#FactsFriday: The Air Jordan 12

#FactsFriday: The Air Jordan 12

When you think of the Jordan 12, you may think of the famous “Flu Game” or “Taxi” colourway, but what you may not think of is a women’s boot or Japan’s rising sun. Surprisingly, that’s what the Jordan 12 was born from. 


The Jordan 12 was another model that is thanks to Tinker Hatfield, Nike’s most famous designer. The 12s ribbed upper takes inspiration from the rays of the Japanese rising sun, while the shape is modelled off that of a women’s boot or stiletto. When released in 1996, the 12 was the first Air Jordan to feature the Zoom Air Technology, which granted players lightweight cushioning and quick movement. 


Considered by most as one of Jordan’s greatest sneakers in the collection, the shoe also features the use of lizard skin and other luxury fabrications. The shoe may not be the lightest shoe compared to Jordan’s previous models, but their value has always been in their durability, thanks to the silhouettes materials and attention to detail. Despite the Air Jordan 12 return to traditional leather uppers, it kept innovations from the Jordan 9 including the carbon spring plate. The 12 was also significant because it was also the first model to be released through the Jordan Brand, after it separated from Nike. 


When the Jordan 12 released in 1996, the public was blessed with 5 strong colour ways that included the famous black/white “Taxi” colourway. Another first that the Jordan 12 introduced was that of an ‘online exclusive.’ The ‘Nubuck Colourway’ was only available to ‘Team Jordan’ members, who had registered on jumpman23.com/NikeStore.com. The lucky few were then mailed, not e-mailed, their URL along with the release date and time, to purchase their online exclusive. Crazy enough, the nikestore.com site crashed on release. 


Another Jordan 12 colourway worth noting is the “Flu Game” 12s, considered by most as the best. In 1997, Michael Jordan, while battling with the flu, or rather food poisoning, played one of his best games ever in game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Jazz. This legendary performance turned a Jordan 12 in the ‘Bred’ colourway, to the ‘Flu Game’ 12s. 

The Jordan 12 was Retro-ed in 2004 with 10 colourways which included the ‘French Blue’ 12s. This Retro issuing was followed in 2009 with the re-release of the former online exclusive ‘Nubuck Colourway’, as well as the ‘Rising Sun’ 12s, which were initially recalled due to offensive insoles. The 12 has also been used to honour other Basketball players like Chris Paul, with releases like the upcoming 'Class of 2003' 12 celebrating Paul's alma mater West Forsyth High School. The "Class of 2003" releases tomororow, find out more here.