If the first 3-Peat gave us MVP-level Chicago Bulls sneakers, the second 3-peat brought us nothing short of hall-of-fame level kicks. When it comes to what Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and the supporting team members rocked on their way to NBA titles in 1996, 1997, and 1998, it truly is nothing short of legendary.
Back again with the team effort, are 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 1996-1998. Of course, we’ve also thrown in a few sneakers that might not have been worn on the court but received their legendary status from this incredible run by the Bulls.
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.
With Michael Jordan returning to basketball, sneakerheads had something to live for again. While we probably would have survived without the Air Jordan 11 and so on, the success that followed for MJ both on the court and with his signature sneakers, reshaped the future of the footwear business and could arguably be the single most important factor in the existence of our crazy passion for sneakers. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take look at some of the Chicago Bulls sneakers that led us to the Air Jordan 11.
AIR JORDAN 10 | 1994-1995
WORN BY SCOTTIE PIPPEN, MICHAEL JORDAN
It should be no surprise that Michael Jordan’s return to basketball saw him lace up the original Air Jordan 10 ‘Chicago’ colorway. Nor should seeing him wearing the #45 jersey, although it turned out to be shortlived. MJ wasn’t the same as the old #23 but his famous ‘double-nickel’ game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden was proof that he still had it in him, despite the jersey number.
“When I come back like Jordan wearing the 4-5 it ain’t to play games with you.” – H.O.V.
“Jordan’s [first] return to basketball felt like a move to correct the balance of the NBA Universe. Jordan returned to the Bulls in March 1995 wearing the Air Jordan 10 ‘Chicago’ to challenge for another NBA Championship. Unfortunately, he’d come up short to the Magic in the Playoffs, but the defeat only fueled Michael… The Air Jordan 10 celebrated Mike’s accomplishments on the outsole, but no past accolade could soothe fresh defeat, Jordan was ready for vengeance.” – Robbie Falchi
Notice the Player Exclusive Nike Air Up worn by Pacers guard Reggie Miller.
Michael Jordan played in two colorways of the Air Jordan 10 for the Chicago Bulls in early 1995, the ‘Shadow’ and ‘Chicago’ colorways.
With Michael Jordan’s basketball career seemingly over, Tinker Hatfield used the outsole design of the Air Jordan 10 as a tribute to MJ’s successes, listing off his career accomplishments in contrasting color panels all throughout the outsole.
Images by Stadium Goods
The Air Jordan 10 was the first time in the history of the Air Jordan signature sneakers that Michael Jordan didn’t give his final stamp of approval because he was playing baseball at the time. The original version that released in the ‘Steel’ colorway featured additional leather pieces on the toebox that added protection from toe drag. Michael, always a fan of the smooth clean toebox, eventually had the design changed to the style we know today.
He did, however, wear the original version of the Air Jordan 10 at Scottie Pippen’s charity event in 1994.
WORN BY: SCOTT WILLIAMS
Although most of the kicks on this list are traditional basketball shoes, there is no denying the presence of ‘outdoor use only’ designs intended to outlast the opponents you battle on the blacktop during the mid-to-late ’90s. One of the best models from the Three Stripes during the time was the adidas Streetball line, which was worn by Bulls big man, Scott Williams. adidas recently released a modernized version of the Streetball in the past couple of years.
NIKE AIR FLIGHT ONE | 1994-1995
Another shoe on this list that technically wasn’t a part of the championship years, but we can’t deny the significance of Michael Jordan wearing, is the Nike Air Flight One. The Air Flight One was Penny Hardaway’s sneaker at the time and for Game 3 in the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals, Michael laced them up. The stories of how it happened are a mixed bag still to this day, but MJ wearing a pair of Penny’s shoes is one hell of a co-sign.
