By the time Nike sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield gave the world the Jordan V he was, like Jordan himself, operating at the top of his game. If the world of ‘90s basketball was dominated by Michael Jordan — and it was, there’s no doubt about that — the sneaker world had no bigger star than Hatfield. By 1990, Nike’s most famed designer already had the Air Max, Air Trainer, Jordan III, and Jordan IV under his belt, but with the V he would take things to the next level by introducing brand new design elements that radically reimagined the look of the Air Jordan from its first iterations.
The Air Jordan V ushered in a new decade — look no further than Nike’s primary cultural ambassador this time around. Rather than Spike Lee, the most visible V wearer besides MJ himself was ’90s icon Will Smith, who rocked several legendary pairs throughout the run of Fresh Prince of the Bel Air. This was the shoe that proved Jordans could stay young even as their namesake matured and offered the first hints that the shoe line was a brand unto itself.
Unlike the Jordan IV, which was a subtle iteration on the III — which itself is indebted to the often-overlooked II, designed by Jordan I designer Peter Moore — the V gave Hatfield a chance to design a sneaker that was completely original and all his own. What we got was a stylishly bulky silhouette with a distinct asymmetrical collar, a reflective tongue, translucent rubber soles, lace locks, and a World War II Era fighter plane-inspired design. With its jagged shark tooth midsole, the Jordan V looks ready to attack. It’s the only Jordan design that truly captures Jordan’s aggressive court style and, for that reason alone, it’s a classic.
In celebration of this legendary sneaker, we’re running through the greatest Jordan V colorways to ever release in the shoe’s 31-year history. Check them out, in chronological order, below.
Air Jordan V Fire Red, 1990
When Nike launched the Air Jordan V they did so by releasing one of the silhouette’s best colorways, the Fire Red. 31 years later and this sneaker still looks amazing. The Fire Red features a premium white leather upper with a silver reflective tongue and Nike branding at the heel. Our favorite details of this colorway are the red shark tooth pattern at the heel and that icy blue translucent rubber outsole that the sneaker sits on, which features a hidden Jumpman logo underfoot.
Last year, Nike dropped a retro rerelease of this colorway and it predictably sold out in an instant. But that just means it’s easier to get than ever on aftermarket sites.
Pick up the 2020 retro rerelease at aftermarket sites like GOAT.
Air Jordan V Grape, 1990
The Fire Red may be the most iconic Jordan V but our favorite is easily the Grape. Released as one of the original four colorways, the Grape is the pair popularized by the Fresh Prince, and its combination of white leather, black, New Emerald, and Grape has got to be the most quintessential ’90s color combo of all time.
Rounding out the design is a subtle blue outsole and a teal shark tooth pattern with a matching Jumpman logo lurking beneath.
Pick up the 2013 retro rerelease at aftermarket sites like GOAT.
Air Jordan V Metallic Silver, 1990
Fire red accents meet an icy blue outsole in the Air Jordan V Metallic Silver. Featuring a nubuck black upper with a cookies-and-cream-esque speckled shark tooth pattern, the Metallic Silver sports a reflective tongue, courtesy of 3M, and oozes stealthy cool.
It’s not quite as iconic as the other debut colorways, but it’s hard not to love this pair. It’s brimming with attitude.
The Air Jordan V Metallic Silver’s last retro release was in 2016. Pick up a pair on aftermarket sites like GOAT.
Air Jordan V Laney, 2000
With the Air Jordan V’s debut colorways being as strong as they were, it was hard for Nike to compete with itself. Flash forward a decade into the future and we finally hit a new notable colorway for the design, 2000’s Laney.
Featuring a colorway that paid homage to Jordan’s Wilmington, North Carolina EA Laney High School colors, the Laney sports a pristine white leather upper with Varsity Maize and Royal Blue accents, and an embroidered 23 at the heel.
If you’re a fan of this design, be sure to check out the inverted “Away” game colorway, it’s almost as good.
The Laney was last retro’d in 2013, pick up an aftermarket pair at GOAT.
Air Jordan V White Metallic, 2000
Nike has a tendency to release a legendary colorway — like ’90s Metallic for instance — and then flip some colors around and try to resell it to us as a play on a fan favorite. It doesn’t always work but ‘00s White Metallic is an exception.
A radical flip on the OG Metallic Silver, the White Metallic features an all-white upper, a silver embroidered 23 logo at the heel, with a matching metallic sharktooth pattern which looks great coupled with that icy blue outsole. It’s just as good as the OG colorway it’s indebted to.
