Over the past month, it has become abundantly clear that The Last Dance has ignited the nostalgic drive of an entire generation of sneakerheads and sports fans. While the current challenges the world is facing have more than likely added some fuel to the flames, most of us would have been locked in for the entire journey regardless of stay at home orders because the championship-era Chicago Bulls were more than Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and the supporting players. The 1991-1998 Chicago Bulls were the building blocks for the sneaker enthusiasts around the world that had no idea what they were getting into as they began to amass stacks…full closets…storage units…of the best drug on the planet, sneakers.
To help jar the memory banks, and to set the record straight on some of the false information that’s out there, we have enlisted the help of Brandon Edler, Chris Elliott, Renick Bowman, and Robbie Falchi, to help us run through all* of the sneakers worn by the Chicago Bulls during their championship runs from 1991-1998. Because we can, we’ve also thrown in a few sneakers that might not have been worn on the court but are without a doubt a part of the excitement that the six championships this Bulls team won.
Now that The Last Dance is over, we figure you have time and are probably missing basketball, so we’re taking a long and slow stroll down memory lane. We’re starting off with the sneakers from the first 3-peat (and a touch more) just to whet your appetite for more of the kicks that got us all hooked.
We’ll be making updates to these posts as we find new images and details. Check back in and share this with your squad. Let’s discuss all these iconic sneakers. Let us know your favorite Chicago Bulls sneakers from the first 3-peat in the comments below, or hit us up on Twitter.
AIR JORDAN 6 | 1991
Photos by Chris Elliott
WORN BY: MICHAEL JORDAN
Photo by Renick Bowman
“You can make an argument for a handful of the early Jordans being the best basketball shoes of all time. Mike’s Porsche 911 inspired VIs really elevated his signature series with the rear spoiler to help you slide them on and off. That’s luxury in 1990, kids. Not only were these what MJ rocked when he won his first ring, the model has become a fashion staple, still, almost 30 years later.
Name another player to have that kind of influence on and off the court decades later or a current player that will. I’ll wait…” – Brandon Edler
Michael Jordan wore three colorways of the Air Jordan 6 on the court, the White/Infrared, Black/Infrared, and Carmine colorways.
ASICS GT DRIVE X | 1991
Believe it or not, ASICS used to make pretty solid basketball shoes. If that’s not news to you, it’s probably because you remember seeing the Detroit Pistons Guard, Isiah Thomas wearing them. He wasn’t the only one, though. Cliff Levingston rocked a few different ASICS models during the Chicago Bulls championship era, including the fat-tongued ASICS GT Drive X.
Random Fact: ASICS still makes basketball shoes today for other markets besides the US.
WORN BY: CRAIG HODGES
It’s crazy that Craig Hodges isn’t talked about amongst the greatest 3-point shooters the NBA has ever seen. Hodges was a huge contributor to the Bulls’ early titles, and he’s the ONLY player other than Larry Bird to win 3 straight 3-Point Contests. He laced up the LA Gear Kareem Abdul-Jabbars for his 3-peat.
CHARLOTTE – FEBRUARY 9: Craig Hodges #14 of the Chicago Bulls celebrates during the 1991 NBA Three Point Contest as part of NBA All Star Weekend on February 9, 1991 at the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. – Copyright 1991 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
NIKE AIR BOUND | 1991-1993
“Scottie Pippen may have rocked the Air Bound but frankly, the shoe was kind of a wash for me until I saw the all purple LE joints in 1993. It was the first time I remember a sneaker made in almost an entirely ‘bright’ color. In my opinion, this colorway kind of set the stage for the infamous all-red Maestro 2 in the 1994 NBA All-Star game in my opinion.”
WORN BY: SCOTTIE PIPPEN, RON HARPER
NIKE AIR FLIGHT LITE | 1991-1992
Before getting his own signature sneaker a few years later, Scottie Pippen made the jump from Avia to Nike in 1989. The timing couldn’t have been better because Pip wore classics all the way through. The Nike Air Flight Lite 1 and 2, which might be known for its brightly colored Lime (Citron) colorway, but Scottie’s Bulls inspired joints still go hard to this day. Pip even laced up a PE version for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. This lightweight shoe set the tone for the LWPs to come.
WORN BY: SCOTTIE PIPPEN
PONY M-100 | 1992
PONY might not be a name you think of much anymore, aside from Spud Webb winning the Dunk Contest, but there’s plenty of nostalgic silhouettes locked away in the vault for the Product Of New York brand. Cliff Levingston laced up the PONY M-100 to help the Bulls win their first NBA title before making the jump to wearing LA Gear in 1992. Now when you think of Chicago Bulls sneakers, you’ll think of PONY and Cliff. You’re welcome. (Sorry!)
