Originally conceptualized by creative mastermind Tinker Hatfield, the sixth signature Air Jordan in the series furthered Jordan Brand’s establishment into the history of footwear. Athletic idol Michael Jordan donned the “6” on his journey towards his very first NBA championship.  

The Air Jordan craze shows no signs of slowing. One of the most popular silhouettes of the classic and innovative Air Jordan line is the 6 and this weekend Nike has provided a sneaker that hasn’t been featured on store shelves since 1991. Many OG heads and J obsessed have voiced their frustration with the Nike design process and its decreasing reliance on quality materials and lack of homage to the original design. The company seems to be listening to its demographics cries for a revert back to the original Jordan Brand.

Todays (December 5, 2015) release of the “New Maroon” Air Jordan 6 marks a closer attention to the original look and feel of the 1991 shoes. The passionate Jordan fanbase has made Nike Air branding and a more premium quality a reality again but what sneakers gave them this high basis of quality? We take a look back at the color ways that forced the Air Jordan 6 into the hearts of the sneaker community and the shoes from the series that birthed the idea of quality Js.       

23.  “Infrared 23”

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Kicking off the list is the “Infrared 23”, a Jordan that arrived at quite possibly the height of the retro 6 craze.  2014 saw an abundance of the shoe silhouette released in a variety of both original and new color makeups.

22. “Champagne”

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Inspired by the celebratory indulgence of post game champagne, AJ dropped a premium green and gold pair of kicks laced with victory related details. What better signifier and symbol of luxury is there than champagne? 

21. “Carolina Low”

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Paying homage to the college alma mater of the largest living basketball star, this pair sees the under appreciated low top cut of the Jordan 6 highlighted by a signature light blue. 

20.  “Cigar”

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Dropping alongside the luxe inspired Champagne version of the 6, the Air Jordan 6 cigar borrows the color and mimics the texture of the tobacco product Michael himself has proven to be a massive fan of.  Nowadays, you’d be hard pressed to catch his “Airness” not puffing on a Cuban from his extensive collection.

19. “Lakers”

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Borrowing the yellow and purple colors of the legendary LA Lakers, this shoe model incorporates a west coast flair that is subtly displayed via the colored stitching and multicolered “Air” branding on the back heel. 

18. “Brazil”

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The exotic locale of Brazil hosted the 2014 World Cup and Jordan brand decided to splatter paint accents of the nations official color palette onto the sixth AJ.

17.  “Oreos”

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Featuring a speckled midsole and solely black and white color scheme,  the “Oreo” Air Jordan 6 used a two tone base to deliver a clean and simple kicks option.

16.  “Pistons”

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The animosity between Michael Jordan and the Detroit Pistons is well documented.  Jordan Brand decided to acknowledge one of MJ’s most prominent rival squads with a release that provides a red/blue multicolored midsole and a jet-black mix of patent leather and nubuck on the upper. 

15. “Slam Dunk”

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In an unprecedented move for the Jordan business, the footwear outfitter teamed up with a media company and released a 6 that featured a direct nod to a popular yet avant garde TV program.  The color way and graphic imagery present on the shoe is pulled from high school basketball drama and Japanese manga series “Slam Dunk”. 

14.  “Chrome Low”

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Minimalistic yet striking,  The 2002 Air Jordan 6 chrome low presents a sleek silver and dark black hue to fans of the low cut 6 silhouette. 

13.  “Beijing”

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The world tuned into the 2008 worldwide olympics and witnessed the athletic prowess of a basketball team led by Kobe Bryant that would bring a gold medal home to the US. The Beijing hosted event birthed a sneaker that featured a white patent leather upper and color accents derived from the iconic Olympic five rings logo. 

12.  “Golden Moments Pack”

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Realizing the impact of the coveted “Defining Moments” pack which featured a set of Js adorned in black/gold and conversely white/gold color makeups, JB put out another grouping that mimicked this concept.  The white 6s present in the “Golden Moments” pack possess an all white upper and ostentatious gold accents. 

11.  “Motorsports”

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Acknowledging Michael Jordan’s AMA Pro Road Racing team, this stark white/black and premium crafted sneaker was the first shoe available to the public of the highly exclusive “Motorsport” Jordan series. The Motorsport 6 abandoned some of the design conventions of the past presenting a unique branding on the back heel and a sock liner outfitted in signature elephant print.

10.  “Doernbecher”

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One of the rarest and highest valued Air Jordan’s,  The Doernbecher 6’s embossed detailing throughout the navy suede and overall high quality presentation forces the item into the top 10.

9.   White/Midnight Navy

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With a classic white leather upper, the Air Jordan 6 stands out with just about any accent or detail color. Featured in an understated navy blue, these white/midnight kicks are attention grabbing yet overtly clean. 

8.  White/ Sport Blue

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2014 saw the drop of a never before re-released or retroed original color way.  Apart of the initial 1991 grouping of AJ6 hue options,  the Sport Blue version altered the classic infrared accents of the MJ sported on court pair.

7.  “Defining Moments Pack”

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The Black and gold slabbed Air Jordan 6 has become a modern day classic.  Released in 2006, the “Defining Moments” pack included an eye catching black and gold take on a classic.  Years after its drop, the “DMP” 6 is more coveted than ever before and near impossible to track down in mint condition

6.  Black/ Varsity Red

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For those interested in a completely classic yet toned version of the 6, look no further than the black varsity reds. Utilizing a deep red on the accents, Jordan Brand provided an alternate shade to the important black and “infrared” release. 

5.  “Carmines”

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A fan favorite, the Carmine Air Jordan 6 possesses a unique two tone base that perfectly highlights the structure and style of the sixth  kicks of thesignatureseries.  

4.  White/ New Maroon

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Releasing today (December 5, 2015) for the first time since 1991, the Air Jordan 6 Maroon is a refreshingly clean and basic variation of the white Jordan 6 that has for decades had fans clamoring for a proper retro treatment.  

3.  “Olympics”

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Worn by Michael during the Sydney 2000 Olympic games, this pair takes the two tone color blocking of sneakers like the Carmines and fills it in with an americana navy blue contrasted by a mainly white upper and red detailing.

2. White/Infrared

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In February 1991, the Air Jordan 6 was unveiled to the world in a pure white and bright red.  The “infrared” shade at this point had previously been utilized and popularized by the Air Max 90 a year prior.

1. Black/ Infrared

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A sneaker created for fierce competition and even fiercer style, the black infrared 6 is the most striking of the MJ’s sixth signature footwear series. Consistently donned by Jordan in his battle against the Lakers for his first NBA title, the black/infrared 6s innovative color grouping and design remains unique to this day.