Air Jordan 4s: Why Are They So Popular and Expensive?

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It’s rare for a sneaker to become an instant pop culture icon the second it hits the shelves. The Air Jordan 4 basketball shoe is one of the most recognizable – and sought-after – sneakers in the world. It was launched by Nike in 1989 and designed by Tinker Hatfield.

The Jordan 4 was introduced in 1989 and has since become one of the most iconic and sought-after shoes worldwideThe Jordan 4 was introduced in 1989 and has since become one of the most iconic and sought-after shoes worldwide

Built with performance in mind, these shoes have been a hit on and off the basketball court.

It’s one of the most popular silhouettes for Nike collaborations and is one style you’ll find in every sneaker collector’s closet. They’re amongst some of the hardest sneakers to find, with the most sought-after styles selling in the region of $20,000.

We’re breaking down everything you need to know about why the Jordan 4s are so expensive and what the most popular Air Jordan 4 styles are.

The Jordan 4: The Shoe That Changed the Game

The iconic Jordan 4s were originally launched in 1989 and designed by Tinker Hatfield. They hit the market with the style code 4364 and retailed for $110.

These shoes were the first global release for the Air Jordan franchise, with the original style having an “over-molded” mesh and the Nike Air logo on the heel.

The Jordan 4s were the second Jordan model created by iconic Nike designer Tinker Hatfield in 1989The Jordan 4s were the second Jordan model created by iconic Nike designer Tinker Hatfield in 1989

The Jordan 4s entered pop culture when they appeared in Spike Lee’s movie, Do The Right Thing.

Air Jordan 4 Sneakers Price: How Much Do They Cost?

Most Jordan 4 sneakers will set you back around $210 retail. The price will depend on the collaboration or style you’re choosing. Jordan 4s will instantly hit the resale market at a considerably higher price tag.

How to Spot Fake Air Jordan 4s: A Buyer’s Guide

Fake Jordan 4s are all over the resale market. You’ll want to know how to spot fake Nike Air Jordans online and in re-sale stores when shopping for Jordan 4s.

There are a few key things you should look out for to identify counterfeit Jordan 4s.

1. Stitching

While counterfeit sneakers are getting harder to spot, you can usually tell the difference by looking at the details. The stitching is an easy way to spot real vs. fake Nike sneakers. Fake sneakers will fail to replicate the neat stitching of the real thing and have an inconsistent stitch.

While counterfeit Nike sneakers may have uneven or sloppy stitching, genuine Air Jordan 4s feature precise and consistent stitchingWhile counterfeit Nike sneakers may have uneven or sloppy stitching, genuine Air Jordan 4s feature precise, parallel, and consistent stitching

2. The Logo

The logo is one detail you want to pay attention to. Fake Jordan 4s don’t always get the sizing right. However, the logo can be challenging to use as a determining factor unless you have a real Jordan 4 sneaker on hand to directly compare it to.

Real Jordan 4s have a high-quality Jumpman logo presented in an embroidered patternReal Jordan 4s have a high-quality Jumpman logo presented in an embroidered pattern

3. Toe Box

Fake Jordan 4s typically fail to recreate the distinctive toe box of the genuine thing.

Look out for fake sneakers that have a smaller toe box and a sharper curve instead of the wider toe box and flatter curve of the real Jordan 4s.

Real Jordan 4s have a wide toe box and a flatter curveReal Jordan 4s have a wide toe box and a flatter curve

Are Jordan 4s as Comfortable as Other Sneakers?

The Jordan 4s are designed with comfort and performance in mind, making them an ideal everyday sneaker for both on and off the basketball court.

These sneakers are some of the most comfortable ones you’ll find from Nike, with cushioning technology that supports you through every step.

Initially designed as a basketball shoe, the Air Jordan 4 provides lightweight cushioning and stability with its visible Air-Sole unit and molded midsoleInitially designed as a basketball shoe, the Air Jordan 4 provides lightweight cushioning and stability with its visible Air-Sole unit and molded midsole

The silhouette is designed to snug your feet for all-day wear. If you’re between sizes and want a little extra wiggle room, it’s a good idea to go up half a size for your perfect fit.

The Secret to Air Jordan 4s’ Popularity and High Price

The Jordan 4s are some of the most expensive sneakers on the private market. Several factors explain why the Air Jordan 4s have such a high resale value.