REEBOK PUMP OMNI LITE | 1991-1992
Dee Brown wasn’t the only athlete living by the “Pump Up and Air Out” mantra during the early ’90s. Horace Grant, John Paxson, and countless other NBA stars were seen in the Reebok Pump Omni Zone through the years. Despite the huge success of its initial run, Reebok hasn’t been able to duplicate the level of hype with the retro product.
ADIDAS TORSION ARTILLERY | 1991-1992
In the early ’90s, adidas was still trying to figure out where they belonged when it came to basketball shoes. The ’80s were good to The Three Stripes but as the transition to the last decade of the century began, the wins became fewer and fewer. The adidas Artillery was one of the clear wins. Promoted as a sneaker worn by Joe Dumars of the Pistons, the Artillery became a mainstay for adidas athletes on the court, including the Chicago Bulls’ Scott Williams.
AIR JORDAN 7 | 1992
“By the time MJ and the Bulls made their second championship run, the obsession over sneakers had already taken over in my life. My brother and I would spend hours drawing them, often times imagining the next version of a particular model or recreating colorways we wished our family could afford. The Bordeaux Air Jordan 7 was the first pair of Jordans that turned those dreams into a reality. I was already well into men’s sizing at that age, but my younger brother was able to get ‘our family’s first pair of Jordans’ and scored a pair of the Bordeaux Jordan 7s in kids sizes. I’ll never forget how excited he was and how long we admired those shoes. Coincidentally, we were living in Oregon at the time, and MJ laced up the 7s to beat the Blazers that year. Ah, the memories.” – Nick Engvall
Michael Jordan played in 4 colorways of the Air Jordan 7 on court, Hare, Bordeaux, Cardinal, and Playoffs.
CONVERSE ACCELERATOR RS1 | 1992
Before Converse made the turn towards the quicker, more fast-paced stars of the NBA in the mid-’90s, they were creating some of the most trusted sneakers for big men in The League. Will Perdue, one of the only members of the championship-era Chicago Bulls to wear Converse, in the Accelerator RS1 is proof. The Accelerator was one of the first few Converse models to feature React Juice cushioning.
NIKE AIR DYNAMIC FLIGHT | 1992
“Imagine the Air Flight Huarache with battle armor and you have Pippen’s Dynamic Flight Huarache PEs. Loaded with an exposed Air Unit (a hint to future Pippen shoes to come) and a reinforced midfoot, the Dynamic Flight supported Scottie’s jack-of-all-trades playstyle. OG collectors have been salivating for a proper retro of Pip’s Huaraches and we think it would be great for the next generation to experience the shoe too.” – Robbie Falchi
“The Nike Air Dynamic Flight is one of the first shoes I vividly remember having player details on (aside from MJ’s #23 on the Air Jordan 5). Pippen’s #33 on the ankle of the black and red pair was one of the Bulls sneakers that made me look even closer at the kicks every player was wearing on the court. I still do it to this day. Thanks, Scottie.” – Nick Engvall
WORN BY: SCOTTIE PIPPEN
WORN BY: MICHAEL JORDAN
“Exhausted off back-to-back titles and The Dream Team tour in Barcelona, Jordan had to soldier up for one more season if he wanted to be the first of his peers to three-peat. Nike made Jordan another fire shoe, huge campaign, Bulls dominated — usual shit. The blacktop kicks were everything for a minute and Nike was seeing a lot of love with joints like the Air Raid. Jordan doubled down with the double strap and after losing out to his good friend Chuck for MVP, he decided to casually drop 40+ a game in the NBA Finals, including a double nickel in Game 4. 3 rings in 3 years, Mike proved it’s probably a little more than the shoes.” – Brandon Edler
AIR JORDAN 8 FROM STADIUM GOODS
Michael Jordan played in 3 colorways of the Air Jordan 8 on court, Chicagos, Aquas, and Playoffs.
WORN BY: BILL CARTWRIGHT
“In hindsight, LA Gear naming the cushioning system “FLAK” seems like an obviously bad choice. But back in the day, Joe Montana, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Bulls big man Bill Cartwright were just a handful of the names wearing various models of the LA Gear FLAK. Which is about the same number of people still wearing LA Gear, but I’m probably the only weird one who would grab a pair these days.” – Nick Engvall
LA GEAR MAILMAN | 1993
“You may be quick to dismiss a mention of LA Gear nowadays but in the early ’90s, the brand was competing with the best of them. Scott Williams even had Bulls-inspired colorways of the “LA Tech” basketball shoes that I don’t think ever released to the public.” – Nick Engvall
NIKE AIR BALLISTIC FORCE | 1992-1993
The Nike Air Force line, along with the Uptempo line, in the early 1990s became the ultimate team shoes. Everyone in The League, college, and at your local YMCA wore variations of this shoe in mid and high versions. The version that stood out from the rest? The Ballistic Force. B.J. made them good, too.
