The Air Jordan 3 “Fire Red” Is as Classic as It Gets

After 34 years, one of the AJ 3’s original four colorways returns in true OG form.

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Jordan Brand rolls out a high volume of new Air Jordan colorways every year, but ask any true sneakerhead and they’d tell you that it simply hits different when the OGs are reincarnated. In 1988, the Tinker Hatfield-designed Air Jordan 3 was released in four makeups: “White Cement,” “Black Cement,” “True Blue” and the “Fire Red.” And, after 34 years, the Air Jordan 3 “Fire Red” — the sneaker that MJ earned MVP honors, Slam Dunk champion and a Defensive Player of the Year award — is finally making its glorious comeback.

Let’s break down the palette first. The tumbled leather uppers are given a matted white finish and come complemented by dark gray elephant-printed overlays, the latter of which arrive with thinner design lines more akin to its ‘88 version. From there, the titular accents take center stage as they ornament the eyelets, Jumpman logos, midsoles and the Nike Air branding parked on the heels that Jordan purists have been longing for. The overall Chicago-inspired color scheme is always just an element to appreciate in and of itself. Buying Jordans is like copping a Ferrari. Ferraris still look good when fitted in different colors, but when the Italian sports car is dressed in all-red, it’s a bonafide chef’s kiss. The same effect goes for Jordan retros that are styled in Chicago Bulls colors.

Details on the shoe box are also definitely worth mentioning. The original Air Jordan 3 packaging is being brought back to the table with its black lid and cement-patterned lower half. An adjustment to point out is that instead of the Jumpman logo that appeared on the lid of the previous launches, this box features the Nike Air logo. The kicks also come with a printed paper card that shows all of the Air Jordan 3’s tech specs, a salute to the original pairs that were accompanied by the exact same accessory.

The last occasions that the sneaker community saw the “Fire Red” hit shelves were back 1988, 2007 and 2013 (each iteration of which is pictured above) but there were distinguishable differences from the OG in those pairs’ quality, materials, shape and packaging. For one, the cement-covered overlays were dyed with a near-black hue and the elephant print lines were slightly too thick. The biggest gripe that Jordan purists have encountered was the heel counter which was emblazoned with the Jumpman insignia as opposed to the original Nike Air branding. However, sneakerheads that have been patiently waiting on this release can rejoice, because Jordan Brand made sure to not cut any corners with its 2022 rendition. Every detail on the kicks — from the quality to the colors to the packaging — has been meticulously thought out.

The level of nostalgia that the Air Jordan 3 “Fire Red” delivers to the older sneaker generation and introduces to the Gen-Z’s easily makes this one of the top Jordan releases of the year. What makes them even more appealing is their accessibility. These certainly won’t be shelf-sitters so if you’re interested in copping it’s best to enter all the raffles you can and set your alarm clocks for the SNKRS release. Otherwise, resell prices are currently sitting around $50-100 USD over the retail price before the official drop, and will likely remain so post-release. For those that strike out on release day, this is a strong indicator that you probably won’t have to cough up too much extra change to get your hands on a pair.

Peep a detailed look at the pair in the gallery above and note that the Air Jordan 3 “Fire Red” is slated to launch on September 10 via SNKRS and select retailers.

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