Jordan 13 Buyer's Guide

February 11, 2021

Last updated on February 15, 2022

The Buyer's Guide: Air Jordan 13

Morgan Baylis

Morgan is a writer and sneaker analyst based in Detroit, MI. He is the Content Coordinator of StockX.

To help with your Jordan 13 shopping needs, we put together a comprehensive guide with all the information you need before copping a pair.

To help with your Jordan 13 shopping needs, we put together a comprehensive guide with all the information you need before copping a pair.

This article is part 6 of 27 in the series: StockX Buyer's Guides

Last year, the best-selling sneaker on StockX was an Air Jordan 13. The release of the Jordan 13 Flint Grey coincided with ESPN’s The Last Dance, and the incredible hype and frenzy around that documentary propelled the Flint Grey 13 to record-breaking sales. This success might come as a surprise to longtime students of Jordan Brand. Between the constant stream of Jordan 1 colorways and Jordan 11 holiday releases, perennial favorites for sneaker fans, a Jordan 13 would seem like an unlikely candidate to be the most in-demand Jordan in the aftermarket. But it was. 

We’ve seen a number of hugely popular Jordan 13 releases in recent years. Historical value and cultural impact are among many reasons why this often-underrated silhouette continues to move in numbers on StockX. But as monumental as the sneaker is, information on the silhouette isn’t always accessible to the casual shopper.

To help with your Jordan 13 shopping needs, we put together a comprehensive guide with all the information you need before copping a pair. Here is everything you need to know about the Jordan 13.

Jordan 13 History

Image by KicksOnFire / NBA

The Air Jordan 13 originally debuted in the fall of 1997. At the time, Michael Jordan’s unhappiness with the Chicago Bulls management was widely known. It was confirmed that head coach Phil Knight would not return after the 1997-1998 season due to complications with GM Jerry Krause. Jordan and Jackson were extraordinarily close, and Jordan made it clear that he would not play under any other coach. The future of the Chicago Bulls looked bleak as fans anticipated that the season would be Jordan’s last. As his farewell tour began, all eyes turned to the player, his team, and his recently-released signature sneaker: the Jordan 13.

The Air Jordan 13, also known as the Jordan XIII, is widely regarded as the end of the OG era (e.g. the era of Jordan shoes that MJ actually played in). MJ played the entirety of his 1997-1998 regular season in the XIII and most of the 1998 NBA Playoffs. From the epic face-off against Kobe Bryant in the 1998 All-Star Game to battles with the Indiana Pacers in a legendary Eastern Conference rivalry, the 13s are rich in history and highlights, and those who watched The Last Dance (millions of people) know the story well. 

Although the Jordan 13 marked the final chapter of a dynasty, it also represented Michael Jordan’s transition from ballplayer to business executive. 1997 was the year that Jordan Brand was established as an independent company within the Nike empire, and the Jordan 13 was the first shoe promoted under this new image. The ad campaign for the Air Jordan XIII emphasized Jordan’s new role as “CEO Jordan”, equal parts player and executive, making decisions for his company all while entertaining NBA fans on the court. 

The Design

Jordan 13 black cat

Image by Sneaker Politics

Playing off of Michael Jordan’s “Black Cat” nickname, Tinker Hatfield drew inspiration from the rainforest’s black panther when designing the Jordan 13. Its layered mesh and leather upper with dotted embroidery resemble the base of a panther’s whiskers. The sole nods to the panther’s paw pad when striking the ground. Hatfield even snuck in a reference to the panther’s glowing eyes with the circular Jumpman hologram at the heel.

Air Jordan 13 Colorways

Jordan 13 Colorways

The Jordan 13 originally released in seven colorways between 1997 and 1998. Similar to other Jordan models, the 13 came in both high-top and low-top silhouettes, each with their own specific colorways. The first high-top 13s arrived in Flint Grey, Black / Varsity Red, White / True Red, White / Black, and Playoff Black colorways. Low-top versions of the silhouette released in Navy and Chutney

Image by SoleSavy

MJ wore all the Jordan 13 high-top colorways in his final season with the Bulls except one: the Jordan 13 Flint Grey. The Flints were set to make an on-court appearance in the All-Star game in New York, but when players ended up wearing their own jerseys instead of eccentric All-Star themed jerseys, MJ donned the Chicago-themed Jordan XIII Playoffs. Because Jordan never played a single game in the Flint Greys, the colorway came to be known culturally as “The People’s Jordan”. Despite the colorway officially titled as the Flint Grey, the upper of the Flint 13 was primarily blue mesh. This resonated with many of the blueblood college programs and athletes adopted them on the court. From Duke to UCONN to Michigan, amateur ballplayers across the USA were ditching their generic team shoes for a pair of Flints.

Jordan 13 He Got Game

Image by Touchstone Pictures

The Jordan 13 even gained attention on the silver screen. The White / Black colorway was featured in Spike Lee’s 1998 film He Got Game, appearing in one of its most iconic scenes. In the movie, Jake Shuttlesworth (Denzel Washington) goes to a sneaker store to buy his son Jesus (Ray Allen) a pair of the latest Air Jordans in an effort to sway his basketball commitment to Big State. The White / Black Jordan XIII became forever associated with the movie, so much so that the colorway is now known as the He Got Games. 

How Much Do Jordan 13s Cost?

The original Air Jordan 13 cost around $190 if you are able to grab them at retail. But as most Jordan Retros typically sell-out upon release, it’s important to know how 13s fare on StockX.

The line graph above shows the average price appreciation and depreciation of Jordan 13s in the days following their initial release. All of the colorways we analyzed have released within the last two years. To create this chart, we looked at the current price of each sneaker, then compared it to the resale price when it first released. This shows us how much resale values have increased (or decreased) over time, and the difference in value is shown on the y-axis.

Looking at the trend line, you will see that Jordan 13 prices typically don’t appreciate before the 300-day mark. In fact, resale prices tend to be lower than their release-week resale price. For example, the Jordan 13 White Soar Green Pink (GS) plummeted in value shortly after its release, down over $60, or 30% of its value in the nine months it has been on the market. Every single Jordan 13 we analyzed that has been on the market for 300 days or less has depreciated in value since release.

However, after the 300-day mark, prices begin to go up. Among all colorways, the Jordan 13 Atmosphere Grey stands out as an outlier: after almost two years on the market, its resale value increased by $160, for a 92% price appreciation. Of course, not every 13 saw such dramatic appreciation. But among those that have been out for more than one year, most colorways have gained in resale value. The lesson for buyers is clear: if you purchase your Jordan 13 shortly after it releases, you’ll probably get a pretty good deal. But if you wait more than a year to cop, you might end up paying a good deal more.

Summary

From a price perspective, the Jordan 13 serves as an accessible entry point for new buyers. Unlike Jordan 1s, which sell for higher premiums and appreciate rapidly, Jordan 13 prices tend to be lower and steadier. Moreover, the Jordan 13 has as much history and cultural significance as any other silhouette: from MJ’s late-career heroics to Spike Lee’s cinematic fame, it is deeply rooted in Jordan Brand’s growth from signature line to sportswear powerhouse. As such, it’s a must-have sneaker for every Jordan fan, whether they’re a casual newcomer or diehard devotee.