REEBOK D-FACTOR LOW | 1992-1993
Reebok may have had guys like Shawn Kemp, Dee Brown, and Shaq, but it’s hard to deny the spotlight of hitting an NBA Finals winning jumper. John Paxson’s game-winning 3-pointer in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals against Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns is one of the greatest NBA Finals finishes of all time and the Reebok D-Factor Low on his feet will forever be historic.
WORN BY: JOHN PAXSON
John Paxson might not be the face of the Bulls’ championship era but he’s undeniably a huge contributor to the franchise’s success. As a player, he mostly laced up Reeboks like the Pump Above The Rim as a part of the Bulls first 3-peat. Paxson served as an assistant coach on the 72-10 Bulls, and eventually served as VP of Basketball Operations.
REEBOK PUMP OMNI ZONE 3 | 1993
Most won’t remember that the Reebok Pump Omni line lived longer than the version worn by Dee Brown for the dunk contest, but Horace Grant laced up the third version in 1993. Reebok followed it up with a fourth version of the Omni the next year but Horace had made the switch to Nike by that time.
AIR JORDAN 9 PE | 1994
Okay. Okay. So MJ didn’t wear the Air Jordan 9 on the court because he was off playing baseball in the cleated version. Although the Bulls didn’t win a title without Jordan, we can’t just overlook the fact that B.J. Armstrong, who was an All-Star in 1994, along with teammates Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant, had his own player exclusive Air Jordan 9. One of the best Chicago Bulls sneakers of all time?
“As arguably the greatest performance basketball shoes of all time (yeah, I said it.), it’s surprising that more players on the Chicago Bulls championship teams didn’t wear the Air Go LWP. Ron Harper did wear the takedown version, the Air Lambaste but only Steve Kerr laced up the Air Go LWP for the Bulls, despite one of the best original colorways of the shoe being a perfect match for Chicago’s colors.” -Nick Engvall
NIKE AIR LAMBASTE | 1994
“One of my all-time favorite sneakers, the Air Lambaste was a takedown of the famous Air Go LWP. The Lambaste was released in 1994 and was one of the first Nike models to feature the ‘jewel’ Swoosh, which made it stand out from nearly everything else on the shelf, especially when it came to basketball shoes. During the Chicago Bulls ‘championship era’ it was worn by Ron Harper. Looking back, it’s kind of crazy that a sneaker with a retail price of $70 was being worn by an NBA athlete.” – Nick Engvall
WORN BY: SCOTTIE PIPPEN
“With Michael out chasing dreams of MLB stardom, Scottie Pippen took the reins as Chicago’s lone star. Many doubted Pip’s ability to lead the Bulls without Mike, but Scottie quieted critics during the 1994 All-Star Game. Equipped with a pair of bold red Air Mastero 2s, Pippen dominated the competition and took home MVP honors. So much for being “just MJ’s sidekick.'” – Robbie Falchi
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – FEBRUARY 13: Scottie Pippen #30 of the Eastern Conference All Stars shoots a jump shot against Mitch Richmond #2 of the Western Conference All Stars during the 1994 NBA All Star Game played on February 13, 1994 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1994 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
WORN BY: TONI KUKOC
Remember that time that MJ retired, and Scottie Pippen led the Bulls? If you watched The Last Dance, you’ll remember when Phil Jackson called for Toni Kukoc to take the last shot against the Knicks. Kukoc nailed the game-winner wearing the Nike Air Prevail. Scottie is still pissed.
CHICAGO – MAY 20: Toni Kukoc #7 of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball against the New York Knicks during Game Six of the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 20, 1994 at Chicago Stadium in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1994 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
NIKE AIR SWIFT | 1994
WORN BY: SCOTTIE PIPPEN, RON HARPER
With Mike off playing baseball, Scottie Pippen stepped up to lead the Bulls into the 1994 NBA Playoffs and fill MJ’s shoes. His role as team captain of the Bulls was solidified when he threw down one of the most disrespectful dunks in the history of basketball. Scottie’s dunk over Patrick Ewing on May 20, 1994, while wearing the Nike Air Swift, is one that will likely never be topped. And according to Pip, Ewing still hasn’t spoken to him since. *insert Cam ‘you mad’ meme*
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Nick Engvall is a sneaker enthusiast with over 15 years of experience in the footwear business. He has written for publications such as Complex, Sole Collector, and Sneaker News, helped companies like Eastbay, Finish Line, Foot Locker, and StockX better connect with their consumers, has an addiction to burritos and Sour Patch Kids, and owns way too many shoes for his own good.