The Air Jordan revolution
Air Jordan 1: the origins of the biggest partnership between an athlete and a brand
In the early 80s, Michael Jordan was announced as the new NBA Rookie. Nike managed to conclude an agreement with Jordan and launched the Air Jordan 1 in 1985. The first sneaker of the Air Jordan line, it also set the tone for a new era in the world of sneakers and sports. The AJ1's adidas Forum High-inspired design, mixing red and black, challenged NBA convention and quickly became a symbol of rebellion, at least that's what Nike tells us. What's certain is that its impact today goes far beyond the basketball court, making it a pop culture icon embraced by fans of both sneakers and basketball.
AJ3, AJ4, AJ6 and AJ11
Following the agreement reached between the American basketball player and Nike, every year since 1985 they release a new pair of Jordan sneakers. Here's a quick overview of our favorite designs.
Introduced in 1988, the Air Jordan 3 is famous for several premieres: it was the first Air Jordan designed by Tinker Hatfield, the first to feature visible Air cushioning technology, and the first to bear the iconic Jumpman logo. Its elegant design, with quality leather and elephant print, set a milestone in sneaker design and still influences fashion today. The AJ3 is also said to be the shoe that saved the partnership between Nike and Jordan. Before discovering it, Michael Jordan wanted to end the previously signed contract.
Launched in 1989, the Air Jordan 4 is famous for its revolutionary design with holding wings and a ventilation grid. This sneaker was a key factor in the worldwide popularity of Air Jordans, notably thanks to its appearance in Spike Lee's film "Do The Right Thing". It remains a popular choice for limited editions and collaborations, such as the Air Jordan 4 Military Black or the Air Jordan 4 Off-White Sail.
The Air Jordan 6, released in 1991, is the shoe Michael Jordan won his first NBA title with. With a unique design, including a tongue with two holes allowing the shoe to be slipped on easily and a translucent sole, this sneaker combines comfort, style and a historical symbolism.
The Air Jordan 11, released in 1995, is famous for its signature futuristic look, with a patent leather upper and translucent sole. Designed for Michael Jordan's return to the court, this sneaker was an immediate success, both on the court and in pop culture, and even appeared in the movie "Space Jam".
Air Jordan heritage and influence
Each Air Jordan design has left its mark in both sneakers and pop culture. These shoes have transcended their status as sports equipment to become collectibles. Limited editions like the Air Jordan 4 SB Pine Green, collaborations with Travis Scott, Off-White, Union, and reissues of old colorways like the Air Jordan 1 High Lost And Found helps the brand to stay relevant.