WORN BY: RON HARPER
“While most of the supporting cast for MJ’s Bulls would default to various Maestros or Uptempos, Ron Harper kept ’em guessing by wearing other random sneakers from Nike’s catalog, like the Air School Force Low. Can’t blame him for it!” – Nick Engvall
NIKE AIR UP | 1994-1996
WORN BY: DENNIS RODMAN, SCOTTIE PIPPEN, TONI KUKOC, RON HARPER
“The words ‘Nike Air Up’ should be prefaced with a trigger warning at this point, considering how dirty Nike did us all on the last and only retro version we’ve seen. This legendary sneaker was worn by nearly every Nike athlete on the championship era Chicago Bulls squad, not to mention the college players like Allen Iverson at Georgetown and Robert ‘Tractor’ Traylor at Michigan. But, it’s the Penny Hardaway and Scottie Pippen player variations with their respective jersey number embroidered into the heel that we really need a proper, good quality retro of.” – Nick Engvall
NIKE AIR MAX UPTEMPO | 1995
WORN BY: TONI KUKOC, SCOTTIE PIPPEN, RON HARPER
“Best believe you didn’t want Scottie Pippen locking you up in a pair of Air Max Uptempos (now known as the Air Max Uptempo ’95). A predecessor to the Air More Uptempo, the 1995 iteration featured comparatively toned down uppers but still flaunted a full-length Air Max setup for superior cushioning. The Air Max Uptempo is yet another model from this era that enjoys consistent retros – sometimes in Bulls colorways and in more vibrant hues too. Much like organizations, shoes innately don’t make winners… players like Pippen make the shoes a winner (S/O to Jerry Krause).” – Robbie Falchi
WORN BY: TONI KUKOC, JOHN SALLEY, STEVE KERR
The takedown version of the iconic Nike Zoom Flight 95 was still a pretty hot commodity for NBA stars throughout 1995. The Nike Air Thrill Flight didn’t have the big carbon “bubbles” like it’s more expensive sibling but it was still one of the lighter shoes on the market at the time. Would you cop a retro?
NIKE AIR WAYUP | 1995
Photos by Footaction
WORN BY: DENNIS RODMAN, SCOTTIE PIPPEN, TONI KUKOC, JASON CAFFEY, STEVE KERR
“If I had to guess which Nike Basketball shoe was worn more than any other in 1995, my money would be on the Air Way Up (or Wayup if you prefer). According to the old Eastbay catalogs, it is “Wayup,” however, Nike called the retro from a few years back the “Way Up,” but I’m sure that’s up for debate. Not only did nearly everyone on the Chicago Bulls wear these sneakers, but it seemed like most teams in the NBA had at least a couple of players in them each night. That’s not even taking into consideration college, where players like Allen Iverson at Georgetown, Marcus Camby at UMASS, and countless others wore them.” – Nick Engvall
AIR JORDAN 11 | 1995-1996
WORN BY: MICHAEL JORDAN, RANDY BROWN, RON HARPER
“On May 7th, 1995 Michael Jordan stepped onto the hardwood for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic. All eyes in the stadium and across the country from the people watching on tv were locked in on Jordan, not because of a highlight play, but because of the shoes he had on. Nearly two months had passed since Jordan ended his 17-month retirement. The world took notice when Jordan debuted these and they are still one of the most in-demand sneakers to this day. The black patent leather with the clean white upper and icy sole could be one of the best shoes of all time but that’s a convo for a later date.” – Chris Elliott
Michael Jordan played in three colorways of the Air Jordan 11 for the Chicago Bulls, the ‘Concord’, ‘Space Jam’, and ‘Playoffs’ colorways.
AIR JORDAN 11 ‘CONCORD’
Although Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were eliminated from the 1995 NBA Playoffs by the Orlando Magic, the debut of the Air Jordan 11 made such a wave for fans that the anticipation for its eventual release carried over into the 1995-1996 season in which the Bulls set a then-record for wins during their legendary 72-10 season.
Is the Air Jordan 11 the greatest sneaker of all time?
