In 1997, Nike decided that Michael Jordan was a big enough superstar that he could lead his own brand, and with that the Jordan brand was created. Sporting the Jumpman rather than the classic Nike Swoosh, the Jordan brand has been the go-to brand for performance the past 30 years. The first ever Air Jordan silhouette to be a part of the Jordan brand was the Air Jordan 13, the same silhouette Jordan won his last championship in. Providing great looks for performance and style, Jordan shoes became more than just a sub-brand of Nike . Michael Jordan’s shoes became as iconic as the man. From “The Shot” to the crying meme, the Jordan brand is embedded in American, sports, and fashion culture worldwide. Is it the shoes? It’s gotta be the shoes!
Few athletes have transcended sports like Michael Jordan. The North Carolina native and Tar Heel basketball hero would sign to Nike, because he felt the brand's innovative approach to sportswear was in line with his own vision. The collaboration proved to be a success, and together they created the Air Jordan line of sneakers - a pivotal moment in footwear history. Jordan would work with a few designers, but none more influential and central to the Jordan Brand line as Tinker Hatfield. Michael Jordan and Nike would defy the traditional uniformity of NBA style and create their own. This defiance, paired with Michael Jordan’s unique talent and unparalleled status as the greatest basketball player of all-time, transcends basketball and will continue to play a significant cultural role for more generations to come.
In the basketball world and the universe of sports, Michael Jordan was in a lane of his own. His skills, competitive drive, and charismatic personality shone through in ways that few athletes have been able to match, before or since. Jordan’s unique style deviated from his NBA peers and athletes in other sports at that time. Building his signature Jordan brand with its iconic Jumpman logo helped him stand out from the pack even more. Jordan reflected a lifestyle. Jordan clothing had high-quality construction, signature branding, and best of all - it was made for Michael Jordan, the best basketball player in the world. It became a lifestyle. Jordan apparel fused sportswear with street style and a daring desire to be different.
In 1985, Nike and designer Peter Moore teamed up with a rookie from the University of North Carolina to create some of the most iconic basketball shoes ever. The Nike Air Jordan 1 was Michael Jordan’s first signature shoe. Jordan laced up the Air Jordan 1 during his rookie and injury-shortened sophomore season, and then again for his final game at Madison Square Garden as a Bull in 1998. In the early days, every time he wore the Nike Air Jordan 1 during a game, the NBA would fine him $5,000, furthering the mystique of his then-new shoes. The Nike Air Jordan was originally retroed in 1994 after Jordan announced his retirement from basketball for the first time.
The 1988 NBA Season was a massively successful year for Michael Jordan, winning the Slam Dunk Contest, All Star MVP, All-Defensive First Team and Defensive Player of the Year. All his success accomplished while wearing the Air Jordan III, one of the sneaker world's most famous silhouettes of all time. Originally released in '88, the III was the beginning of a sneaker legacy that we know and love today. Nike had parted ways with the designers of the AJI and II, leaving the door open for legendary sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield to step in forever altering MJ's sneaker line. Jordan was looking for a durable sneaker that was also lightweight, with that in mind Tinker and MJ were able to agree upon the III being the first ever midtop shoe in the collection. Tinker worked his magic even further replacing the wings logo with the forever iconic Jumpman logo and debuted the game changing elephant print overlays and visible Air Sole units, setting the III way above competition. The Air Jordan III was first retroed in 2001 in OG colorways 'Black Cement' and 'True Blue'.
The Air Jordan 4 was originally released in 1989, following the success of its predecessor, Tinker Hatfield and the IV quite literally had some difficult sneakers to fill. Would the masterminds be able to live up to one of the greatest Jordan’s and possibly sneakers ever made? Well, maybe not completely... but the Air Jordan 4 certainly picked up right where the 3I had left off. Back at the drawing board MJ and Tinker themed the shoe around "getting back to work", the two had felt the luxuriousness of the 3 and Jordan's new journey into parenthood and marriage meant it was time to refocus on the sneakers performance. The 4 was the first Jordan to feature a breathable mesh, but Tinker decided the mesh would come off as cheap so he dipped it in a soft plastic to give a premium feel. Another notable feature of the 4, an attribute nearly unheard of at the time, was the ability to lace up in 18 different combinations, allowing you to rock them with a personal touch. Sure the 4 had stiff competition with the 3, but it grew on people and remains a favorite to many. The 4 was first retroed in 1999 in the iconic 'Black Cement' colorway.
Most sneaker lines rarely ever make it past the first few models before trends change and they become old news, but the Air Jordan 5 originally released in 1990 continued the brands momentum as basketball sneakers every kid wanted. Designed by Tinker Hatfield once again, the V pulled signature attributes from previous models such as visible Air Sole units and plastic coated mesh side panels. New to the line and the most notable changes to the Air Jordan line comes from the V’s reflective tongue, zigzag teething rubber midsole inspired by World War II fighter jets, and the Transparent rubber midsole pulling inspiration from Marty McFly's sneakers in Back To The Future. The silhouette originally released in four unique colorways and saw its first retro appearance in 2000 in the OG 'Fire Red' colorway.
