The Air Jordan 4 “Superman” is one of the most iconic and sought-after sneakers in Jordan Brand history. First released in 2011, this shoe pays tribute to Michael Jordan’s alter-ego “Superman” and his heroic performances on the basketball court.
The Jordan 4 Superman features the signature colors of Superman – blue and red – with some stylish tweaks that make it instantly recognizable. It was inspired by Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing” movie that had a scene where the main characters discussed the allure of the Man of Steel.
This sneaker combines excellent style, rare availability, and historic Jordan Brand heritage. For sneaker collectors and Jordan fans, the Jordan 4 Superman is the stuff of legend.
Origins and Design
The Jordan 4 silhouette originally released in 1989 and was the first Jordan not designed by Peter Moore. It was created by legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield, who took inspiration from Michael Jordan’s love of racing cars.
The Jordan 4 introduced several new design elements like the plastic mesh panels on the upper for breathability and the visible Air Sole unit in the midsole for cushioning. It also had lace locks on the collar inspired by parachutes.
For the Superman colorway, Hatfield revamped the classic Jordan 4 by using the Superman color palette of bold blue and red. The blue dominates the nubuck upper, midsole, laces, and lining. It provides a clean backdrop for the Man of Steel accents.
The red hits on the tongue branding, Air Sole unit, and heel tab pop against the blue. The icy translucent outsole adds some flair while allowing the red Air bubble to peek through. Sweet details like the Superman logo on the heel and speckled blue laces complete the heroic look.
Cultural Significance and Rarity
The Jordan 4 is one of the most iconic Jordans ever thanks to its legendary design story and the series of memorable player exclusives (PEs) in colors like “White/Cement” and “Bred.”
But the Superman edition holds a special place in the hearts of sneaker fans because it marks a cultural moment that transcends basketball. The “Do The Right Thing” film scene where the characters debated Superman’s cool factor demonstrated his status as a cultural icon who represented hope and heroism.
By immortalizing that moment in sneaker form, the Jordan 4 Superman took on greater meaning as well. It represented the flying-high spirit of the Jordan Brand legacy.
Adding to its mythical appeal is the limited availability of the shoe. It had an initial quickstrike release in 2011 followed by a wider launch in 2012. But it hasn’t retroed since, making deadstock pairs extremely rare. This creates a “holy grail” aura around the shoe for serious collectors.
The Release Journey
The Jordan 4 Superman first released on June 18, 2011 in a pack along with the Jordan 4 “Green Glow.” This limited launch was regional to Los Angeles and New York. Just 1,000 packs dropped in LA and 2,500 in NYC at a retail price of $350.
As expected, the Superman 4s were impossible to get and resell prices shot up to $1,000 rapidly. Rappers like Fabolous complaining about the limited release built the hype further.
The wider global release followed on December 23, 2011 with 60,000 pairs at a lower $200 price. This increased supply helped cool resale prices but the Superman 4s still traded for $400-$500.
In recent years, resell prices have climbed again to $600-$800 for new and $400-$600 for used pairs in decent condition. Completely deadstock pairs in the original packaging can fetch up to $1,000 or more.
Impact on Sneaker Culture
The massive demand for rare Jordans like the Superman 4 helped accelerate the sneaker collecting culture. It showed that people were willing to pay crazy resell prices just to own a slice of history.
Its debut also demonstrated the power nostalgia and storytelling. The Superman 4’s instant popularity was largely due to its cultural backstory recalling the “Do The Right Thing” film moment.
This set a blueprint that Jordan Brand follows to this day for retroing classic silhouettes in new colorways with context-driven stories. The strategy keeps the Jordan legacy fresh and engaging for new generations.
On feet, the Jordan 4 Superman is the ultimate expression of fandom for the Jordan lineage. It lets you literally wear the Jordan history on your feet while displaying your sneaker savvy.
The Superman colorway also influenced branding decisions like footwear and apparel for Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets ownership. It remains one of the most requested retros among sneakerheads today.
Where to Buy the Jordan 4 Superman
With no current retro release scheduled, the Jordan 4 Superman remains incredibly hard to acquire. Here are some options to try:
- Resale sites – Stadium Goods, StockX, GOAT, and Flight Club will have a limited number of brand new or used pairs listed. Expect to pay at least $600 for new and $400 for used.
- eBay – You may get lucky and find a reasonably priced pair from an individual seller. Be sure to authenticate carefully.
- Sneaker groups – Join Jordan-focused groups on Facebook where members buy/sell/trade shoes. You can hunt for a used pair or trade other kicks.
- Sneaker conventions – Superman 4s may pop up at big events like Sneaker Con though expect a premium. Get tickets early when announced.
Owning this grail Jordans takes patience and persistence. But the journey is part of the fun for diehard sneakerheads who finally want to add the Superman 4s to their collection.
Verdict: A Milestone in Jordan History
The Jordan 4 Superman is the stuff that sneaker myths are made of. With its roots in cinema history, iconic Superman colorway, cultural significance, and continued rarity, it is one of the most important Jordan releases ever.
For design aficionados, MJ fans, sneaker lovers, and comic nerds alike, this shoe is the full package. It looks great on foot while conjuring up nostalgia for Jordan’s high-flying performances and the magic of classic cartoons and movies.
A decade since its debut, the Jordan 4 Superman endures as a grail shoe that lives up to its name. Tracking down a pair requires time, effort and money. But for dedicated collectors, the journey is worthwhile to own a remnant of Jordan history in Superman colors.