1. Limited runs

Most Air Jordan 4s are released as part of limited-edition collaborations or releases. It’s not unusual to have a style sell out within a few hours or instantly upon release. Collectors will queue up outside stores several hours in advance to secure their spot.

Shoe collectors typically wait several hours in line outside Nike, Jordan, and other shoe stores for a chance to purchase a pair of Jordan 4sShoe collectors typically wait several hours in line outside Nike, Jordan, and other shoe stores for a chance to purchase a pair of Jordan 4s (Credit: Indoor Vision / Shutterstock)

2. Resale culture

Like anything that’s highly collectible, there are plenty of resellers who purchase Air Jordan 4s to flip them.

These resellers often have networks of shoppers, making it harder for everyday collectors to pick up new releases at retail prices. Many collectors find themselves in a position where the resale market is their only option for buying Jordan 4s.

Due to high demand and low supply, many collectors are compelled to purchase Jordan 4s from the resale marketDue to high demand and low supply, many collectors are compelled to purchase Jordan 4s from the resale market (Credit: Maxim Apryatin / Shutterstock)

3. Production

Not even brands as big as Nike are exempt from supply chain issues. The popularity of the Air Jordan 4s means it’s not uncommon to find the style sold out both in-store and online.

Air Jordan 4s are usually sold out in-store and online due to their popularity and supply chain issuesAir Jordan 4s are usually sold out in-store and online due to their popularity and supply chain issues (Credit: htzp2009 / Shutterstock)

It’s these factors that make the Air Jordan 4s so popular. They’re a celebrity favorite, a pop culture icon, and increasingly difficult to get.

Collectors and resellers are constantly battling to get their hands on the latest Jordan 4s.

The Most Popular/Expensive Air Jordan 4 Sneakers

Many of the most popular and expensive Air Jordan 4 sneakers come from collaborations between Nike and other brands or public figures.

These sneakers often fetch several times their original sticker price on the private market and are amongst the most sought-after by sneaker collectors.

1. Air Jordan 4 x Travis Scott Cactus Jack (F&F)

Travis Scott is one of the most popular rappers of the era, making it no surprise that his Air Jordan 4s are among the most high-valued sneakers.

You can expect to pay several thousand dollars for these Jordan 4s when they appear on the market after their original release in 2019. Goat has this pair for $3,907.

The Air Jordan 4 x Travis Scott Cactus Jack (F&F), which was created specifically for Travis Scott's friends and family, has the distinctive Cactus Jack emblem on the right heel and the traditional Nike Air logo on the leftThe Air Jordan 4 x Travis Scott Cactus Jack (F&F), which was created specifically for Travis Scott’s friends and family, has the distinctive Cactus Jack emblem on the right heel and the traditional Nike Air logo on the left

2. Air Jordan 4 x Eminem x Carhartt

One of the unicorns of the Jordan 4 collector world is the coveted three-way collaboration between Nike, Eminem, and Carhartt. They debuted in 2015 with only a handful of styles made for friends and family of Slim Shady.

Ten pairs were auctioned on eBay for charity, with most selling in the region of $20,000. Sotheby’s currently has a pair on its website for $21,000.

Air Jordan x Eminem x Carhartt released 10 more pairs of these sneakers that were originally intended to be gifts for Eminem's friends and family in order to raise money for the Marshall Mathers FoundationAir Jordan x Eminem x Carhartt released 10 more pairs of these sneakers that were originally intended to be gifts for Eminem’s friends and family in order to raise money for the Marshall Mathers Foundation

3. OVO x Air Jordan 4 ‘Splatter’

While Drake is now in the sneaker game with Adidas, he originally partnered with Nike, leaving behind several concept shoes that are top of most collectors’ wish lists.

Drake stepped out in a pair of OVO x Air Jordan 4 ‘Splatter’ sneakers in 2017, a reimagined update of the 1989 ‘Splatter’ colorway. Drake’s sample has appeared for sale several times, selling at Sotheby’s in 2022 for $32,760 in 2020.

Drake's unreleased Air Jordan IV has an OVO Owl behind the heel tab and was inspired by another unreleased prototype from 1989Drake’s unreleased Air Jordan IV has an OVO Owl behind the heel tab and was inspired by another unreleased prototype from 1989

Filed Under: Celebrities