AIR JORDAN 11 ‘SPACE JAM’
“Warner Brothers capitalized on Michael Jordan’s unparalleled popularity and partnered with the NBA star on a little movie you might’ve heard of called Space Jam (new news, right?). Jordan literally took his game to another dimension by teaming up with Buggs Bunny and the Looney Tunes to take on the NBA-talent stealing, Monstars. Throughout the film, Nike got their product placement on and peppered in plenty of Nike sneakers any chance they could resulting in the cherished ‘Space Jam’ Air Jordan 11s. The shoe’s reverse-Concord color scheme never goes out of style and the shoes will forever be tied to Michael Jordan and Bill Murray [and Bugs Bunny].” – Robbie Falchi
AIR JORDAN 11 ‘PLAYOFFS’
“I remember seeing the Concords and immediately planning out how I was going to make enough money over the summer to be able to get a pair of Air Jordan 11s when they released. I ended up going with the Playoff 11 and wore them to my high school Junior prom. I remember being made fun of for it as I walked in. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. The feeling of accomplishment when I got them, the way the Air Jordan 11 made me feel when I put them on, it’s almost as good of a feeling as putting on a pair of Iversons. 🙃” – Nick Engvall
NIKE AIR MAESTRO 3 | 1996
The Nike Air Maestro line was one of Scottie Pippen’s go-to choices but by the time the Air Maestro 3, aka Air Maestro 96, came out, Pippen was deservedly wearing his own signature models for the most part. Steve Kerr, Jason Caffey, Dennis Rodman, and dozens of players from around the league rocked the Maestro 96, to help cement the model into the history books.
NIKE AIR MORE UPTEMPO | 1995
“The Air More Uptempo makes a bold statement before the wearer utters a word. It’s impossible to miss the shoe’s ‘AIR’ branding, but they wouldn’t be truly iconic without Scottie Pippen… Players make footwear eternal. From the 1996 Finals to the 1996 Olympics, the Air More Uptempo faithfully served Pippen during some of his greatest basketball moments. Nike doesn’t accidentally retro the Air More Uptempo – they do it because the people will always want them.” – Robbie Falchi
“I can’t help but think that this design is the absolute peak of the ‘sneaker wars’ between Nike and Reebok. Although I love the shoe, it’s kind of ridiculous when you stop and think about it. Then again, the fact that I spend all my time writing and talking about sneakers is, too.” – Nick Engvall
WORN BY: SCOTTIE PIPPEN, RANDY BROWN
WORN BY: DENNIS RODMAN
“What happens when the original “Heatles” trade for one of the most controversial basketball players of all time? Team Swoosh engineered a sneaker to the perfect specifications of a “unique” dude. It worked. The Ndestrukt turned heads with it’s large check across the front and unconventional side-lacing system. Pretty soon every suburban kid in Illinois (including myself) and across the world was spray-painting their hair for 3-on-3’s and rocking Nike’s latest look. Oh yeah, the Bulls won 72 games and a ring too.” – Brandon Edler
The Converse All-Star ’91 was my first sneaker that I can remember that I had to have when I was a kid. My aunt bought me a pair from Foot Locker when we were in Chicago and aside from loving Dennis Rodman as a kid, the look of this shoe drew me in like a moth to a flame. The dual colored upper that starts with white by the ankle collar and then changes to black from the middle of the shoe to the toebox and red accents throughout was just so cool to me and the patch on the outside of the shoe was the icing on the cake. Just like Rodman’s style of play, these were wild for a shoe back then and would be perfect if they brought them back for a nice retro.” – Chris Elliott
AIR JORDAN 12 | 1996-1997
“The Jordan Flu Game has become something of a legend over the years since Jordan took down the Jazz on June 11th, 1997 while suffering from flulike symptoms. The infamous image of Pippen holding up Jordan as they walk to the bench defines that day perfectly. Just like that game has become historic, the sneakers that Jordan wore that day have done the same. The perfect sneaker to match any Bulls jerseys with it’s split makeup of a black leather upper and red on the mudguard and sole was just so clean. “- Chris Elliott
“Not relevant to the historical background of the Air Jordan 12, but one of my favorite parts of The Last Dance was finding out that MJ didn’t have the flu, he had food poisoning. It would be pretty tough to market the ‘I Ate Bad Pizza’ Air Jordan 12s or the ‘Food Poisoning’ Air Jordan 12s, so it makes sense that Nike would call it the flu games instead. It makes me wonder how many more ‘Banned’ stories we’ve been told that are twisted to sell us something. That said, anyone have a pair in size 13? 😆” – Nick Engvall
WORN BY: MICHAEL JORDAN, RON HARPER, SCOTTIE PIPPEN, LUC LONGLEY
Michael Jordan played in three colorways of the original Air Jordan 12, ‘Taxi’, ‘Chicago/Cherry’, ‘Playoffs’, and ‘Bred/Flu Games’. Do you remember what colorways he wore when he returned to play for the Wizards?