Pick up a pair of Air Jordan V White Metallic at GOAT.
Air Jordan V Army Olive, 2006
The Air Jordan V is one of the few Jordan silhouettes that looks just as good in suede as it does leather, ‘06s Olive being a prime example. Featuring an earthy suede green upper with bright orange accents, a metallic silver tongue, and see-through lace toggles, the Olive has a utilitarian vibe that makes the V look as fit for hiking as it is on the court.
Pick up a pair of the Air Jordan V Olive at aftermarket sites like GOAT.
Air Jordan V Green Bean, 2006
There are a lot of great Jordan V colorways out there, so much that it was difficult to limit this list to just 25. Had we left of ‘06s Green Bean, sneakerheads everywhere would’ve never let us hear the end of it. It’s easy to see why — the Green Bean is one of the best Jordan colorways of all time. Of any of the models!
Featuring a reflective 3M upper, the Green Bean features a pale green collar with a matching Jumpman tongue logo and shark tooth pattern.
The Air Jordan V Green Bean can be picked up on aftermarket sites like GOAT.
Air Jordan V Deep Burgundy, 2006
You’re about to witness how powerful a year ’06 was for the Jordan V. The same year that gave us the Green Bean also gave us the Deep Burgundy, a beautiful full suede makeup with gray contrast stitching, matching laces and sharkteeth, and a reflective silver tongue.
The silvery and gray accents look especially great contrasting against the moodier burgundy suede upper.
Pick up a pair of Deep Burgundy Vs at aftermarket sites like StockX.
WMNS Air Jordan V Stealth, 2006
This year, Nike has done a great job of making up for all the years they ignored female sneakerheads. Things weren’t always this way — with WMNS-exclusive Jordan drops — which makes 2006 all the more surprising because the brand managed to deliver a couple of WMNS-size exclusives that rival the best colorways that ever graced this silhouette.
It’s hard to get much better than the Stealth, which combines a Shy Pink sharktooth patterning and collar, with a 3M reflective tongue and a clean silver nubuck upper. Nike not delivering more Shy Pink detailed Jordans should be a crime!
Pick up a pair of Stealth Air Jordan Vs at aftermarket sites like GOAT.
Air Jordan V Women’s Sunset, 2006
2006 — need we say more? If the WMNS exclusive Stealth colorway didn’t blow you away, prepare to feast your eyes on ‘06s other big WMNS exclusive, the Sunset. Featuring a white leather upper with a silver reflective tongue, translucent net paneling, and a sunset-esque shark tooth detail, the Sunset sits atop a bright scarlet outsole.
It’s a loud design that demands to be seen and it’s one of the AJ V’s best.
Pick up a pair of the WMNS Air Jordan V Sunset at aftermarket sites like GOAT.
Air Jordan V Black University Blue, 2006
Every Jordan has a UNC colorway, but the V is the only one that combines University Blue with black. Generally, the UNC features a white and blue makeup and while that’s a classic look it’s hard to deny that the Black UNC looks amazing. Maybe even better?! So uh, Nike, if you can get on giving us Black UNCs for every Jordan model, we’d appreciate that. (They’ll never do it though, Nike hates making money the easy way, so we’ll probably get another Travis Scott sneaker nobody asked for.)
Featuring a black nubuck upper with Carolina blue stitching, clear lace locks, and a white sharktooth design, the Black UNC is easily in the top five when it comes to the V’s best colorways.
Pick up an Air Jordan V Black UNC at aftermarket sites like GOAT.
Air Jordan V RA Laser, 2007
Like the Jordan IV before it, the V received a laser-etched design that dropped in 2007. Featuring a white leather upper with a swirling army olive laser-etched pattern, Solar Orange accents, and a speckled sharktooth design, the RA Laser is a double-dip on the proceeding year’s Olive colorway with a few alterations that manage to make it look more like art than a functional piece of footwear.
We’d wear the heck out of it though. Check out that patterned collar! It’s begging to be paired with the right socks.
Grab the Air Jordan V RA Laser at aftermarket sites like GOAT.
Air Jordan V Motosports, 2008
If you missed that classic UNC University Blue and white color combo, don’t worry, it’s still alive and well in the Jordan V Motorsports. Originally released as a Friends & Family only colorway given to Jordan’s often-forgotten racing team, we considered leaving the Motorsports off of this list since it was never commercially available but… look at this thing!
