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A Timeline Of The Best Jordan VIs Ever

The Air Jordan VI is one of the most important sneakers in the entire Air Jordan lineage. While the silhouette might not be as iconic as the Jordan I, III, or IV, the VI represents a turning point for the brand and marked an important shift in both Jordan’s on-court career and his pop culture legacy. Stylistically, it isn’t that different from the Jordan that proceeded it or the one that would follow it (this sneaker, like the III, IV, and V, was designed by Tinker Hatfield), it kept the previous design’s visible air unit and icy sole, but ditched the mesh quarter and fighter-jet-inspired design for something sleeker and luxury sports car-inspired, complete with a spoiler-mimicking heel tab and a plush inner-booty sleeve.

But the most significant thing about the Air Jordan VI is that it’s the silhouette Jordan rocked when he earned his first NBA Championship ring and officially kicked off the Bull’s Dynasty era, making the Chicago Bulls the greatest basketball team of the ’90s (and arguably the modern era). For that alone, the Jordan VI will always have legendary status amongst sneakerheads, basketball fanatics, and Jordan fans alike.

The Air Jordan VI is also significant as it would be the final design to incorporate Nike branding on the shoe’s exterior — subsequent designs would drop the Nike branding as the Air Jordan label continued to solidify itself as its own entity. It wasn’t without its big endorsements either, Spike Lee’s Mars Blackmon was still repping the sneakers in ad campaigns, but the biggest co-sign for the sneaker aside from Jordan himself was its inclusion in Batman Returns, where the sneaker was implemented into Michael Keaton’s bat suit, which, no disrespect to Will Smith, is a way doper co-sign than the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

In celebration of this monumental sneaker silhouette, we’re running through the greatest Jordan VI colorways of all time, in order of when they dropped. Let’s dive in.

Air Jordan VI — Black Infrared, 1991

Best Air Jordan VI
GOAT

The Black Infrared is the quintessential Jordan VI, it’s the silhouette’s most iconic colorway and still one of the best. This moody black colorway with an icy outsole and splashes of Infrared accents features a nubuck leather upper with matching black laces, embroidered branding, a Jumpman logo underfoot, and an infrared lace lock.

The sneaker also features a layer of 3M in the upper, giving the sneaker a dope reflective sheen. It’s no wonder they appealed to Batman. The most recent iteration of this sneaker dropped in 2019, and restored the reflective sheen of the original, making it the best iteration of the sneaker yet. But here’s hoping we get a new retro release soon so we don’t have to pay aftermarket prices for it.

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

Air Jordan VI — White Infrared, 1991

Best Air Jordan VI
GOAT

Released as part of the first run of colorways for the Air Jordan VI, the White Infrared features the exact same design as the Black Infrared, but with an all-white upper in black of the all-black. Debut Jordan colorways always consist of a white and black alternate, and in the case of the Air Jordan VI we have to give it to the Black Infrared, it’s just a cooler-looking shoe.

The White Infrared still has the Infrared accents and the reflective sheen, but it just doesn’t catch the eye the same way. It’s still one of the best Air Jordan VIs, but from the initial run of colorways, this is by far the weakest.

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

Air Jordan VI — Sport Blue, 1991

Best Air Jordan VI
GOAT

The Black Infrared may be the most iconic sneaker in the initial five-colorway run, but the Sport Blue is the hidden gem of the bunch. The sneaker has only received one retro re-release, in 2014 — a real shame because that true blue midsole looks great sandwiched between a pristine white leather upper and that icy outsole.

Black accents on the outsole, tongue, and heel spoiler help add a bit of contrast to the design, balancing it out and making for great eye candy. If you’re reading this Nike, re-release this one ASAP!

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

Air Jordan VI — Maroon, 1991

Best Air Jordan VI
GOAT

For the last couple of years, I couldn’t quite figure out just what I loved so much about A Ma Maniere’s Jordan drops. There was an unmistakable elegance to the simple colorways favored by A Ma Maniere that has always looked familiar to me, but I couldn’t quite place why. It turns out it’s because they most resemble the Air Jordan VI Maroon, another of the VI’s debut colorways.

The Maroon features maroon accents over a translucent outsole with a pristine white leather upper. They’re the least flashy of the initial five colorways, but the one that has aged like fine wine.

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

Air Jordan VI — Carmine, 1991

Best Air Jordan VI
GOAT

If calling the Black Infrared the “quintessential Jordan VI” triggered you and sent you straight to the comment section to have some words with me, it’s probably because you’re a fan of the Carmine, and that’s a very fair response. There is a reason we included it alongside the Black Infrared in our main cover photo for this article, it’s hard to find a colorway better than the Carmine (not for us, it’s the Black Infrared, duh).

