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4th July 2023 EDT RELEASES

As Seen on MJ: The Nike Air Alpha Force 1988

The iron is hot for the return of the '80s archetype.


[Update 4 Jul 2023] As expected, a release date has finally been scheduled for the Nike Air Alpha Force 88 in the apropos “Chicago” colorway. Find them on SNKRS from 15 July for US$140!

[Update 22 Jun 2023] A firm release date hasn’t been disclosed but the Nike Air Alpha Force 88 are projected to be released in July this year. That’s either in a few weeks, or a month! Either way, it’s close!

[Update 22 May 2023] Official images have finally surfaced of the Nike Air Alpha Force 88 “Chicago” MJ himself wore. While a firm release date hasn’t been disclosed, these images ascertain that it will be soon. Stay tuned!

[Update 5 May 2023] A release date hasn’t been revealed yet but new photos have at least come to light. Enjoy looks of these retail images as we await news of a drop date. Stay tuned!


Michael Jordan’s sneaker legacy is well-documented. But in a hazy corner of his lore lies the oft-forgotten Air Alpha Force which he donned in 1988. At times in his career, even with a thriving signature line, he would still wear some of Nike’s inline offerings.

It’s not obscure trivia that the Air Jordan 2 wasn’t the young Chicago Bull’s favorite. During that chapter, before Tinker Hatfield’s Air Jordan 3 saw the Jumpman fly, his relationship with the Swoosh was also—no pun intended—up in the air. And with him wearing the Air Alpha Force in between the 2s and 3s, speculation was galvanized.

The AAF is hardly a shoe that’s associated with MJ and only he himself will know why he wore the pair that one night in 1988. But more than three decades later, come 2023, its maker is reintroducing the archetypal ’80s silhouette into the fore.

Also a Tinker Hatfield brainchild, the Air Alpha Force is a paragon of the time’s design language. From the lockdown strap on the vamp, the perforated toe box, to the oversized “Air Alpha Force” on the tongue. The design from a technical perspective can be dated, from an aesthetic POV it’s a classic.

Several colorways will be released next year. The “White/Black/Grey” and “White/Fire Red/Grey” will be at the vanguard of the launch in the summer of 2023 with a RRP of US$130, while the “White/Venom Green” will arrive in the fall. The “Light Bone” and the “White/University Red/Black” succeeds it in the same season but will go for US$140.

With a rejuvenated appreciation for the vintage, the Nike Air Alpha Force 1988 may finally get the recognition that’s long eluded it.

Elsewhere in the Jordan-sphere, check out the Union LA x Air Jordan 1 Low KO that’s arriving soon.