needed.  If you are looking for simplicity at its finest, then go with the "Military Black."


20. PSG x Air Jordan

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 4.52.14 PM
  • Release date: October 10, 2020
  • Did Jordan wear them: No

When you need a little pastel colored dazzle dazzle—call up Paris Saint Germain aka PSG. You want to talk about art? This shoe looks like something out of a museum. In fact, this sneaker should be in a museum in a glass case next to some rare artifact that was found in the 1600s—it would fit right in don't you think?

Did you like this article?
Thumbs Up
Thumbs Down