Revisiting Coveted Air Jordan 3 Retro Models Ahead of the "Desert Elephant" Release

The long-awaited colorway drops in neutral tones with crackled leather paneling.

Footwear 
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Ahead of the upcoming “Desert Elephant” drop, Hypebeast rounds up memorable Air Jordan 3 Retro models that have struck a chord in the sneaker sphere. The famed silhouette continues to reinvent its signature elephant motif through cross-over collaborations, introducing some of the most visually arresting colorways within the Air Jordan lineup. The following roundup features noteworthy collaborations with influential labels A Ma Maniére and Fragment Design, alongside a curated range of boundary-pushing colorways that continue to reverberate in sneaker discourse.

With summer fashion in full swing, cop each model below and discover even more AJ3s on GOAT’s website.

Air Jordan 3 Retro “Desert Elephant”

GOAT Air Jordan 3 Retro Models Desert Elephant Release Fragment Design x Air Jordan 3 Retro SP 'White' OG 'True Blue' 2016 Mocha' 2018 Sneakers Footwear Recap
Release Date: July 30, 2022
Lowest Price: $183 USD

Expected on July 30, “Desert Elephant” arrives with earthy colorblocked paneling and textured leather accents. The black-and-brown iteration commemorates the style’s 1988 release and remixes the silhouette with tumbled leather and crackled tan overlays near the outer heel and toe cap. The textured finish of the mudguard resembles weathered elephant skin and adds a touch of visual dimension. The neutral color story is repeated at the collar lining and tongue, offset by neon Jumpman branding and matching hardware. An air unit rests underfoot, providing additional support.

A Ma Maniére x Wmns Air Jordan 3 Retro SP “Raised By Women”

GOAT Air Jordan 3 Retro Models Desert Elephant Release Fragment Design x Air Jordan 3 Retro SP 'White' OG 'True Blue' 2016 Mocha' 2018 Sneakers Footwear Recap
Release Date: April 28, 2021
Lowest Price: $402 USD

Raised by Women” was originally slated for a September release and followed James Whitner’s short film of the same name. The design’s androgynous colorway was an intentional choice denoting the model’s unisex appeal. Dressed in white pebbled leather, the silhouette maintains a muted palette, incorporating light gray suede overlays at the eyestays, heel counter and toe cap. The soft-washed paneling is accented with cream hardware and eyelets, in addition to the glossy, silver quilting sewn into the lining. Mutual branding showcases a silver-toned Jumpman and an “A” motif embroidered on each tongue, commemorating the collaborative effort.

Air Jordan 3 Retro “UNC”

GOAT Air Jordan 3 Retro Models Desert Elephant Release Fragment Design x Air Jordan 3 Retro SP 'White' OG 'True Blue' 2016 Mocha' 2018 Sneakers Footwear Recap
Release Date: March 7, 2020
Lowest Price: $452 USD

UNC” was first released in 2018 as a player exclusive and became available to the general public in 2020. Originally limited to 250 pairs, the model circulated amongst players on University of North Carolina’s football and basketball teams. The model is defined by an icy white pebbled leather upper and “Valor Blue” overlays. This silhouette shares similar characteristics to its 2018 predecessor and introduces a bright red argyle pattern at the insole and a Jumpman logo stamped at the tongue.

Fragment Design x Air Jordan 3 Retro SP “White”

GOAT Air Jordan 3 Retro Models Desert Elephant Release Fragment Design x Air Jordan 3 Retro SP 'White' OG 'True Blue' 2016 Mocha' 2018 Sneakers Footwear Recap
Release Date: September 17, 2020
Lowest Price: $277 USD

Hiroshi Fujiwara’s Fragment Design teamed up with Jordan Brand to deliver the label’s cleanest, iciest colorway to date. Flat-grain black overlays boldly contrast against the silhouette’s all-white tumbled leather, wrapping around the mudguard, heel counter and toe box. An exposed window at the outsole gives a peak of Nike’s signature Air cushioning. A silver-toned Jumpman rests atop the tongue, followed by an oversized translucent heel tag, which showcases Air branding superimposed on Fragment Design’s iconic double lightning insignia. Aside from the black paneling, the silhouette maintains a monochromatic theme.

Air Jordan 3 Retro OG “Black Cement”

GOAT Air Jordan 3 Retro Models Desert Elephant Release Fragment Design x Air Jordan 3 Retro SP 'White' OG 'True Blue' 2016 Mocha' 2018 Sneakers Footwear Recap
Release Date: February 17, 2018
Lowest Price: $302 USD

Working alongside Tinker Hatfield, Micheal Jordan ushered in the Air Jordan 3’s signature elephant skin motif with “Black Cement.” The colorway arrived in a glossy black tumbled leather upper, accented by varsity red piping and gray paneling along the collar. Pops of red are reintroduced on the hardware and embroidered Jumpman logo. A crackled elephant texture rounds out the toe box and heel, with original “Nike Air” branding on the outer heel.

Air Jordan 3 Retro “Mocha”

GOAT Air Jordan 3 Retro Models Desert Elephant Release Fragment Design x Air Jordan 3 Retro SP 'White' OG 'True Blue' 2016 Mocha' 2018 Sneakers Footwear Recap
Release Date: December 15, 2018
Lowest Price: $182 USD

Considered the first non-original color story of the Retro lineup in 2001, “Mocha’s” minimalist colorblocking introduced loyalists of the line to lifestyle colorways. The silhouette’s blinding white upper is treated to mocha brown overlays, punctuated by a textural elephant print. Hints of brown are peppered throughout the hardware and along the outer heel, toe cap and outsole. Jumpman and Air branding accent the tongue and heel tag.

Air Jordan 3 Retro OG “True Blue”

GOAT Air Jordan 3 Retro Models Desert Elephant Release Fragment Design x Air Jordan 3 Retro SP 'White' OG 'True Blue' 2016 Mocha' 2018 Sneakers Footwear Recap
Release Date: November 25, 2016
Lowest Price: $203 USD

One of four original colorways, “True Blue” first dropped in 1988 and donned an electric blue midsole with pattern-clashing veining at the outer heel and toe. The gray accents continue down to the outsole and exposed Air window. 2016’s remastered model showcases the original branding of the OG release, along with vibrant blue and red piping on the counter lining, eyelets and eyestays. From a structural standpoint, the visually arresting fusion of color and texture highlights the model’s tiered components.

Air Jordan 3 Retro “88”

GOAT Air Jordan 3 Retro Models Desert Elephant Release Fragment Design x Air Jordan 3 Retro SP 'White' OG 'True Blue' 2016 Mocha' 2018 Sneakers Footwear Recap
Release Date: February 6, 2013
Lowest Price: $701 USD

In 1988, Michael Jordan launched himself from the freethrow line to win the NBA Slam Dunk Contest over Atlanta Hawks’ Dominique Wilkins. The event took place in front of the Bulls’ hometown audience and sent the crowd roaring. To commemorate the 25-year anniversary of Jordan’s miraculous dunk, “88” is dressed in white tumbled leather, accented with crackled detailing and fiery red hardware. Black components contrast the understated upper and punctuate the hits of graphic texture.

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