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25 Classic Kicks

FN counts off the sneaker styles that defined the times, made reputations and empowered generations of fans.

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Air Jordan IV

Photo By Courtesy Photo

Air Jordan IV

Following the massive success of the Jordan III, the bar was set high for the 1989 Jordan IV. That style featured overmolded mesh on the upper and a new strap closure designed to keep the wearer’s ankle even more stable. Die-hard franchise fan Spike Lee had a special fondness for this edition: Mars Blackmon again went to work pitching the shoe in Lee’s famous “Can/Can’t” commercial. And in his own 1989 film, “Do the Right Thing,” Lee made the Jordan IV — or as character Buggin Out says, “my brand-new white Air Jordan’s I just bought” — a key image. (One of the movie’s more enduring scenes is when Buggin Out cleans the sneaks after they were run over by an errant, gentrifying cyclist.) The 1999 retro of the shoe sold out in hours — one of the fastest sellouts the brand had ever seen and a testament to the shoe’s enduring appeal.

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