Tinker Hatfield had already created history with the Air Jordan 3 that was the most popular sneaker of its time. Once again in 1989, it was upon him to design a shoe that would outdo its predecessor.
The infamous Mars Blackmon (Spike Lee) was called into action once again to work with Nike and Michael Jordan to help promote the shoe. Tinker’s ingenuity came into play when designing the mesh on the shoe. Instead of creating a truly breathable shoe, he actually used it as a decorative detail on the upper and sides by dipping the mesh in plastic and then blowing air through it to have a mesh in any color possible.
The Air Jordan 4 featured a full length mid-sole, visible Nike Air Cushion in the heel, and the addition of straps for forefoot support commonly referred to as “wings” for laces to go through. However, what caught everyone’s attention was the big NIKE AIR branding on a humongous heel tab, that was later on replaced by the jumpman logo as the shoe got retro’ed over the years.
With a retail price of $110.00 in 1989, the shoe wasn’t received well. Despite being called “ugly” at the onset, the design became popular over the years and turned into one of the most coveted silhouettes. After all, no other shoe let you lace-up in 18 different possible variations, thanks to the “wings” designed by Tinker. The ability to create your own unique lacing pattern and stunt on others helped personalize the style, making it immensely popular.