Music lover, interested in political science, history and pop culture
The Nike 'swoosh' logo is displayed on the outside of the Nike SoHo store, June 15, 2017 in New York City. (Getty Images/AFP /Drew Angerer)
Over the years, Nike Air Jordans, just like the player, has been transcendental in pop culture. More than just a basketball shoe, it has become an iconic fashion statement for many streetwear enthusiasts and sneakerheads. This list looks back on some of the best Jordan re-releases, a.k.a. the retro series. This list is composed purely based on opinion on aesthetic value, without taking price range into account.
10. Air Jordan 1 OG High “Top 3”
There are mixed reactions towards this shoe, as some sneaker enthusiasts think they look like clown shoes. The Jordan 1 OG High "Top 3" looks different and is not too overbearing as it brings some spice to the Jordan 1 design by using different color patterns on the shoes while maintaining its signature style. The Top 3 is one of the Jordan shoes that Michael Jordan never wore in official basketball games although he was involved in the promotion. Other Jordans he never wore include “Military Blue” IVs, “Grape” Vs, “Maroon” and “Sport Blue” VIs, and any number of 1s (Metallic, Shadows etc.)
9. Air Jordan 1 OG high “UNC”
Introducing the Air Jordan shoes that dawn the colors of Michael Jordan’s alma mater, the Univeristy of North Carolina. Personally, I am a fan of weird-looking Jordans and this colorway is no exception. Released in 2015, the UNC Jordans returned for the first time after a long hiatus. The iconic shoes took two decades to be released in a newer body, still representing the ‘UNC Tar Heels’.
8. Air Jordan 1 Metallic Red
The Air Jordan 1 Metallic Red represents the classic must-have white shoe in your closet. While some might argue that the red ruins it, all it does is only enhancing the look while surpassing the cool factor of the plain Yin and Yang Air Jordans. Re-released in May 2017, the new version include the use of higher-quality materials and the addition of the Nike Air symbol on the shoe tongue.
7. Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “All-star Chameleon”
While the usual metallic colorways may appear tacky and too overbearing, the Air Jordan Retro High OG “All-star Chameleon” is an exception. The metallic silver works very well in making the shoe look quite subtle despite having the metallic colors which at the same time is eye-grabbing. This shoe had a limited release during the All-Star weekend in New Orleans from 17th to 20th of February 2017. The scene-stealing high-tops is appropriately named “chameleon” due to the hued metallic overlay which changes colors in different shades of light.
6. Air Jordan 1 Retro High Nouveau “Black History Month”
In honor of the Black History Month in the US, Nike released the Air Jordan 1 Retro High Nouveau “Black History Month” in 2016. The sticking-out tongue of the Nouveaus may not be for everyone, however, the unique colorway makes up for its unusual feat. The multicolor pattern in replacement of the usual white on the Jordans is an expression of African American culture. Apart from the black colorway, Nike also released voltage green, blue and red colorways.
5. Air Jordan 1 Retro High “Banned”
While unique sneaker lines are always coveted by collectors, the classics will always have a special value. So is the case with the black and red colorway of the Air Jordan 1 Retro High ‘Banned’ albeit rumors that NBA once banned Michael Jordan from wearing it as they did not bear the official Chicago Bulls colors. The uniformity of uniform rule set by the NBA says, “A player must wear shoes that not only matched their uniforms, but matched the shoes worn by their teammates.” Jordan was rumored to keep on wearing the Banned shoes anyway on NBA games, get slapped with a $5000 fine every time he did, with Nike footed the bill to get their promotion going. The rumor which became a mythical story among sneakerheads and basketball lovers alike helps in elevating the shoes’ popularity to new heights.
4. Dave White x Air Jordan 1
Artist Dave White lent his genius in expressing his art on the Dave White x Air Jordan 1 shoes back in 2012. The paint splatter which took the place of where the usual Swoosh would be and the gradient-style spray paint pattern as a backdrop are the reasons design lovers would fall for this limited release. With only 23 pairs created and sold through online auction, proceeds from the sales will be used to raise money for Michael Jordan’s WINGS For The Future program which benefits in-need schools with new facilities and counseling. Although the shoes got re-released, this is still one of the rarest Air Jordans in the sneaker market.
3. Air Jordan 1 KO “Chicago”
Arguably the most popular Jordan of all time. The Chicago is iconic for representing the colors of the dominant Chicago Bulls at the time and was worn by Jordan during his first years in the NBA from 1984 to 1986. The hype following the shoes’ major increase in popularity also had a direct effect on its resell prices which climbed from $65 to $100 dollars on the first day. While Nike initially made too much stock because of the demand, it seemed to do good for the brand in the future, as these sneakers remained on store shelves for years and became a consistent stream of revenue for the shoe brand, with the Air Jordan line generating $100 million in 1985 alone.
2. Air Jordan 1 “Shattered Backboard”
Orange and black might not be your average colorway when it comes to sneakers, however, The Air Jordan 1 ‘Shattered Backboard’ proved otherwise. While rather muted when compared to the eye-popping UNC and Top 3 colorways, the orange and black combo works incredibly well with any outfit. The shoes came to significance as a commemoration of Michael Jordan’s glass backboard-shattering dunk in a 1986 Italian exhibition game. The colors were inspired by the uniform colors worn by Jordan at the event.
1 . Air Jordan 1 OG High “Royal 2017”
It would be a travesty not to put the Royals on this list. Designed by Peter Moore and first released in 1985, the blue/black colorway may seem unorthodox among the Air Jordan line, and it’s even seen as ‘violating the NBA codes for sneaker colors’ much like what happened with the ‘Banned’ red/black colorways, however it managed to have been re-released four times. The Air Jordan 1 OG High Royal got a re-release in 2017, with a slightly different blue and inner lining. A little-known fact about this shoe is that this colorway is actually Michael Jordan’s favorite which he never wears on an NBA court. (asw)
Music lover, interested in political science, history and pop culture, video game player (mostly Dota 2). Kenneth is currently studying at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
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