Hello! 999HP contributing for #ThrowbackThursday! I might use another post to introduce myself but for now, let’s get straight to the content. To commemorate the recent announcement of the Air Jordan 1 x Nike SB collaboration, I’ve decided to give a little history on “the sneaker that started it all.”
1985 was a magical year. Ronald Reagan was President, Back to the Future was an instant hit and Microsoft released Windows 1.0. Nike sought to break into the realm of basketball shoes against Converse and Adidas while going through a sales crisis. They decided to make a bold move: Nike invited a college standout named Michael Jeffrey Jordan become a brand ambassador. Little did they know that this partnership would blossom into something special.
Shoes so good that they were banned by the NBA! The Air Jordan 1 caused quite a stir. Michael Jordan was fined $5000 every game he wore them because they did not comply with the league’s on-court dress code. Nike was more than happy to pick up the tab and use the controversy as free advertising. Meanwhile, the legend of Michael Jordan had only just begun. His popularity among NBA fans exploded while he honed his talents and perfected his skills on the court. He was 3rd in the league in scoring (28.8 ppg), made the All-Star team as a rookie, participated in his first slam dunk contest, led the Chicago Bulls back to the playoffs and set the record for most points scored in an NBA playoff game against a Larry Bird-led Boston Celtics team. It’s no surprise that people thought that “it must be the shoes” (more on this quote in a later post).
Appearance: Designed by Peter Moore, the Air Jordan 1 was made from premium leather. It features a giant swoosh on the mid panel and a Nike Air tag on the tongue of the shoe. It also features the Air Jordan Wings logo on the upper ankle. More recent Air Jordan 1 retros feature a Jumpman logo on the back heel and a Jumpman tag on the tongue. The most iconic colorways are the Chicago’s (White-Red-Black) and the Bred’s (Black-Red). These shoes set the trend for bright sneaker colorways to come.
Comfort: Although a relic compared to today’s technology, the Air Jordan 1 was state of the art. It features a Nike Air unit for heel cushioning and padded foam ankle collars. This high top shoe gives great ankle support when laced to the top. For the most part, these sneakers are a good pair to wear with loose laces. I’ve walked all day and played in most iterations of the Jordan 1 (1994 and beyond). In my opinion, the 2001 retros give the most comfort because of their thicker ankle collars and the sponginess of the insoles/binding for a smoother ride.
Durability: With a tough economy, you want a shoe that will stand the test of time figuratively as well as literally. To my knowledge, this is the only Jordan original that can still be worn. In fact, all retros of the Jordan 1 (1994, 2001-present) can still be worn as well depending on condition. My oldest pair of Air Jordan 1′s still look and feel fresh even though they’ll be old enough to graduate high school.
Price: The Air Jordan 1 sold for $65 in 1985. Today, pairs from 1985 will sell anywhere from $1000-$1500. And keep in mind, these pairs are still wearable.
In 1994 when the shoe was first retro’ed, they sold for $80 but ended up on clearance racks for $20. Today they are worth close to $500-$550+.
In 2001 they were retro’ed again and sold for $80 again with moderate success. Today, they are worth close to $300-350+. Today, a current iteration of the Air Jordan 1 would cost anywhere from $100-$125 which is not bad for sneakerhead standards.
Summary: Being the first in anything isn’t always easy but the Air Jordan 1 started a legacy that still continues today. The design is the most iconic in the Jordan line. These sneakers are both durable and comfortable. It’s no wonder skateboarders caught on and Nike used the design of this shoe for the Dunk and Nike SB line. I personally love rocking these with the tongue out (preferably showing Nike Air). These high tops can be worn with anything and will make a bold statement on your feet. Finding an original colorway can run you a pretty penny, but it’s definitely worth it to be a part of sneaker history.