Overview of the 2011 Jordan 3 Retro Black Flip Sneakers

Considered one of the most recognized sneakers of all time, the Air Jordan 3 introduced many firsts for the brand. First and foremost, Michael Jordan's third signature sneaker introduced the now-revered Jumpman logo—a silhouette of His Airness leaping through the air mid-dunk—that replaced the popular Wings logo found on the Jordan 1 and 2. It was a brand he could call his own, and a major selling point in his contract renewal with Nike.

The Air Jordan 3 also enlisted a new designer, Tinker Hatfield, already esteemed in the sneaker world and now considered a legend. Hatfield had designed the Air Max 1 and Air Trainer 1, so the introduction of visible Air technology into the Jordan line was a no-brainer. Hatfield worked closely with MJ to incorporate the superstar's vision into the designs. In addition to the Jumpman logo and visible Air, the Jordan 3 also introduced an eye-catching elephant skin print, softer leather and a mid-cut height—moving away from the then-trendy high-top style. The overall design borrows design elements from its famous predecessors, the Air Jordan 1 and 2.

How the Air Jordan III Almost Never Happen

There's the famous story of Michael Jordan almost signing with another brand, and then there's this one—where MJ almost ended his partnership with Nike. Jordan's original five-year deal with Nike yielded $500,000 per year, plus royalties, for a total estimated value of $7M. An early career injury in the Air Jordan 1—a broken foot—caused him to miss much of the '85-86 season and lose trust in Nike's ability to fulfill their promises. Jordan was looking for an out.

The meeting to present the new Air Jordan 3 was a make-or-break situation for the Nike x Jordan deal.

Tinker Hatfield played a significant role in keeping Michael on board, continually advocating for and protecting MJ's input in the design process. At a crucial meeting—the unveiling of the new Air Jordan 3 design—the Nike team reportedly waited four hours for Jordan to show up. It turns out he'd been on the golf course with new prospective partners. When MJ finally arrived, Hatfield knocked his socks off with the Air Jordan 3 prototype and an apparel line. And though it was Hatfield who saved the deal, Jordan's parents also influenced his decision, reportedly telling him that his actions were "embarrassing", recalling the influence they had on their son when he signed with the brand in the first place.

Jordan 3 Retro Black Flip 2011

The Air Jordan 3 Retro sneakers were released on December 3, 2011. The Jordan 3 evolved into an iconic classic in 1988 with the introduction of its elephant-print detailing on the overlays. These mid-top black Jordans flip the traditional position of the leather upper and the elephant-print overlays. This is the second version of the Air Jordan 3 Flip sneaker, the first released since 2007. The 2011 Jordan 3 Retro sneakers feature a black, elephant-print leather upper fitted with black, tumbled leather overlays. A silver Jumpman logo is located on the black, leather tongue, and silver Nike Air branding is located on the heel. The underfoot of these elephant-print Jordans features a black midsole fitted with an Air unit and a grey rubber outsole.