Every year, Nike teams up with the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland to release a collection of shoes designed/inspired by the hospital’s young patients..and every year there’s a Jordan release in that collection.
As you might imagine, collectors the world over go crazy for these limited-edition kicks year in and year out. No matter what colorway or model, it’s a guaranteed sellout. However, there’s always been divided opinions on what pair’s the best. We’re putting our stamp on the discussion today. Here’s our definitive ranking of all the Dornbecher Jordans.
Disclaimer: This article was written with the utmost respect towards any and all patients of the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. We salute the designers of all the shoes for their courage and heart, even if we don’t love the design of the shoes themselves.
We’ll start off with a recent release, the Jordan XIII’s. These were an easy pick for the bottom of the list, as the alligator-green upper and the scales clash unpleasantly with the volt green laces and pink outsole. Although having “Crohns” on the bottom of the shoe so you can “stomp” the disease out with every step is a nice touch, it doesn’t save these from the bottom of the list.
The VIII’s scraped by the XIII’s and avoided the bottom spot, but not by a ton. The “14” on the strap is a nice nod to the designer’s basketball jersey number, and having his brother’s name on the inside of the straps is nice too, but the shoe is just a touch too whimsical for our tastes.
The DB X doesn’t get a lot of love, and seems to get lost in the shuffle, but the execution on the shoe itself is pretty nice. It features the first clear outsole ever on a Jordan X, and a tire tread pattern inspired by the designer’s love of BMX runs down the heel and right into the sockliner. A sleeper DB release
The first DB Jordan ever released, the II was inspired by the designer’s school colors, and featured his favorite proverb and a paisley print. The II seems to be a hard silhouette to work with (most people only seem to like the Just Dons), but the DB II’s have just the right amount of flash as well as a solid backstory.
If you know us, you know a Jordan I is normally at the top of any list we’ll do, but on the DB list they fall in at #6. Known as the “Mr. Boobers” these I’s feature a palm tree print on the upper, with blue and black patent leather sitting on top of a black and yellow outsole. It’s a hard color to pull off, but if you break these out in the summer, you’ll be turning heads.
Inspired by the designer’s Mexican heritage, the DB IX boasts a gold laser-cut feather design (the designer’s nickname, Polito, which means “Little Chicken” can be seen on the tongue), and red and green accents on the outsole (a nod to the Mexican flag). All this comes together to make a flashy yet surprisingly clean and wearable sneaker.
Now we’re starting to get into the real bangers. The DB V’s with their glow-in-the-dark print and patent leather upper are a favorite of many collectors, and we can certainly see why. The designer’s basketball and baseball numbers (31 and 9 respectively) adorn the outside heel, and his legacy lives on with these excellent kicks.
Great colorway, lots of meaning, and the designer’s name is Jordan? What’s not to love about these? The date he finished treatment is cleverly displayed smack-dab in the center of the shoe (06/08 if you couldn’t figure it out yourself), and the oversized stitching lends a nice touch as well. You’re lucky if you’ve got a pair of these in your collection.
We’re all about wearable shoes, and no shoe in the DB Jordan collection is more wearable than the III’s. Although a lot of the colors are loud and crazy (as they should be, they’re designed by kids after all), the 3’s still maintain a very clean aesthetic, even with the special gold monogram all over the upper. That’s a design victory.
What else could take the top spot? When it comes to DB Jordans, there’s nothing more iconic than the big Superman patch on the tongue of these IV’s. The shoe has two major themes: that the designer was tough as steel (just like Superman) during his treatment, and a nod to one of his favorite players, Nate Robinson (who donned a Krypto-Nate costume and jumped over Dwight Howard to win the dunk contest the year this shoe dropped) Two big themes, one iconic shoe. Hands down #1 on our list.
What’s your favorite DB Jordan? Do you own any yourself? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter, check our Facebook page for daily updates, and, as always, be sure to follow us on Instagram for all the fire sneaker pictures you can handle.