The Air Jordan VI was part of a defining season for Michael Jordan's career. Debuting in the 1990-91 season, Jordan wore the Air Jordan VI shoes for his first NBA championship, when the Bulls beat the Lakers in a five-game series. Jordan also took home another scoring title, his 5th, and won his second league MVP and first Finals MVP. The Air Jordan 6 was first retroed in 2000.
The beginning to a new three-peat. The Air Jordan XI was another Tinker Hatfield creation and was first released for the 1995-96 season. The Air Jordan XI is arguably the most famous and sought-after silhouette in the Jordan line. This sneaker saw the return of the clear rubber sole and became the first athletic shoe to feature patent leather. While wearing the Air Jordan XI, Michael Jordan led the Bulls to 72 regular season wins, won his fourth NBA title, and became the second player ever to win the MVP for the regular season and NBA Finals all in the same season. Jordan averaged 30.4 points per game and scored 40 or more points in nine games with the Air Jordan XI. For wearing a concord colorway during the playoffs, Michael Jordan was fined $5,000 twice. It didn't take long for the XI to become the fastest selling model in the Jordan line. The Air Jordan XI was first retroed in 2000-2001.
The start of a new brand, the Air Jordan XII released for the 1996-97 season and was designed by Tinker Hatfield. The upper of the silhouette was inspired by the Japanese Rising Sun flag and surprisingly, the Nike Swoosh was nowhere to be found. This was the last Air Jordan shoe to be released in a Nike box. While wearing the Air Jordan XII, Michael Jordan played the infamous ‘Flu Game’ and won his fifth NBA championship and fifth Finals MVP. The Air Jordan XII was first retroed in 2003.
Farewell to the GOAT! The Air Jordan 13 was the last shoe that Michael Jordan would lace up as a member of the Chicago Bulls. Released for the 1997-98 season and designed once again by legend Tinker Hatfield, the Air Jordan XIII is regarded as his best designed signature shoe. Tinker took inspiration from Jordan’s nickname “Black Cat” to create the look for the Air Jordan XIII. The outsole was made to resemble the paws of a panther and it's the first and only Air Jordan to feature a hologram. While wearing the Air Jordan XIII, Michael Jordan broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA record by scoring double-digits in 788 consecutive games. He also led the Bulls to the franchise’s sixth NBA Title and won himself his sixth Finals MVP. Being produced in China rather than Taiwan, the Air Jordan XIII fell victim to a plethora of fakes. The Air Jordan 13 was first retroed in 2004-05.
The most recent shoes from the Jordan Brand. The Air Jordan XXXI blends design aspects of the Air Jordan 1 with a modernized look. These shoes represent the first time that the Jumpman logo and Nike Swoosh appear on the same upper. A culmination of Jordan's decades-long pursuit of new performance-based innovations, the Air Jordan XXXI is ready to take the brand to new heights!
Air Jordan 32 is the latest offering from Jordan. While every game shoe from the brand brings in something new, the Air Jordan 32 soared to new heights with Jordan’s first-ever Flyknit construction. Comprised of high-tenacity yarn, the shoe seamlessly integrates Flyknit, Flight Speed and Zoom Air technology for the ultimate combination of stretch, support and zonal lockdown.
The Air Jordan Flyknit made its debut in the iconic Red/Black “Rossa Corsa” colorway in September 2017, followed by “Bred” colorway in October 2017 and Air Jordan XXXII MVP in January 2018, all priced at $185. Its release also marked the first time the brand released both a mid and low version of a shoe simultaneously.
With the introduction of Air Jordan XXXII, the AJ line continues its historic legacy of basketball shoes for performance and style. On and off the court - it’s all about wearing Js.
Jordan Retros are remade classics. Basically, they’re replicas of the original shoes. Jordan continually retros its most popular shoes from the Air Jordan line, so even if people can’t get their hands on the originals, they can still wear classic Air Jordan shoes.
There are currently 21 active NBA players signed with Jordan. These include stars like Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Kawhi Leonard, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony. This list also includes many role players.
Some other notable NBA talents sponsored by Jordan include Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Joe Johnson, Bismack Biyombo, Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller and Otto Porter Jr.
A pair of new men’s or women’s Jordans can range anywhere from roughly $70 to over $200. Kids shoes generally cost less. How much Jordans cost and what they’re worth are two different things, though. Collectors can spend thousands of dollars on rare special releases or vintage Jordans.
You’ll usually find the more expensive Jordans that collectors crave on the secondary market. Often these are limited releases or rare colorways. It’s that demand that drives the price up. If you’re looking for new Jordan shoes, it’s best to buy from an established retailer to get the best value.
Jordans typically do run slightly bigger compared to other brands, but it’s usually not enough to call for a half size up or down. Of course, a lot of this is up to personal sizing preference. If you wear a size ten Jordan 11, your size ten Jordan 12s should not run big.
Some collectors will go between sizes just because of a shoe’s availability, but this is not recommended, especially if you plan to walk a lot in the shoes or use them for basketball and other sports. It’s best to buy shoes that fit your feet precisely.
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