Jordan 12: The Ultimate Review

If you're curious about the Jordan 12 then you need to check out this review. We've got everything you need to know before you purchase.

Keyword(s): Jordan 12


When a sneaker commands a loyal following for more than 25 years, you know it has to be good. The Nike Air Jordan 12 is one of them. 

Since its debut in 1996, this shoe has continued to adorn the feet of celebrities, athletes, and everyday folks alike. The twelfth shoe designed by Nike for superstar Michael Jordan, it was first released during the 1996-1997 NBA season. 

Today, you can find Jordan 12s in a variety of different styles, models, and colorways. Curious about adding a pair to your collection but unsure where to start?

Today, we're sharing everything you need to know about this iconic sneaker, including how to snag a pair today. 

Nike Air Jordan 12 Sneakers: A Brief History

Before we dive into the specific features of the Jordan 12's, let's take a look back in time. Where did the shoes begin and what's behind their look?

As you might expect, legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield was at the helm of this late-'90s design. From the visionary Nike Air Max 1s to the classic Air Jordan 3s, Hatfield is behind some of the brand's most recognizable and beloved styles. 

The debut of the Jordan 12s marked the first time an Air Jordan model was released under its own name, rather than under the Nike parent brand. While the two entities were still closely intertwined, this was a major step forward for Jordan and ushered in a new era of celebrity athlete endorsements. 

The first Air Jordan sneaker to showcase Nike's Zoom Air Cushioning, the original Jordan 12s also featured a full-length Phylon cushion as well as a carbon fiber midfoot support shank. The outside was cased in premium-quality, full-grain leather, which elevated the look of the sneakers outside of the traditional athletic shoe realm. 

At first, there were only five Air Jordan 12 colorways available. These included:

  • Taxi (white and black)
  • Obsidian (red and white)
  • Varsity (white and red)
  • Flu Game (red and black)
  • Playoffs (black and white)

Between 2003 and 2004, the sneakers were retroed for the first time. The Jordan 12 Retro style was released at the same time as a new colorway, called Nubuck. This marked the first time that the Air Jordan brand had debuted a release specifically as an online exclusive. 

Now, you can find Jordan 12 sneakers in almost every different style imaginable. Let's take a look at some of this shoe's most noteworthy features.

Bold, Dynamic Colorways

You don't rock a pair of Nike Air Jordan 12s to blend in on the court. You put on these sneakers when you want to turn heads. With their bright, eye-catching colorways, it's easy to do so. 

Will you go for a revamp of the original classic, the Air Jordan Retro Taxi Suede? Featuring a timeless black-and-white color scheme, these shoes also show off metallic gold accents for a luxurious touch. 

Or, do you prefer something a little funkier? The innovative Retro Black Pink Blast colorway takes the Air Jordan 12 Retro style in a new, head-turning direction. This black-and-pink pair combines touches of suede and camouflage and even features a fun pizza accent on the laces. 

While many of the newer Jordan 12 styles are revamps of the original five colorways, exciting releases happen on a regular basis. One example is the Air Jordan 12 Low Golf Taxi, which just debuted in March 2022. 

Wearable Comfort and Support

Aesthetics aside, how do the Jordan 12s feel? Keep in mind that this shoe was first built for a basketball superstar, so you can expect it to perform well under pressure. 

These sneakers are supremely comfortable and durable enough for all-day wear. This ruggedness is attributed in large part to the full-length Zoom Air cushioning unit that you'll find under each shoe. 

When you put pressure on your feet, the fibers within the Zoom Air unit compact and shrink. Then, they bounce back up as you release your weight. This gives you the feeling of walking on a cloud and helps ensure your feet never get too tired.

Whether you're on the court or at the gym, you'll also appreciate the carbon fiber shank plate. This supporting structure runs along the arch of your foot and keeps the shoe refreshingly lightweight. 

Finally, another feature that makes this shoe comfortable is the Phylon midsole. This material is light, elastic, and offers excellent cushioning. 

Traction and Wear

Most Air Jordan styles feature a signature herringbone-style traction on the bottom, and this extends to the 12s. Combined with the rounded edges of the outsole, this material gives you excellent, slip-resistant support no matter where you go. 

Wear-wise, you can expect to get plenty of years out of your sneaker investment. Air Jordan 12s feature uppers made almost entirely of full-grain leather or suede. 

While these materials are built to last, some wearers might find that these uppers lack the ventilation provided by other Nike models, such as those with integrated Flyknit technology. 

This is especially the case if you're rocking your Jordan 12s off the court. Newer, lower-cut models offer more breathability and wiggle room around the ankle. Check out a pair like the Air Jordan 12 Low Super Bowl colorway to see the difference. 

Shop All of Our Jordan 12 Styles

Now that we've covered a few of the features that make the Nike Air Jordan 12 so special, are you ready to add a pair to your collection? 

Whether you go old-school and choose a retro pair or you're more interested in the sleek new colorways, you can't go wrong with this classic sneaker. For decades, they've remained well-built, fashion-forward, and high-performing. 

We offer a variety of Air Jordan styles in our online shop, including new Jordan 12 sneakers. Take a look around and shop all of the latest looks today!