The Carmine features white leather overlays atop a shimmering Carmine red base with black accents on the midsole and tongue and an icy outsole. The colored base helps to make the panel design really pop, which is what makes this colorway stand out so strongly. It combines the best of the Black and White Infrared and turns it into something classier, and more regal in appearance. This sneaker was most recently retroed in 2021, so it’s still chilling on aftermarket sites at a fairly reasonable price. Lucky us!

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

Air Jordan VI — Bordeaux, 1992

Best Air Jordan VI
GOAT

With the popularity of the Carmine colorway, by 1992 it was already clear to Nike that the Air Jordan VI had a sort of luxurious look to it not seen since the Air Jordan II, and to capitalize on that it gave us the fanciest AJ-VI colorway, and still a current favorite amongst sneakerheads, the Bordeaux.

Featuring a soft nubuck leather upper in grey with black overlays, and red wine-colored accents on the heel tab, lace shroud, and throat, the Bordeaux sports a translucent tongue and outsole, and a surprising splash of orange via the lace lock. It’s an elegant design that looks better like it should be on display somewhere, but luckily it was retro-released last year and is still easily found on aftermarket sites. Meaning there is no shame in tarnishing its collectible quality by wearing them until the soles come off.

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

Air Jordan VI — Olympic, 2000

Best Air Jordan VI
GOAT

Released to coincide with the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, this Olympic colorway was worn by Team USA and released to the public in the same year before being retired until 2012 for the London Olympics. I’ve always viewed the Olympics as a sort of spin on the Carmine, it features a rich navy blue leather base with white paneling and navy and red accents on the tongue, heel, and laces.

It’s not quite as luxurious as the Carmine, but it recalls that colorway thanks to its bright white overlays and richly colored base.

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

Air Jordan VI — Midnight Navy, 2002

Best Air Jordan VI
StockX

A slight spin on the Olympic colorway, the Midnight Navy swaps out that navy blue upper with an all-white base with white leather paneling and a moody midnight blue tongue, heel pull, lace lock, and midsole with matching embroidered branding at the heel and lace shroud.

The sneaker received a retro re-release in 2022 which means it’s pretty cheap on the aftermarket. If you leave this article hungry for an Air Jordan VI, this is going to be the cheapest and easiest buy.

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like StockX.

Air Jordan VI — Defining Moments Pack (DMP), 2006

Air Jordan 6
GOAT

Released alongside a matching Jordan XI, the Defining Moments Jordan VI, known by sneakerheads simply as ‘The DMP,’ was made to commemorate Jordan’s first legendary NBA three-peat. The Jordan VI DMP features a special black and gold colorway that exudes royalty.

The sneaker features a blacked-out suede upper with gold accents at the heel, spoiler, and midsole. It’s a celebration not just of Jordan, but of the Jordan VI itself.

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

Air Jordan VI — Motorsports, 2010

Air Jordan 6
GOAT

In the early 2000s, Michael Jordan launched his own motorsports team and while the team never really made a splash on the scene, it did result in a few dope motorsport-related colorways that have gone down as legendary colorways amongst sneaker collectors and Jordan fans.

This particular sneaker featured the same design as the bike used by MJ’s team in 2010 and sported a white elephant print lining that peeked out at the heel and throat, a white leather base, golden Jordan branding at the tongue, a white spoiler with black accent work and a matching black midsole, translucent outsole, and an embroidered 23 logo at the heel.

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

Air Jordan VI — Doernbecher, 2009

Best Air Jordan VI
GOAT

No roundup of the best Air Jordan colorways would be complete without a Doernbecher. Made as part of Nike’s annual collaboration with the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, this sneaker features a dark blue, red, and white colorway with a suede upper, a murky translucent outsole, and exposed stitching.

The outer quarter features the date of 06/08 while the inner panel features the date of 04/09, representing the first and last date of chemo therapy endured by the sneaker’s designer, the Doernbecher patient Jordan Dark. It stands as one of the greatest Jordan colorways of all time and looks like something fit for Superman.

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

Air Jordan VI — Slam Dunk Sakuragi, 2014

Best Air Jordan VI
GOAT

The only Air Jordan on any of our roundups so far to be explicitly anime-inspired, the Slam Dunk Sakuragis are named for the anime series Slam Dunk, and feature details inspired by the series’ protagonist Hanamichi Sakuragi.

The sneaker features a red crimson upper with an all-over graphic wrap that includes scenes from the manga, with an embroidered number 10 at the heel, an icy outsole, and a translucent heel tab, tongue, and lace lock.

