Recapping Nine Vibrant AJ12s Ahead of the Retro “Playoff” 2022 Release
The latest AJ12 features an all-black leather upper and a light grey sole.
First released in 1996, the Air Jordan 12 is known for its slightly sculptural and futuristic silhouette. With side paneling that looks like exposed muscle membrane in mid-air, Michael Jordan’s 12th signature basketball sneaker is among the most iconic ever produced by
As the release of the revamped Air Jordan 12 Retro “Playoff” approaches on February 19, HYPEBEAST explores the model’s rich history. Featuring Air Jordan 12’s in a range of bold and brightly colored releases, these historical silhouettes are all available on GOAT’s website.
Air Jordan 12 Retro “Playoff” 2022
Release Date: February 19, 2022
Lowest Price: $200 USD
“Playoff” celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Air Jordan 12. The two-tone silhouette is accented with sleek metallic silver eyestays and features built-in Zoom Air technology, a mainstay within the Air Jordan 12 lineup. True to its 1996 source, the model is constructed entirely of tumbled leather, held together by a carbon fiber shank plate — a feature Jordan attributes to extending his ’97 playoffs. The Jumpman motif is seen at the tongue, insole, and toe tag with a red “23” icon embossed on the outer heel. The white toe cap fuses seamlessly with the rubber midsole and outsole, while the stacked striations along the side panels pay tribute to the Rising Sun depicted in Japan’s national flag.
Air Jordan 12 Retro “University Gold”
Release Date: July 18, 2020
Lowest Price: $250 USD
The 2020 release of “University Gold” glows with a bright yellow upper. “TWO3” branding runs down the tongue. Following the release of December 2020’s “White/Dark Grey” colorway, “University Gold” abandoned the cool-toned silver and metallic accents in lieu of a high-contrast theme across a jet black leather midsole, mudguard, and outsole. The premium leather sidewalls were designed by Tinker Hatfield, emphasizing the model’s unique, anatomical contours.
Air Jordan 12 Retro “Reverse Flu Game”
Release Date: December 12, 2020
Lowest Price: $242 USD
2020’s “Reverse Flu Game,” also known by sneakerheads as “Varsity Red,” visually pays homage to the Chicago Bulls, flipping 2016’s “Flu Game” color story. The upper is clad in vibrant red suede, accented by a tonal red heel counter and followed by a soft-touch black outer sole. The shoe comes with black eyestays and laces, padded collars, and zig-zag topstitching throughout the upper.
Air Jordan 12 Retro “Flu Game”
Release Date: May 28, 2016
Lowest Price: $405 USD
Released in 2016, “Flu Game” embodies a definitive moment in Jordan’s career. During the 1996-1997 NBA finals, the Chicago Bulls found themselves pitted against the Utah Jazz with Jordan experiencing flu-like symptoms. Game 5 saw the Chicago Bulls’ 90-88 win, and “Flu Game” enshrines this legacy in a blazing red color-blocking thematic. The black leather upper merges into a fiery red stacked midsole and outsole, like a heated pulse traveling through the core of the silhouette. The model has had three vintage iterations since its debut on the court, and the “Flu Game” is widely regarded as one of Jordan’s most memorable displays of vigor and talent.
Air Jordan 12 Retro “French Blue
Release Date: April 2, 2016
Lowest Price: $272 USD
“French Blue” was first released in January 2004 and featured a cool-toned blue leather asymmetrical overlay. Regarded as one of the more popular AJ12 colorways along with “Varsity Red,” the silhouette was re-released in 2016 after the anticipated drop of “The Master,” an all-black silhouette accented with a white Jumpman logo across the foxing.
OVO x Air Jordan 12 Retro “Black”
Release Date: February 18, 2017
Lowest Price: $551 USD
In collaboration with Drake’s lifestyle brand OVO, Jordan Brand’s released a monochromatic silhouette predominantly clad in black suede in 2017. The model commemorates the NBA All-Star 2017 lineup and features a unique textured leather toe cap, followed by a translucent grey outsole. OVO’s owl motif sits perched on the insole, with tonal “TWO3” embroidery running down the tongue. A bare heel tab completes the stealthy, blacked-out body.
Air Jordan 12 Retro “Taxi”
Release Date: December 14, 2013
Lowest Price: $300 USD
“Taxi” pays homage to Jordan’s fifth championship season through 1996-97. Released in 2013, the white leather upper features pops of gold at the eyestays and a herringbone-style carbon fiber shank plate at the sole. “Varsity Red” accents are applied on the “23” logo at the outer heel, with a red Jumpman icon on the toe tag and embossed at the outsole.
Air Jordan 12 Retro “Cherry”
Release Date: December 19, 2009
Lowest Price: $117 USD
Mostly identical to the model’s iconic 1996 release, “Cherry” adds a pop of red to an upper constructed from white pebbled leather with tonal topstitching throughout the side panels. The 2009 iteration also includes branded eyestays, with the Jumpman icon embossed in black-and-silver enamel. A black padded collar and colorblock piping contrast against the white all-white upper.
PSNY x Air Jordan 12 Retro “Milan”
Release Date: June 28, 2017
Lowest Price: $633 USD
In 2017, PSNY joined the long line of collaborators to revamp the AJ12 silhouette, introducing the model in three suede colorways: “Wheat,” “Bordeaux,” and “Olive.” Aside from the tonal midsole and outsole, the shoe is dressed in a smooth suede upper, inspired by Public School’s favorite cities: New York (Wheat), Paris (Bordeaux), and Milan (Olive). PSNY dropped its “Michigan” blue suede colorway the following year, featuring bright yellow piping along the collar, foxing, and eyestays.