One of the most revered silhouettes in the game, the Air Jordan 1 is iconic for a slew of reasons. Aside from being the first release in what became the most coveted series in sneaker history, its nostalgic Bulls-inspired colorway also caused a ton of commotion on and off court. Appealing to basketball fans and sneaker aficionados alike, the combination of athlete endorsement, heritage, and wearablity have resulted in the sneaker’s timeless status. Following from 2013’s retro release, the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “Chicago” return to the lime light for 2015 summer. Coinciding with Jordan Brand’s 30th anniversary this year, the label has remastered the sneaker in all its OG, premium glory. In light of this past weekend’s release, we share 8 things you ought to know about the Air Jordan.
The Air Jordan 1 Retro High “Chicago” Has Only Been Released Four Times
This year will be the fourth time the Air Jordan 1 Retro High “Chicago” hit the retailers. After debuting in 1985, the sneakers retroed the first time in 1994, before returning to the market again in 2013. This rendition was constructed a little different, with additional Jumpman emblem on both its tongue and heel. Celebrating 30 years of Jordan Brand, this year’s design harks back to the traditional getup. This leaves 2013’s release as the only model to feature the 1988-debuted Jumpman logo.
The Air Jordan 1 Retro High “Chicago” 2015 Will Not Come Factory Laced
The original 1985 run was released unlaced. Serving to mimic the OG presentation as close as possible, the 2015 release will also be unlaced and packaged in a retro shoe box. While some may see this to be irrelevant, sneaker enthusiasts will appreciate the unique touch. The sneakers come with three pairs of laces in total — red, black and white — giving wearers different styling options.
The Air Jordan 1 Was Designed by the Same Man Who Designed adidas’ “Three Bars” Logo
While Tinker Hatfield has received his share of credit for working with Michael Jordan from the Air Jordan 3 onwards, Peter Moore deserves daps for creating the first Jordan. With more than 30 years experience in the sportswear industry, Moore has served as Creative Director of Nike Inc., while also co-founded adidas America, Inc. where he designed the iconic “Three Bars” logo. During his time at Nike, Moore headed the Air Jordan concept during the mid ‘80s before he left to start his own marketing company in Portland named Sports Inc.
The Ball-And-Wings Logo Was Designed on a Napkin During a Flight From Portland to Chicago
The then Nike Creative Director Peter Moore designed the ball-and-wings logo for the Air Jordan 1 on a napkin after he noticed a kid wearing a pair of replica pilot wings gifted to him by the airline. This struck a cord, sparking the idea to connect flight with Mike’s supernatural ability on court.
The Air Jordan 1 was Sold at $20 USD in 1985 (the relative value of $44 USD today)
The Air Jordan 1 originally sold at $65 USD in 1985 (the relative value of $145 USD today) and was flipped for $100 USD (the relative value of $220 USD today) by early resellers. To combat its popularity, Nike flooded the market with the model. In turn, the sneakers became widely available, thus appearing on clearance shelves for $20 USD a pair. The sneaker took another plummet when it was retroed in 1994 due to Jordan’s abrupt retirement in the 1993 – 1994 NBA season. Consequently, the Air Jordan 2 and the Air Jordan 3 were also effected, making their way to the clear-out racks.
The Air Jordan 1 Quickly Became a Staple Skateboarding Shoe Upon Release
The Air Jordan 1 gained a rebellious reputation after the ”Breds” were banned from the NBA. The outcast sensibility associated with the shoe — coupled with its affordable price — quickly gained traction in the skateboarding world. Bringing the sneakers from the hardwood to the board, skaters adhered to the sneakers’ performance features: protective vamp, sole cushioning, and ankle support. The leather panels also made the shoes more durable compared to the typical canvas-built skate shoes available at the time.
Michael Jordan Didn’t Like the Air Jordan 1 at First
When Jordan was first shown sketches to his signature Nike shoe, he said “I can’t wear that shoe. Those are the devil colors.” The former University of North Carolina player didn’t mean Satan in his reference, rather, the colorway of his college rivals at the time; North Carolina State University.
The Air Jordan 1 “Bred” Was Banned From the NBA
According to sources, the black and red colorway to the Air Jordan 1 was banned from the NBA by commissioner David Stern who said there wasn’t enough white on the sneakers. Apparently, Michael Jordan wore the shoes anyway, leading up to him being fined $5,000 USD every time he stepped on court with them on. Nike used this as a promotional tip in advertisements, suggesting the shoes gave an outlaw and competitive advantage. Others retort this notion, condemning the “banned” campaign as nothing but a big marketing bluff. Sole Collector goes as far to argue that Michael Jordan never set foot on court wearing “Breds,” as the only time he’s seen wearing the controversial sneakers were during press conferences and photo shoots.