Michael Jordan’s ability to fly and come out of nowhere to score gave returning designer Tinker Hatfield inspiration for the Air Jordan 5. Those qualities reminded Tinker of a fighter plane, with the painted teeth on the Supermarine Spitfire Mk VIII appearing on the midsole of the AJ5. This shoe introduced two visual features that would influence a lot of Jordan styles that proceeded it: reflective (3M) materials and a translucent outsole. These revolutionary features contrast the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” visible Air Max technology in the heel. The Jordan 5 also introduced the lace lock to the Jordan line, a feature that helped secure laces from loosening but is mostly seen as an aesthetic addition for many other sneakers today.
These visual elements helped make the shoe popular amongst celebrity sneakerheads at the time. 90s actors like Will Smith, Jerry Seinfeld, and John Goodman have been spotted wearing the AJ5 back in the day. The shoe has also been worn beyond the 90s with Drake, Chris Brown, Jay-Z, and even Ed Sheeran rocking the 5s.
The originator, of course, was Michael Jordan during the 1989-90 NBA season. Among the many highlights for MJ in the AJ5 was his 69 points against (who else?) Cleveland that still stands as his most ever in a game. Michael also wore the Air Jordan 5 in a game that saw him dress up in a #12 jersey rather than the #23 threads we are accustomed to seeing.