If you’re a “sneakerhead,” it is unlikely you haven’t heard of the Nike Air Jordan. Technically, they are supposed to be basketball shoes, but their attractive design and remarkable comfort level have extended their reach further than the courts. These Nike subsidiary shoes can be seen from sports fields to streets, dancefloors, and imaginable places.
The first Nike Air Jordan, the Air Jordan 1, changed the industry from the day of its release in 1985. These illustrious shoes beloved by celebrities, athletes, and everyone else alike has a long and interesting history of their coming into existence.
These Shoes have a Remarkable History behind Them
These sneakers were the creation of none other than the NBA legend Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan, also known as MJ, is, without doubt, the greatest basketball player of all time. ESPN selected him as the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century. He holds more records in basketball than any other player. But success in the court isn’t the only thing he achieved. Michael Jordan’s name is the main reason why these shoes gained so much popularity.
Jordan named the brand after his nickname. He was an excellent leaper, and his ability to leap had earned him the nickname ‘Air Jordan.’ Thus, the shoe ended up being called Air Jordan.
Nike wasn’t Jordan’s first choice. Jordan initially wanted to release his Air Jordan design with Adidas, but they refused, saying they couldn’t make a shoe work at the time. That is how Jordan ended up going to Nike instead.
The first Air Jordan was exclusively made for Michael Jordan himself in 1984. It was during the time he was playing with the Chicago Bulls. This design was made by Peter b. Moore and released publicly in 1985. Owing to the success of the Air Jordan 1, Nike released the Air Jordan II in 1986, and the rest is history.
The Air Jordan I Transformed the Sneakers Culture Entirely
The sneakers industry traces long before Jordan came into the picture, going as far back as the 70s. But back in the 70s and 80s, sneakers didn’t look like what they do today. They looked much more traditional, but the Jordan design featured a sleek and modern look.
The AJ I had a black and red color combination with a white stripe, which was not seen before. It also had additional ankle support, tractions, and air pockets.
These new shoes became what all subsequent basketballs shoes would be modeled after. But more than that, they became more than just fancy streetwear. People looked to them as symbols for self-expression, showing who they truly were, and being comfortable in their own shoes. The fact that they were Michael Jordan’s shoes made them even more meaningful for people to wear. People feel special wearing the AJs.
From Rihanna to Bella Hadid and Spike Lee- celebrities keep the AJ culture alive and thriving. Watching celebrities wear them has increased their popularity even more in today’s world. The privilege people feel when buying the AJs is unmatched by any other shoes or even other items of clothing.
Michael Rapaport, the executive producer of Jordan Heads, said about the AJ culture ‘’Just like Coca-Cola, NBC, or Dove Soap, they’re something you hear about and see to the point that you often don’t even realize it.’’
Netflix’s documentary series ‘The Last Dance’ featured MJ’s life and narrated facts about the Jordan Shoes. These put these spectacles back into the spotlight once again.
Their Designs and Manufacturing Are Not Something You Find Everywhere
Another interesting fact about the Jordan shoes is that their designs are something truly unique. Take, for instance, the Air Jordan 3. It was the first mid-cut basketball sneaker ever created. Take, for instance, the Air Jordan 3 design. It made the Air unit visible and included the iconic Jumpback symbol, which ended up as the brand’s official logo.
The Brown Jordan 1, released recently on 10th March 2021, has a truly unique design of its own. The brown shade gives it a military vibe. Plus, it also has a vintage, retro look. Coupled with the metallic shade and its air technology design for extra comfort, it is no doubt it got so much hype in the market. People having issues such as foot pain also tend to buy the Air Jordans because of their added foot comfort and cushioning.
Jordans are expensive, and they cost much higher than an average basketball shoe. But given their relative value compared to other products in the market, it is much more economical. And given the comfort the wearer gets from them as well as the prestige culture associated with them, they remain popular.
