The evolution of the Air Jordan…
As we‘re in the midst of a busy period for Air Jordan releases, we take a look at the illustrious 36-year history of the iconic athlete-endorsed brand. With seven September releases, including the Jordan 4 “Shimmer”, Jordan 6 “Bordeaux”, Jordan 14 Low Gym Red, Jordan 11 IE Low OG, Jordan 13 Obsidian, Jordan 5 “Total Orange”, and of course the Jordan 1 AJKO “Storm Blue”, it is certainly an exciting time for Air Jordan fans. Yet in truth, it seems there has hardly been a dull moment since Nike and Michael Jordan formed their world-famous and long-standing partnership. Together these two powerhouses have produced countless iconic sneakers, and despite Michael Jordan retiring from professional basketball 18 years ago, demand for Air Jordan’s is as high as ever, so we can expect many more future releases for years to come.
Rewind to 1984, Nike unearthed a then fresh-faced 21-year-old and partnered with a future sporting legend to produce a range of iconic sneakers. Together they created one of the most successful and long-running athlete-endorsed brands that changed the trajectory of sneakers and proved to be the birth of the great basketball shoe boom. Yet Air Jordan’s quickly became more than just a basketball shoe, and with their own identity, became a streetwear staple, with each sneaker sharing common design elements which remain today, such as the visible Air-sole unit under the heel with Nike’s ‘Air’ embroidery, and the cushioned midsole. Other classic and timeless design features which have stood strong through the years are the patent leather and the offset ankle collar which adds support and flexibility.
So, the question is, which are the greatest Air Jordan’s of all time? While you’ll no doubt have your own favourites, we’ve picked our top five…
Jordan 1 Chicago
The first ever Jordan released in 1985, The Chicago is where it all started for the Jordan brand. Released again in 1994, 2013, and 2015, these sneakers have stood the test of time and remain one of the most popular and in-demand Jordan’s ever, and for good reason. Featuring perhaps the most iconic colourway, the Chicago is a footwear pioneer. With contrasting hits of black and white blended with University red, these sneakers are a statement piece that boast the classic J1 design features such as the deposed wings logo and the black Nike swoosh on both sides. Whichever release you’re lucky enough to have, they are no doubt the cornerstone of your sneaker collection!
Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 High OG
The Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 High OG features a new look on an iconic sneaker, thanks to an oversized backward-facing Swoosh on the lateral side, while the medial side follows more classical design traits with a traditionally oriented Swoosh. Further distinct features include a double-layer construction on the collar and Scott’s drawn face logo embossed on the heel. The white leather and brown suede combination provide a colourway and use of materials that are exclusive to these sneakers and ensure uniqueness whilst being unmistakably Jordan 1.
Jordan 1 Low Fragment x Travis Scott
When three masterminds came together to collaborate on an Air Jordan 1, it was clear a special range of sneakers were in the pipeline. The Jordan Brand, Travis Scott and Hiroshi Fujiwara combined to design and develop the iconic Jordan 1 Travis Low which has proven to be similarly successful to their earlier project; the Jordan 1 High OG. The Houston rapper and the Japanese designer formed a dream team with Jordan and the Travis Lows have predictably proven to be in very high demand. With familiar colour blocking, Military Blue accents on the heel, collar, and insole along with a backward Swoosh on the lateral side, these sneakers provide the perfect blend of unique features and traditional J1 traits.
Jordan 4 Retro Off-White Sail
A hugely hyped sneaker, the Off-White Sail was eagerly anticipated from the moment it debuted on the runway in Off-White's Fall/Winter 2020 Women's show in Paris. Constructed from fine materials including premium leather and suede, this silhouette certainly has a premium look and feel. Mesh panels and see-through rubber add further design features, along with Nike branding on the heel and ‘AIR’ being embellished on the heel. The clean cream colourway offers versatility, and the Air infused midsole provides extreme comfort, ensuring practicality as well as uncompromised style. Whilst these sneakers were produced with women in mind, the extended style run means men can also have their pick of sizes.
Nike SB Dunk Low Ben & Jerry's Chunky Dunky
An unlikely collaboration, yet somehow it works. When Nike and everyone’s favourite ice cream brand teamed up, a few eyebrows were raised, yet having produced a pair of Dunk’s that are based on one of the ice cream brand’s famous flavours known as Chunky Dunky, demand soured for this silhouette. With innovative details intended to look like they’re dripping, this classic sneaker has been given quite the makeover. Showcasing a vibrant colourway along with the cow-print patterns, these are no ordinary Dunk’s! Very much a statement piece, yet none of the premium quality and comfort we expect from Nike is lost and we love the wackiness of these sneakers.