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

Air Jordan VI — Cigar, 2014

Best Air Jordan VI
GOAT

I’ve always personally thought that the Air Jordan VI Cigar was kind of corny and too gaudy for its own good, but a Jordan VI roundup of the best colorways would feel incomplete without including this fan-favorite colorway. Like a lot of colorways in the Jordan VI family, this sneaker once again serves as a celebration of Jordan’s first NBA championship win.

Released alongside a Champagne Bottle colorway to commemorate the moment, complete with a gold championship ring lace lock, a golden lace shroud, and a cigar leaf colored leather upper, representing the mood of Jordan’s post-game locker room celebration.

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

Air Jordan VI — Champagne Bottle, 2014

Best Air Jordan VI
GOAT

There was no way we were going to include the Cigar without also including the sneaker it released alongside, the much superior Champagne Bottle. Featuring a forest green patent leather upper with black and gold accents, a speckled midsole, and the gold ring and lace shroud, the Champagne Bottle stands as one of the most unique Jordan VI colorways to drop in the sneaker’s over 30-year history.

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

Air Jordan VI — Infrared 23, 2014

AJ6
GOAT

2014 was clearly a special year for the Air Jordan VI, but no colorway released that year is quite as striking as this all-Infrared colorway. Featuring a leather upper in Infrared with matching panels and contrasting black laces with a cool white midsole and a translucent outsole, the Infrared 23 serves as a celebration of the silhouette itself thanks to its remixed design that recalls the best pairs of the debut run from ’91.

It’s a great modern take on a ‘90s classic, the only problem is it’s now almost 10 years old, which means we’re due for a refresh!

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

Air Jordan VI — UNC Black, 2017

Best Air Jordan VI
GOAT

For this roundup, it came down to having to pick between featuring the UNC White or UNC Black model and… we’re going to have to go with the Black. The UNC is a legendary Jordan colorway that has appeared on many silhouettes in the Jordan lineage, but the UNC Black strikes us as unique thanks to its all-black nubuck upper which creates a striking contrast against the University of North Carolina-repping University Blue accents.

The sneaker was released in 2017 in celebration of North Carolina’s NCAA win. It’s probably my favorite version of the UNC makeup ever.

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

Air Jordan VI — Paris Saint Germaine, 2019

Best Air Jordan VI
GOAT

Made in collaboration with the French soccer club Paris Saint Germaine, the PSG Jordan VI is a luxurious and stylish take on the silhouette. Sporting a stealthy nubuck leather upper in black and Iron Grey, the PSG features reflective infrared accents, patterns inspired by the PSG jersey, ‘PANAME’ branding, sock liners that read “ICE C’EST” (roughly, ‘here is Paris’), a reworked heel logo that borrows PSG’s official insignia atop a murky black translucent outsole and a matching heel pull.

You don’t need to be a soccer fan to appreciate this pair.

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

Travis Scott x Air Jordan VI — Olive, 2019

AJ6
GOAT

While the Jordan VI seems to have fallen slightly out of fashion in recent years, the sneaker’s most notable modern releases have really pushed and played with the design to offer us something previously unseen. Case in point, Travis Scott’s Air Jordan VI Olive, which features a mixed nubuck and suede upper in olive with Sail and University Red accents and a stash pocket attached to the collar.

The stash pocket was already a big enough deviation from the original design, but Cactus Jack also saw fit to add glow-in-the-dark features to the murky outsole. It’s a surprise to us that it took this long for anybody to think to add glowing features to that outsole but we’re happy someone finally did it, as gimmicky a move it is.

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

Aleali May x Air Jordan VI — Millenial Pink, 2019

Best Air Jordan VI
Nike

A bubblegum pink Air Jordan VI is the last thing I ever thought I’d see, but leave it to Aleali May to give it to us! This is hands down one of my favorite Jordan VIs of all time and featured a Rust Pink leather base with Bright Crimson accents on the midsole, heel tab, and embroidered Jumpman logo over a murky white translucent outsole.

Roundup out the design is a shimmering pink lace shroud with a matching liner at the sneaker’s throat. The sneaker dropped as a Women’s exclusive — many tears from big-footed sneakerheads who automatically caught the L on this one.

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

Air Jordan VI — Hare, 2020

Hare
GOAT

The Hare colorway is more commonly associated with the Air Jordan VII, but how could we not include the Air Jordan VI Hare when it was easily one of the best drops of 2020? A very dark year for reasons I can’t seem to remember (kidding, of course).

The Jordan VI Hare features an eggshell suede base with white panels, True Red accents, and the traditional Hare color palette at the tongue, with a triple-color lace lock, double-color outsole and a purple embroidered Jumpman at the heel panel. It’s one of the most colorful Jordan VIs to ever drop, and still one of the best.

Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.

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