9. Air Jordan 3 (1988)
The legend is these are the sneakers that saved the brand. After lackluster releases with earlier Air Jordan designs Jordan was ready to bolt to Adidas if the Air Jordan 3’s weren’t great. Can you imagine the world without the Jordan/Nike connection? It seems impossible for so many reasons.
Fortunately, we don’t have to live in that world as Jordan was wowed by the design of the 3’s. The design featured a mix of faux elephant skin and tumbled leather. The key to Jordan’s approval though was the drop in profile to a mid-top instead of a high-top.