They tend to use more material than an average shoe does, and that, too, is of high quality. They have upper made of supreme quality leather as well as using grain calfskin. They are manufactured in the best factories with the best materials, which add to their quality. It is more durable than other shoes and will last much longer. This perfect blend of comfort and design is not what many can offer.
The Air Jordans were also the first shoes to use Patent leather for a basketball shoe. That was done on the suggestion of Michael Jordan himself, who wanted these shoes to go well with a suit as well.
Some of the best Air Jordans also have an Air-Sole, which includes air trapped in the forefoot for support. The Offset ankle collar makes the shoes more flexible and supportive of the movement. The Jordan 1 Chicago, the Jordan 3 Black Cement, and the Jordan 5 Fire Red were some of the most impressive and most popular Jordan sneakers that included these features.
The brand further continues to release more innovative designs and markets its products to a diverse audience. They offer an extremely wide variety of colors, designs, and sizes which are also customizable. This makes them appeal to a wide range of audiences. Their women’s and unisex designs made them popular with that market.
Nike Keeps Reselling Its Old Designs
Another interesting fact about Jordan Shoes is that they have high reselling prices. Nike rereleases its old designs, sometimes with a newer twist for people to buy. Although reselling retros is something many other brands do, when it comes to Air Jordans, they take the world by storm.
When released, their prices also tend to go much higher. You can buy retros worth $2,000 or more! The prices reaching these heights make them even more appealing to people, especially the affluent class.
People think of it as a privilege to buy these retro designs. For instance, the Air Jordan I was customized for Michael Jordan himself, and when people bought its retros, they felt as if they were paying homage to the man himself.
Nike also often releases limited edition shoes, giving them a sense of royalty. The fact that these are limited editions prompts people to buy them even more and with a sense of urgency before they sell out. You can even find some people waiting outside of the shop on release day, immediately getting their hands on the pair of shoes the moment it releases.
Take, for instance, the retro design Air Jordan 5 Retro ‘Raging Bull’ released in 2021. It was originally released in 2009 and resold in 2021 for $190. The shoe paid homage to the Chicago Bulls and has an eye-catching contrast of varsity red with black.
The Retro design Air Jordan 1 University blue also sold for around $500 and retailed for $170. The Jordan 1 Chicago is one of the best Jordan Shoes of all time and was released in 1985, 1994, 2013, and then 2015. With its contrast of white and Varsity Red, it became one of the most common designs for many basketball lovers and sneakers fans.
The Air Jordans Offer Amazing Marketing Strategies, Contributing to Their Popularity
Nike doesn’t overload the market with a large number of releases at the same time. Not since 2017, at least. In 2017, Nike saw its sales plummet when it released as many as 30 different designs in the same year. With the market oversaturated, the company found itself falling behind its competitors as Adidas overtook them with its sales.
In an attempt to win back consumers, Nike CEO Mark Parker worked to reduce their 350 different designs to just 50. This strategy was a success as Nike saw itself winning back its spot on the market in 2018. In fact, the Concord 11 Retro release in 2018 was Nike’s most successful release ever.
Nike also manages to stay connected to its young consumers with innovative strategies. The collaboration with the rapper Travis Scott emerged as a successful one. The Travis Scott Air Jordan lineup in 2021 had designs that appealed to many of their younger consumers. The Travis Scott Air Jordan 1 earned profits as high as $1,000. The UNC Obsidian Blue with a black and white combo is definitely a sight to behold.
Nike also has a unique design for all its shoes. Many times, when this unique design is released for a limited time, people don’t want to miss out on it. Many want to add exclusive designs to their collection. Many designs have high historical significance, such as paying homage to the Chicago Bulls with their color schemes, which makes them collectible items for many Jordan heads.
The legacy of Michael Jordan stays alive through these sneakers, along with his achievement in basketball. The sneakers aren’t’ just some ordinary ones. Their extraordinary standards aren’t solely because of their ingenious designs or quality either. They hold a cultural heritage like none other and carry with them a part of history itself.