WORN BY: DENNIS RODMAN
“Dennis Rodman’s second signature sneaker with Converse was called the All-Star Rodman, and for true fans of Rodman, it is most likely his best. The design incorporated Dennis’ sun-inspired tattoo and Converse was so all-in on Rodman, the ads they ran were simply an image of Rodman’s tattoo and an image of the Converse AS Rodman. Yo CONS, can we get a retro?” – Nick Engvall
CONVERSE DR. J 2000 | 1997
“The late ’90s is my absolute favorite era for Converse basketball shoes. One of the highlights from that era is the Converse Dr. J 2000, which was worn by Dennis Rodman and countless other NBA and college hoopers. I randomly came across a few pairs of these while sneaker hunting about 10 years ago, all of them were smaller sizes than I can squeeze so I left them for the next ‘head.” – Nick Engvall
WORN BY: TEAM JORDAN
“In ’97 these just hit different. The aesthetic was a smilier vibe to the XIIs at a more affordable price. And, um, maybe even a better shoe all together if you like to be lower to the court? The good old days when even inline sneakers were competitive. The shoe featured a similar carbon plate as the Jordan XI, giving Team Jumpman a respectable silhouette from the jump. Helping build the empire we know today that wouldn’t have been sustainable without non-retro Jordans.” – Brandon Edler
JORDAN JUMPMAN TEAM 1 | 1997
“The Jumpman line was starting to build up some equity on the court and continued to drop team shoes that were considerably cheaper than the flagship Air Jordans but still looked fire and held up performance-wise. In ’98 you could catch them on a few of Jordan’s teammates including good ‘ol Scottie Burrell, Ron Harper, and Kukoc. .” – Brandon Edler
NIKE AIR ADJUST/MODIFY FORCE | 1997
The main feature of the Nike Air Adjust Force and the Nike Air Modify Force, was Nike’s interchangeable ‘Fit Wrap’ design that allowed you to change the color of the shoes. Unfortunately, not many NBA players did, so the images you will see of these shoes is almost always a mostly white or mostly black shoe. The only difference between the two models is the cushioning, the Adjust Force had a Max Air heel unit, while the Modify Force used a standard-sized Air unit.
