A Closer Look: Air Jordan Retro 3 'UNC'

The Air Jordan 3, originally released in 1988, represents the turning point in the Air Jordan line. As the third edition to the line, the shoe came with a list of firsts. They were the first design to feature the now iconic Jumpman logo, the gray hide-like elephant print, a visible air unit, and the first to be penned by Tinker Hatfield. Hatfield single-handedly saved the Air Jordan line with the design of the Air Jordan 3. Peter Moore, the designer of the first two Jordan editions, had recently left Nike to start his own brand but more importantly, Jordan’s contract was up for renewal. Rumor has it that Jordan was lukewarm with the first two designs and was ready to be “wowed”. Which fortunately for Nike and all of us, Tinker delivered, and Jordan was wowed.

Just in time for March Madness, Jordan is treating us with a University of Chapel Hill (Jordan’s Alma Mater) colorway of the Jordan 3’s. If I had to describe these in one word, it would be “clean”. Everything about this colorway is elegantly done. They aren’t an “in your face” pair by any means. They are tastefully designed and are perfect for the court or casual wear.

Behind the Design

The tumbled leather upper, tongue, midsole, sock liner, and rear of the shoes are all white. While the accented Valor Blue color is only used on the tongue’s Jumpman, heel mold and lace loops. The tongue’s logo is embossed, which pays homage to the classic NCAA team logos found on apparel. On the heel of the shoes, you’ll find the Jumpman logo atop the word “AIR” instead of the swoosh, which was featured on the original 88’ release. However, the elephant print’s gray tone stays true to the original release. On the footbed, you’ll find a tag design that’s a nod to Nike’s vintage college jersey tags reading, “Quality products inspired by the greatest basketball player ever." There’s one more hidden detail to uncover. Inside the right tongue, you’ll find a tag that reads “heart” and on the left “soul”. A statement of Jordan’s passion and love for the game.

The Air Jordan 3 “UNC” will release on Saturday, March 7th. Stay tuned to our blog for store locations and online availability as these are sure to bring a little madness to March.

Store Locations