It’s hard not to instantly fall in love with it. The Motorsports features a white leather upper, 3M tongue, and University Blue accents.
We’d love to link you to a pair, but they pretty much don’t exist on the aftermarket, and if they do it’s for a prohibitive price. Hopefully, Nike wakes up and drops a new refresh for the wider public.
Air Jordan V Raging Bull, 2009
If the Raging Bull is looking familiar to you, it’s because it’s one of the retro colorways that dropped this year. So for those holding out on a re-release of the Motorsports, there is still hope — last year no one would imagine they’d be able to get their hands on this pair again.
Originally released in 2009 alongside a less notable black make-up, the Raging Bull features a premium suede Varsity Red upper, black accents, a reflective silver tongue, and sits atop a polyurethane midsole. The sneaker’s most notable detail is the red-tipped white shark teeth, which is the most threatening use of two colors we’ve ever seen on a Jordan.
Pick up the Air Jordan V Raging Bull on aftermarket sites like Flight Club. It’s probably the cheapest and most accessible legendary Jordan V colorway you can get your hands on.
Air Jordan V Cinder, 2009
Just when it feels like you’ve seen every color combination of the Jordan V, here comes the Cinder which somehow combines black and white in a way we haven’t seen yet on this silhouette. Featuring a white patent leather upper, black contrast stitching, and a camouflage collar, the Cinder actually manages to swap out the reflective silver tongue that shows up on so many models for a brown earthy make-up, and it grounds the design in an interesting way.
The Cinder looks like it can’t decide between being something you wear while walking down a busy city street, or amongst the trees at your favorite hiking trail. So why not both? We’ll take it!
Grab a pair of Air Jordan V Cinders at aftermarket sites like GOAT.
Air Jordan V Tokyo, 2011
The Air Jordan V Tokyo is so beloved that it ranks right up there with colorways like the Fire Red, UNC, and Grape, despite not being a classic that has been utilized on earlier Jordan models. It’s rare that a brand new colorway rises above the classics but the Tokyo still looks so damn cool 10 years after its original release.
Dropped in celebration of Jordan’s Tokyo 23 store in Japan, the Tokyo features a yellow suede upper with Wolf Grey Accents, a speckled shark tooth design, and a Japanese Kanji 23 embroidered near the heel.
The Air Jordan V Tokyo can still be found on aftermarket sites like GOAT for a very high price. We’d suggest waiting for the eventual retro re-release.
Air Jordan V Wolf Grey, 2011
What I love about the Wolf Grey Jordan V is the shoe’s dusty graphite makeup, it looks like someone sketched it in an art class! With a white speckled midsole, icy translucent outsoles, and nubuck upper, the Wolf Grey is another utilitarian design for the V, but unlike the outdoorsy Olive, the Wolf Grey looks fit for the garage. Like it’s meant to get dirty.
Pick up a pair of Wolf Grey Jordan Vs at aftermarket sites like GOAT.
Air Jordan V Doernbecher Isaac Arzate, 2012
Made in collaboration with the Portland-based Doernbecher Children’s Hospital as part of the Doernbecher Freestyle Program, this blacklight glowing design was brought to us by late patient Isaac Arzate. All of the Doernbecher Jordan’s are so good that you could make a whole list about them but the Isaac Arzate rises above the rest.
It’s incredibly dope thanks to a polished black leather upper, blacklight-activated lettering that reveals a poem written by Arzate before his passing, and an icy blue outsole with a pure white shark tooth. One of the greatest Jordan colorways of all time.
Pick up a pair at aftermarket sites like GOAT.
Air Jordan V Shanghai Shen, 2013
Released as a Chinese market exclusive, those with a keen eye will notice that the Shanghai Shen is a remixed take on the Laney colorway, with a black synthetic nubuck upper in place of the Laney’s white leather. Bright blue and yellow accents round out this design, which features a yellow-speckled blue shark tooth, blue embroidered Jumpman, and a medallion in place of the sneaker’s usual embroidered 23 logo.
Pick up a pair of the Shanghai Shen at aftermarket sites like GOAT.
Air Jordan V Black Grape, 2013
You could make the argument that the Black Grape is actually superior to the OG Grape. I won’t make it, because I’m torn on whether or not that’s true, but it’s hard not to fall in love with the Black Grape instantly.
