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The Design of the Jordan 4 Retro Black Cat

Tinker Hatfield changed up the game on his second of many Air Jordan designs by amping up the performance and breathability. He kept the AJ 3's mid-cut height, the visible Air unit in the heel and the "Nike Air" emblem on the back. Hatfield also retained the signature Jumpman logo on the tongue.

The Air Jordan 4 implemented a more utilitarian approach. Here's what made it stand apart:

  • Cost-effective Durabuck synthetic leather upper that wipes clean with ease
  • An encapsulated Air unit added to the forefoot
  • The word “Flight” incorporated into the Jumpman logo—Air Jordan is meant to fly, after all
  • The addition of “wings,” a multiport lacing system with extra holes for a customized fit and enhanced lateral support
  • A pull tab added to the heel for an easier wearing experience
  • “Over-molded” mesh paneling for increased breathability, the netting was coated with urethane, dipped in soft plastic, then air-blown to remove the plastic from the net’s gaps

History of the Air Jordan 4

On May 7, 1989, the world witnessed "The Shot", an impossible feat for anyone other than His Airness. Michael Jordan pulled off this legendary buzzer-beater with assistance from his Black Cement Air Jordan 4s. It was MJ's fifth year in the league and a brilliant display of his growing dominance as a superstar.

The same could be said for Tinker Hatfield, the lead designer for the Air Jordan line. After the tremendous success of the Air Jordan 3, Hatfield had his work cut out for him. Coming on the heels of one of the most popular sneaker designs ever, did he dare mess with the formula? He opted to keep the overall design similar to its predecessor but boosted the performance features.

If the Air Jordan 3 saved Nike's partnership with Jordan, the Air Jordan 4 cemented it—primarily due to the inspired design efforts of Hatfield.

Jordan 4 Retro Black Cat 2020

The Jordan 4 Retro Black Cat is made of nubuck and suede leathers with mesh netted paneling. It was released on January 22, 2020, as the first retro of the Jordan 4 Black Cat. These Jordans feature an oversized heel counter, thermoplastic lace lock wings, and an Air unit visibility window in the heels. In addition to Air units, the sneakers use polyurethane midsoles for cushioning. The outsoles are made of rubber with a multi-directional herringbone pattern for traction. The colorway takes on a predominantly black theme with only the tongue's Jumpman logo in grey. White was used for the Jumpman logo on the bottoms of the shoes.