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The Air Jordan 17 Low “Lightning” Takes Us To A Rare Part Of The Jumpman Archives

Marco Negrete

The Air Jordan 17 Low “Lightning” is receiving its first retro since its initial release in 2002. Excitement for retros has historically favored models 1-14, but the late teen Air Jordans represent a special era for fans. They were the final Air Jordan models Michael Jordan wore on the court and remain some of the rarest silhouettes regarding rereleases. Read below for everything you need to know about the return of the AJ17 Low “Lightning” and what it signifies for Jordan Brand moving forward.


The Original Air Jordan 17 Low “Lightning” Was Meant To Come In A Briefcase

When the Air Jordan 17 Low “Lightning” was released in 2002, it came in a regular “face” Air Jordan box instead of the metal briefcase the high colorways famously arrived in. At the time, MJ was both a player and front-office executive for the Washington Wizards, so the briefcase represented the business side of the GOAT. The AJ17 design took heavy inspiration from Jazz, and the briefcase also mimicked the carrying case of a musician. Iconic sneaker designer Wilson Smith III intended for the AJ17 Low to also come in a briefcase, but production timelines didn’t allow it. The 2024 retro will grant Smith’s original wish and come in a metal briefcase.



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This Release Will Lead The Way For More Air Jordan 15-18 Retros

Air Jordan retros after the AJ14 have been few and far between. The AJ17 has only returned a few times, with 2018’s Solefly “Alternate Lightning” being the only retro version of the Low. The return of the AJ17 “Lightning” Low now marks a re-energization of models AJ15-AJ18 by Jordan Brand. Expect more limited releases of these models from now until 2026.

The Air Jordan 17 Low “Lightning” Will Be Extremely Limited

The late teen Air Jordan models are not likely to match the mainstream demand of the brand’s hero models like the AJ1, AJ3, AJ4, and AJ11, but there is a vocal segment of sneakerheads nostalgic for these designs. Expect less than 10K global units for this release.


The Air Jordan 17 Low “Lightning” Is limited to NBHD Stores and Will Not Drop On SNKRS

SOMEWHERE D.C., UP NYC, Two18 in Detroit, and Union LA are early launch partners (May 25). Other NBHD stores will release them on May 30.



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