How The Air Jordan 4 ‘White Oreo’ Perfectly Reimagined a Classic

August 12, 2022 by Joey Birch

How The Air Jordan 4 ‘White Oreo’ Perfectly Reimagined a Classic

Even if you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have heard of Michael Jordan and his formidable line of sneakers soon to celebrate the release of its 37th edition. 

However, 33 years ago, the Jumpman was only just being placed front and centre. 

Designed by Tinker Hatfield, the legendary designer behind a magnitude of Air Jordan models with over 30 silhouettes under his belt in addition to founding the Air Max lineage and many more innovative sneakers - the Air Jordan 4 was the one to promote the idea of flight, inspired by MJs iconic jump performed during a 1988 Slam Dunk contest.

After the AJ 1 from 1985 and AJ2 from 1986, Jordan was sceptical as to the future of the brand whilst in close discussion with adidas and Converse with the recently revived adidas Forum originally set to be his signature shoe. 

However, the luxury-inspired Air Jordan 3 seemed to change his perspective. Placing the Jumpman logo on the tongue and continuing to remove the Nike Swoosh, a decision made by Bruce Kilgore for the Air Jordan 2, the 3s officially sent Jordan Brand on a new trajectory. 

OG Air Jordan 3 'Black Cement' 1988

Following the popularity that the AJ3 garnered, Hatfield had a lot of pressure to follow up with a similarly great silhouette that further pushed the boundaries and expectations of performance basketball footwear. 

Enter, the Air Jordan 4

OG Air Jordan 4 'Fire Red', 1989

Releasing in three colourways: ‘Fire Red’, ‘Bred’ and ‘Military Blue’ with a further two that, while created in ‘89, weren’t released until later on in an ‘Olive’ colourway that would later be released by Undefeated in 2018 and a ‘Black and Red’ which inspired the ‘Red Thunder’ colourway from earlier this year - the Air Jordan 4 was a huge step forward in innovation that will remain in the hall of fame for years to come.

Placing a set of ‘wings’ around the ankle support of the shoe alongside a handwritten ‘Flight’ slogan on the tongue tag and classic ‘Nike Air’ on the heel, the idea of flight was key within the AJ4. While the original colourways were all popular in their own regard, the one that topped them all was the ‘Oreo’. Released 10 years after the original trio, the ‘Oreo’ colourway featured a supple tumbled leather upper alongside grey detailing throughout. 

Similar to the iconic 'White Cement' that released the same year, the Oreo colourway featured grey detailing with a black speckled effect across the midsole and eyelets which, as with the elephant print leather on the AJ3, has become a synonymous feature on Nike footwear. 

Since the original ‘99 release of the ‘Oreo’ Air Jordan 4, the colourway has only been revisited once in 2015 when Jordan Brand rereleased the sneaker with all the original features that fans adored. 

Six years after the retro of the ‘Oreo’ 4s, Jordan Brand released a reimagined variant of the staple that stole people’s hearts in 1999: the ‘White Oreo’. Featuring a clean white tumbled leather upper along with the classic speckled cement detailing around the midsole, the retro was almost a combination of the ‘Oreo’ and ‘White Cement’. Where the original release featured minimal grey detailing on the tongue and outsole, the 2021 version included pops of colour thanks to a bright red Jumpman on the tongue and outsole that was also reflected on the shoebox. 

Since 2021, the Air Jordan 4 has seen an ongoing rise in popularity, similar to that of the Nike Dunk and Air Jordan 1 with a new mainstream appeal being applied to the classic basketball turned lifestyle shoe. Reminiscent of a classic, bringing it into the present, the ‘White Oreo’ colourway is a perfect nod to ‘90s culture, giving fans the chance to get their hands on an instant classic.

Shop the Air Jordan 4 ‘White Oreo’ right now by clicking here

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