While the combination of New Emerald and Grape doesn’t quite scream “1990” like the OG, that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Instead of white leather, this design features a black nubuck upper with a translucent lace lock and an icy blue outsole. If we had to rank these sneakers choosing between this and the OG Grape for the top spot would have us going back and forth constantly. Thankfully, we’re not doing that today so here it is chilling somewhere in the middle of the list, gloriously unranked!
Grab a pair of the Jordan V Black Grape at aftermarket sites like GOAT.
Air Jordan V Fab Five, 2017
A sneaker designed for fans of the Michigan Wolverines, the Air Jordan V Fab Five is a collaboration between Hatfield and Dan Sunwoo who pay tribute to the Fab Five ‘90s team which consisted of Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson, and Chris Webber.
The Fab Five resembles the Tokyo thanks to its yellow and black colorway, but with a few subtle differences like an inverted speckled shark tooth, an embroidered ‘M’ in place of the Jumpman logo to rep Michigan, and stitching on the tongue labels reading “Hail To” and “The Victors.”
Unfortunately, the Fab Five is currently unavailable on the aftermarket, but that just means Nike will eventually rerelease this design and probably ditch that embroidered ‘M’ which is only going to result in a better design. No shade to Michigan.
Air Jordan V Trophy Room Ice Blue, 2019
The Trophy Room Ice Blue makeup of the Jordan V is probably still fresh in your memory considering it dropped back in 2019. It’s not like any big life events have happened since 2019 that would cause you to forget about a shoe right? Oh… wait.
Because this sneaker dropped in 2019 a little bit before we entered this life in lockdown we’ve been living, we probably haven’t even had the opportunity to see these babies out in the wild, which is a shame because it’s one of the best. Featuring an ice blue suede upper with University Red details, this is the only Jordan V with an upper that matches the outsole.
That’s a design decision we need to see more of with this silhouette, please give us more matching outsoles on the V Nike!
Pick up a pair of Jordan V Trophy Room Ice Blues for a very high price at aftermarket sites like GOAT. But because this sneaker is currently so expensive, we’re going to suggest waiting on this one until prices drop.
Air Jordan V Alternate Bel-Air, 2020
I’m probably going to get a lot of lip from angry Jordan heads for including last year’s alternate Bel-Air colorway instead of the 2013 original, but this one is just so much better. Making a Jordan V colorway that pays tribute to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air makes sense, it’s a nice little feedback loop, but the OG Bel-Air featured way too much purple, looking less like a ‘90s classic and more like… Barney the dinosaur.
The Alternate Bel-Air remedies that by ditching the purple upper for white leather and keeping the more radical colors on the sidelines. Somehow this sneaker manages to look more ‘90s than even the Grape, just peep that hot pink patterned collar and Jumpman logo, and those neon green accents.
Pick up a pair of Alternate Bel-Air Jordan Vs at aftermarket sites like GOAT at a very reasonable price.
Off-White Air Jordan V Muslin, 2020
It’s hard to best a design by Tinker Hatfield but damn it if Off-White’s Virgil Abloh isn’t going to try! The Off-White Air Jordan V with its peek-through upper windows, oversized tongue, and pre-yellowed translucent outsole is… interesting to say the least. It’s only getting a spot on our list because it manages to do the impossible — reimagine a perfect design.
Whether or not it accomplishes that redesign is up to you but many seemed to have thought it did as the design sold out nearly instantly. My only gripe is in the decision to utilize a pre-yellowed outsole. The way the original fades in a disgusting yellow was not a desired feature of the original design, unless your name is Virgil Abloh of course.
Grab a pair of Off-White Air Jordan V Muslins at aftermarket sites like GOAT.
Air Jordan V Oreo (2013)/ Moonlight (2021)
Originally released in 2013, we’re happy to report that one of the best Jordan colorways is about to reenter the scene under a different name. The Oreo, which is now being called the Moonlight for some reason — which is a better but less memorable name — is set to drop at the end of this month and features a black suede upper with TPU eyelets, translucent netting, and a black and white speckled shark tooth that sits atop a pure white midsole. It looks like you’re wearing the universe on your feet.
It’s beautiful and shockingly you have the opportunity to pick this one up for a retail price of $190. That’s easily the cheapest Jordan V colorway on this massive list!
Pick up a pair of Jordan V Moonlight (Oreo if you’re nostalgic) via the Nike SNKRS app on September 25th.