“If you ever got Eastbay catalogs in the late ’90s, you probably remember seeing the color choices for the Nike Air Adust Force. The removable shroud that wrapped the shoe had every kid I knew circling the color choices they wanted to add to their rotation. Jason Terry at Arizona, Vince Carter at North Carolina, and Jud Buechler of the Bulls made this shoe legendary. Well, maybe not Jud, considering he was a little overshadowed in Chicago, but props to him for rockin’ a classic.” – Nick Engvall
WORN BY: SCOTTIE PIPPEN
“When Scottie Pippen finally came back to the squad in 1997, he did so wearing the Nike Air Hype Uptempo. This is another one of those mid-range price point sneakers from the ’90s that surprisingly made it on to the feet of many pros, including KG and Tim Duncan. More surprising than that, the Air Hype Uptempo had its own commercial featuring Scottie Pippen.” – Nick Engvall
NIKE AIR HYPE UPTEMPO | 1997
“Nike really had a thing for bug-eyed pods on their basketball shoes in the mid-late 1990s and the Air Max Uptempo ’97 is a great example. Falling in line with Air Max Uptempos of the past, the 1997s took things up a notch and really pushed for a forward-thinking aesthetic. Serving as one of Scottie’s last non-signature shoes, Pippen would occasionally rock these kicks in the regular season before switching to the Air Max [Zoom] Pippen 1 for the Playoffs.” – Robbie Falchi
WORN BY: SCOTTIE PIPPEN
Photos via Nick DePaula
NIKE AIR MACHINE FORCE | 1997
“Thinking back to all the crazy models that came from Nike Basketball during the ’90s, one of them always stood out as anomaly to me and that is the Nike Air Machine Force. Weird? Yes, maybe. The thing about this shoe that made it unique to me, is the shape of the midsole around the heel Air unit. From a distance it looked like three separate Air bubbles (oddly, kind of adidas LA Trainer’s adjustable plugs) and I had never seen that before from Nike. Hopefully I wasn’t the only one eyeing Luc Longley and Bill Wennington’s sneakers so closely, cuz you know, that might be weird. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
PS: Some kid at Kansas named Paul Pierce wore these in college, too.” – Nick Engvall
WORN BY: JASON CAFFEY
One of the overlooked gems of the late ’90s Nike Basketball lineup is the Nike Air Max MZ3. The MZ3 featured Zoom Air in the forefoot and Max Air in the heel, arguably one of the best cushioning combos in sneaker history. Throughout the 97-98 NBA season, a number of players laced up the MZ3, for the Bulls it was Jason Caffey.
Photo by Nice Kicks
NIKE AIR MOVIN UPTEMPO | 1997
“This might ruffle some feathers, but Ron Harper might just have had the best sneaker game of the entire Chicago Bulls championship era players. Hollywood Harp not only wore the best of the best Air Jordans, but he also wore a crazy diverse number of heaters from Nike Basketball, including forgotten silhouettes like the Nike Air Movin’ Uptempo. Props.” – Nick Engvall
WORN BY: RON HARPER
Photo via eBay
WORN BY: SCOTTIE PIPPEN, JASON CAFFEY
“The first shoe I finessed from Eastbay by turning in an old Air Max with a popped air bag. (Editor’s Note: I have been advised by legal not to comment on how said air bag was popped.) Like most Bulls’ related apparel or sneakers, Pip’s first signature silhouette was getting a lot of love from everyone — except him. Scottie preferred to feel closer to the court, which meant swapping in visible Zoom Air instead of Air Max in his own personal pairs. The designer got it right with the general release of the IIs, but the lines on the Is caught the eye different.” – Brandon Edler
NIKE AIR RISE UPTEMPO | 1997
“Before he was leading the Dubs to a record-breaking number of wins, and adding rings to his coaching accomplishments list, Steve Kerr aka the Splash Father was knocking down game-winning shots for the Bulls in the Nike Air Rise Uptempo, among others. BTW, he still holds the highest 3-point shooting percentage in NBA history and shot over 52% from behind the arc in 1995.” – Nick Engvall
AIR JORDAN 13 | 1997
WORN BY: MICHAEL JORDAN, RON HARPER
“What is there to say about the black/red Air Jordan 13? It challenged conventional shoe design, it released alongside a list of other great colorways, and it was rocked throughout Michael and the Bull’s last dance. While the Air Jordan 14 got the fanfare for being the shoes of Mike’s famous last shot, the Air Jordan 13 did all the leg-work that season. Go dig-up a retro of these, now.” – Robbie Falchi
