Air Jordans have been a complex part of the sneaker game since they were first introduced back in 1985. Whether it was the Jordan 1 getting banned, Michael Jordan dunking from the foul line in the Jordan 2, or making us believe he could fly in the classic Air Jordan 3, our memories our filled with Air Jordan history.
But even when Michael was captivating crowds with his athletic performances his sneakers didn’t always fly off the shelves. Getting a pair of Jordans during his active career was much easier than grabbing a pair now. The selling out of every release is relatively new to the history of Jordans. With the new generation of sneakerheads and the craze about Jordans over the past few years, there is often an argument that some of the buyers never even saw Jordan in flight or know anything about the history of Air Jordans—we got you.
In this new series of posts we will be focusing on each Air Jordan release and taking you back in time to understand the true history you’re wearing on your feet. We figured the first post should focus on the all-time favourite – the Air Jordan 1.
Following its initial run in the 80s, the Air Jordan 1 jump started the retro era in 1994, following Jordan's retirement from basketball. The shoe returned again in 2001, including the introduction of a Jumpman branded mid-top. It wasn't until 2008 that Jordan Brand started re-releasing the Jordan 1 with its original high cut.
Designer Peter Moore was given the task of coming up with the first Air Jordan silhouette. The Air Jordan 1 featured the Nike Swoosh on the mid panel and a newly designed wings logo on the upper ankle. The first Air Jordan was similar in design to other popular Nike models released in the 1980s such as the Air Force 1, Terminator and Dunk. The Air Jordan 1 also featured a Nike Air unit for heel cushioning, padded foam ankle collars for additional protection and a toe overlay for added lockdown.
Nike Designer - Peter Moore
Although the Air Jordan 1 lacked technology, the colours and cultural meaning set the sneaker industry on its ear. The Air Jordan 1 paved the way for colourful basketball sneakers. It transformed the way people looked at athletic shoes. During the 1985 NBA season, Michael wore the Air Jordan 1, which retailed for about $65 - at the time, the most expensive basketball shoe on the market. The Air Jordan 1 Black/Red colourway was actually banned by the NBA because of rules regarding shoe colours; Jordan was fined $5,000 for every game he wore them (Nike gladly footed the bill, as the fines created even more buzz around the Air Jordan 1).
Jordan's rookie campaign resulted in an All-Star appearance, Rookie of the Year honours and leading the Bulls to the playoffs after a four-year absence. Michael wore the Air Jordan 1 Red/White/Black as he scored 63 points against the Boston Celtics in the 1986 playoffs. Although the Bulls ended up losing to the Larry Bird-led Celtics, Michael showed that he was one of the bright young stars in the NBA.
Air Jordan 1 "Banned" Commercial