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A Brief History of Air Jordan 1


The Air Jordan 1 originally came out in 1985 and was the rookie Michael Jordan’s first signature sneaker.

To this day, Nike have only given signature shoes in the first season to Lebron James and Michael Jordan, so this was a huge risk.

Air Jordan 1 Banned

Michael Jordan wore the Air Ship (which was very similar to the Air Jordan 1), he was fined by the NBA because the red and black colorway, which has come to be known as the “Breds,” did not have enough white on the shoe.

For every game that he wore this sneaker, Nike took the fine, although they did make a “Chicago,” colorway, that had the same black and red but with some white on as well to please the league.

Nike used this problem they faced early on though, making a world-famous ad campaign about how although the NBA “threw them out of the game,” the NBA
could not “stop you from wearing them.” This began the craze for the Air Jordan 1s. They sold out quickly and people paid ridiculous amounts at the time for them.

The original colorways of this model are still well sought after today, with very few still in the world thanks to people losing them or the shoes crumbling into an unrecognizable mess. Some pairs are still intact though, as the sole is rubber, so it is
built to last, and as it was so popular at the time, many people looked after the Air Jordan’s very well.

Air Jordan 1 Design


The shoe was designed by Peter Moore, Nike’s head designer at the time, and was a step out of Jordan’s comfort zone as a player who did not hoop in Nikes.

Jordan played in Converse, that are now owned by Nike, when playing for North Carolina in college, and he originally wanted to sign for Adidas.

It is rumored that when he first saw the “Bred,” colorway he remarked that it was the colors of the devil. The shoe’s colors were the same as his rival (NC STATE). But, Peter Moore and his team were able to sway his opinion and he ended up really liking what they created.

The sneaker had a leather upper with a rubber midsole and outsole, and extra padding around the ankle to support Jordan when he played. It had Nike Air in the heel which was closer to the ground than the other basketball sneakers during that time.

Original Air Jordan 1 Colorways

It was also released originally in a black and blue colorway with the same color blocking as the “bred,” which was known as the Royal. In a grey and black colorway with the same color blocking which was named the Shadow. And a red, white and black colorway nicknamed the “Black toe,” that is considered the hardest original Jordan to find.

Air Jordan 1 Original Price

The shoes took over the world with a price point of $65 which was not that cheap at the time. They were worn for playing basketball, thanks to their amazing traction
which holds up even 34 years later, as well as casually and even for skating, with some skaters painting over them.

1st Air Jordan 1 Re-release and Variants


With the success of the Air Jordan 1 and the following Air Jordan’s, Nike decided to re-release the original model in 1994 and then again in 2001, and after this new idea of re-releasing an old sneaker as a “retro,” model paid off, they have carried on doing it with all their models ever since.

They have made a low-cut model of the original Air Jordan 1 and a mid-cut, however, these two versions haven’t had the same popularity, partially thanks to the replacement of the Nike Air tag with the famous Jumpman logo that was never on the original shoes. This was because Jordan was trying to separate themselves from
Nike as they became a company with Nike being a parent company, so they swapped a lot of the original Nike logos for Jumpman logos which did not go down well with sneakerheads.

There are now hundreds of versions of the original Air Jordan 1s, with 60 different versions coming out in 2018 alone. Although some sit on shelves and can even be found on sale, the original colorways are still going strong and with Jordan deciding to try and make the new retro versions of the original colorways closer to the shoe that was on sale in 1985, it is looking like their popularity will keep going strong for years to come.

What do you think?

Written by Grailz

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