WORN BY: DENNIS RODMAN
“Dennis Rodman’s 3rd signature sneaker with Converse covered his final years with the Bulls and into the lockout-delayed 1999 NBA season. Maybe it was the fading of the Bulls or the timing of the lockout, but this seems like the least popular of Rodman’s kicks, despite it being one of the best player exclusive sneakers EVER with that 7 and crown representing Rodman’s 7 rebounding titles.” – Nick Engvall
JORDAN JUMPMAN PRO QUICK | 1998
“It’s actually pretty rare that you catch Michael Jordan wearing a lowly “Team Jordan” sneaker but thanks to The Last Dance, we now know MJ laced up the Jordan Jumpman Pro Quick, which was more or less a signature model for Lakers star, Eddie Jones. Shout out to MJ for pretending to be human for once, huh?” – Nick Engvall
JORDAN JUMPMAN TEAM 2 | 1998
“Jordan and Pippen might have fought over who was going to make Kukoc foolish during the ’92 Summer Olympics but his presence in Chicago was a big reason Da Bulls were able to make another run at three rings. Eventually Toni earned their respect and even got blessed with every Jordan that surfaced during their second Three Peat, including the XIII influended Team IIs worn during “The Last Dance” that was ’98. ” – Brandon Edler
Photo via Packer Shoes
WORN BY: TONI KUKOC
Toni Kuoc wearing the Jordan Jumpman Team 2, guarded by Ray Allen.
NIKE AIR MAX BATTLE FORCE | 1998
“The late ’90s led the sneaker game into a different direction with the game picking up pace throughout the previous decade but that doesn’t mean there weren’t big men shoes. Luc Longley laced up all sorts of heat through the years, including Uptempos, Air Jordans, and more. However, one forgotten pair from the Bulls final title run stands out to me, the Nike Air Max Battle Force. This shoe was A TANK. Full Air Max cushioning and weighed a ton, perfect for the Australian legend. Random Fact: These retailed for $150 and end up as low as $19.99 in the Eastbay Catalog.” – Nick Engvall
Photo via wh1t3r0b
WORN BY: SCOTTIE PIPPEN
“After rocking a PE version of the Pippen I to make the shoe look like the general release Air Max pair, Scottie got it right with the IIs. Designer Aaron Cooper laced Pip (and consumers) with Zoom Air he preferred and upped the production with a tumbled leather upper and a sleek performance cut. The shoes felt lower and faster than his previous lineage of sneakers and were donned when the Bulls hit ring number six. ” – Brandon Edler
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – JUNE 14: Scottie Pippen #33 and Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls talk during Game Six of the 1998 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz on June 14, 1998 at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Copyright 1998 NBAE (Photo by Andy Hayt/NBAE via Getty Images)
WORN BY: MICHAEL JORDAN
“Mike sure knew how to capitalize on a moment and his last game in Madison Square Garden is perhaps one of the best examples. Much like life, footwear is circular, and MJ brought things full circle by breaking out the ‘Chicago’ Air Jordan 1s to torch the Knicks in the regular season one last time. Viewers of The Last Dance also learned that Mike’s first Nikes were actually too small – how wild? The Garden is iconic, the Air Jordan 1 is iconic, Michael Jordan is iconic – everything about this moment was perfecto.” – Robbie Falchi
Photo by Nick Engvall
WORN BY: MICHAEL JORDAN
“I remember watching this game with my dad and being amazed by Jordan once again, but at the same time I was disappointed because the thought of this being MJ’s last game as a Bull had set in. Made famous by the shot MJ hit in game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz that propelled his Bulls to another championship victory. Serving as one of the first sneakers in history to have an official nickname devoid of any color affiliation, the Air Jordan 14 “Last Shot” helps tell the story of one of the most significant moments in NBA history. Securing MJ his sixth NBA championship with the Bulls, this iconic moment was both the final Bull’s Field Goal attempt of the game and Jordan’s last in his Chicago career. ” – Chris Elliott
Photos by Chris Elliott
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, StockX, and Stadium Goods better connect with their consumers, has an addiction to burritos and Sour Patch Kids, and owns way too many shoes for his own good.