To be sure, the Air Jordan 12 is a crucial part of the brand’s legacy. It’s also a potent reminder of MJ’s greatness.

Those of us who saw the 12s for the first time on Jordan’s feet back in 1996 have specific memories attached to them. The younger among us know them as one of the best retro Jordans around.

Whichever category you fall into, we thought we’d run through some of the basics of this iconic design. We’ll set the table by looking at some of the history behind it and throw on some modern notes you should keep in mind.

The Background

The Air Jordan 12 comes about in a pretty typical way. Not typical for just any shoe, of course. But, typical for a Jumpman signature. The line had been taking outside inspiration for years. Tinker and crew had been influenced by everything from fast cars and World War II fighter planes to panthers.

With the Air Jordan 12, there were all sorts of visual inspirations. One of the more notable ones was the concept of high heels. The pumps that were staples on fashion runways provided some foundation for the look of the 12s. There was also the visual of sun rays which inspired the stitching along the shoe’s lateral panels.

Next up, the subtly fascinating branding switch. MJ was getting a bit tired at this point of seeing his number 23 everywhere. His shoes, all eleven previous releases, featured some rendition of that number. So, for the 12, he wanted something a bit different. That’s where the idea to print “Two 3” on the tongue came to fruition. The GOAT was bored, and so he switched things up a bit.

Beyond that, the shoe was designed to meet some very specific needs. On the court, Michael was still, unsurprisingly, dominating. He was going through yet another season in which he’d average nearly 30 points per game. However, age was starting to catch up to him.

So, the Air Jordan 12 was designed with several key aspects to respond in kind, including an upgraded midsole. It was a shoe that was meant to help the greatest player ever to age as gracefully as he’d like.

The Shoe

So, let’s talk a bit about the shoe itself. We all know MJ was ruining defenders’ careers when he played in them. But, are they worth buying today as a retro?

The Air Jordan 12 is a huge get for any fan of basketball. This shoe comes from what some see as the “Golden Era” of the sport. Consequently, it has a sort of nostalgic value. Fortunately, that’s not all.

The Air Jordan 12 also comes with plenty in the way of great design. Surprisingly, it’s still a solid choice to hoop in.

The uppers are usually in a mix of leathers. Mostly, what you’ll get these days is a split leather, which is a slight step down from the OGs but nonetheless solid. On the midsole, we see full-length Zoom Air that comes with great court-feel.

The traction is effective as well, lasting well beyond what you’d expect from a retro these days.

But how do they fit/ are they uncomfortable

This is one you’ll have to figure out for yourself. But, we can tell you a few things to expect.

First, this is without a doubt one of the more comfortable sneakers in the retro Jordan collection. The leather alone feels cushy and the midsole’s full-length coverage feels bouncy even on strolls.

Second, the fit is an important concept and comes with a specific note. For most people, there’s been a noticeable shift since the 2012 retros. It seems like they’re being made to fit a bit large to size. You’ll want to consider going up a ½ size if you’re looking at copping any Air Jordan 12 post-2012.

Other than that, this is still a solid hoop shoe that also happens to look pretty darn good.


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