Only rarely would any sane man pay over $200 for a pair of shoes that were not imported from Italy and made from ancient leather. But what would you say if I told you that some people do this every week and blow an entire paycheck on gym shoes alone? You would say those people are obsessed with playing basketball, but then I’d tell you that they were just buying Air Jordans and you’d come to your senses and go out and buy the next new pair valued over $300.
For nearly 25 years now, Michael Jordan has had his name imprinted on these shoes. Beginning in 1984 in Jordan’s first year out of college, Nike knew they had struck quite the deal when they signed MJ to endorse their new pair of basketball sneakers. Little did they know that they had just signed a deal with the greatest player in basketball history and that their shoes would be breaking the bank for decades to come.
It is 2010 now and the 25th anniversary pair of Air Jordan’s are due to come out within the next week. But first, let us see where it all began.
Air Jordan 1
First released in March of 1985. When Jordan brought these out for the first time they were banned by the NBA. Apparently the red and black were not a part of the color scheme of NBA regulation sneakers, but little did the management know that they would soon be worshiping the player wearing them as somebody finally made the NBA something worth watching and talking about.
Air Jordan 2
Not exactly the most eye-popping of the Jordan brand, but he averaged 37 points per game and won his first dunk contest in these bad boys. Buying these shoes will not allow you to jump higher than usual, but you’ll certainly feel a spring in your step (it might come from being 2 bills lighter, but none the less.)
Air Jordan 3
A somewhat similar design to that of the II’s and another fantastic season for Jordan and Nike. While Jordan won his first MVP and another slam dunk contest, Nike was cashing in on the success of these shoes, as the Sneakerheads finally began to emerge,. and buy these shoes by the crate full. If anyone saved them they’re worth serious wood today!
Air Jordan 4
Alright, what the hell just happened? The Jordan brand just went from 0-60 in the span of a year as we now see netting, straps, and the face of Mars Blackmon on the back of the shoe. No complaints from here though as these sneakers look just amazing. The Mars Blackmon emblem was an idea from Spike Lee who not only was featured in the commercials endorsing the shoes, but also directed movies that showed of the shoe as well.
Air Jordan 5
Let’s take it in a different direction shall we? The Five’s are some of the most popular brand of Jordan’s today, as the heads at Nike seem to be going in a different direction again with this one. The design is said to be that of the World War II Mustang planes mostly because of the unique design on the midsole of the sneakers. No doubt about it though, these shoes are progressively getting better.
Air Jordan 6
Just to give you perspective on how much Nike banks on these shoes. The shoes above are valued at $800. Some people work an entire month couldn’t afford these. Once again we see Jordan brand going off into another direction with a number of designs all over the shoe. In fact, if you look at it in the right light and direction, you can see the number 23. Jordan’s first championship came in these shoes as well.
Air Jordan 7
Met with criticism due to the new design, the Jordan 7’s are no doubt a classic. They were re-released recently and were met with high regards from the millions of sneakerheads around the globe insatiably buying them up. MJ won his second championship and was a part of the 1992 USA Dream Team while wearing these shoes. A unique fact about the Olympic edition of the 7’s is that there is a number nine on the back and not a 23 which had been on all the previous shoes. The nine represented Jordan’s number while a part of the Dream Team.
Air Jordan 8
It got a little strange with the eight’s. The design was so much more different from the others that nobody knew what to say. It did win Jordan his third consecutive championship and the shoes were a success then and now with the re-release. The straps were new, and as was the distinct collage of colors on not only the sole of the shoe, but the midsole. It’s also interesting to point out that because of the padding of the inside, it made your foot warmer than usual. Jordan got many athlete’s foot infections over the course of the year possibly due to the shoe. I think Nike was just trying to make it fair for everyone else in the league.
Air Jordan 9
Looks like the designers at Nike decided to stop tripping acid and get simple again. There is not too much to say about the shoe as Jordan’s from this point got a lot simpler from that of the Jordan 4’s to Jordan 8’s. The release of these sneakers came out a few months before Jordan’s retirement to play baseball which sent the NBA and its fans into a tizzy. It’s remarkable how much this design has inspired so many of the designs you see on sneaker racks today. It may very well have been far too before it’s time
Air Jordan 10
The design of the shoes are so simple, that it’s actually quite beautiful. Nike released five of these shoes for five different teams in the NBA including the Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, and Seattle Supersonics in their respective colors. It was also later in the year that MJ broke out the #45 in his return to the hardwood and back to doing what he did best: playing basketball.
Air Jordan 11
Like I said before, the Jordan’s got a lot simpler. It’s mostly what Jordan did in these shoes that raised eyebrows. He managed to lead his team to a championship, an NBA record 72 wins, and an all-star game all one year removed from coming back to the NBA. Also what I stated before, the Jordan brand will certainly make you look cool, but there’s no proof of the average human being able to complete such a feat that Michael has done for his career.
Air Jordan 12
A fairly interesting design by Nike, this was the first Jordan that actually was a part of the Jordan Brand collection by itself. The previous eleven were all strictly owned by Nike. The design was inspired by Japan’s rising sun. It is not clear in the specific shoes above, but the red and white sneakers clearly show where the idea come from. Jordan won another championship in these shoes, so nothings changed as MJ was still kicking ass and taking names.
Air Jordan 13
They say this one was inspired by a panther, but I think they’re just reaching for comparisons now. There are holograms on each shoe that feature a basketball, the number 23, and the ever popular “Jumpman” logo. These shoes were the last Jordan’s to see an NBA championship by MJ and it would be the next year that we would see Jordan retire for the second time. Panther? Nah. But Cougars Love them!
Air Jordan 14
It’s at this point the designers at Nike decided you know what, I want the opening of this sneaker to look like a vagina, and there you go. The next two Jordan’s feature exceedingly long back ends while the front is sleeker and as I originally thought when I first saw the sneaker, it was modeled after the Ferrari which not only answers the question of why the unique design, but also why the opening of this shoe resembles a vagina.
Air Jordan 15
I think they went a little overboard on this one. These are regarded by many as the ugliest Jordan’s to date and you can do nothing but agree. These shoes are “Fugly” and it’s doubly disappointing considering that we’re used to the Jordan brand putting out some of the nicest sneakers in the game. There isn’t much else to say because of the bland design and the ridiculous looking opening at the top. I’m sure many hoped there would be an improvement after this atrocity.
Air Jordan 16
Well we certainly got something different, it’s An improvement . . . which is not saying a lot considering, but I have one question “Where the hell are the laces?” Although folks were happy to get away from the previous incarnation, this design was universally panned as well. Many felt it looked as if this shoe was wearing a poncho. Overall though it is a nice performance sneaker and was a huge step up from the 15’s.
Air Jordan 17
This was modeled supposedly after an Aston Martin, the flow of Jazz, and the innovation of the Jordan history. I just say who cares, give me the shoe. The design is interesting, and unique, which is a plus, but there is just so much going on in one shoe. This was by far the most expensive Jordan shoe to date at an MSRP of $249.00 on release day. It also came in a metal box, and packaged with a CD. This shoe was special though because of the fact that Michael Jordan had returned to the court for his final bow. Joining the Washington Wizards and proving that even at 40, you can still beat up on little kids.
Air Jordan 18
This shoe just puts me to sleep. It’s a very simple design and while simplicity works in some aspects as we have seen a number of times from Jordan brand, but this one just gets too simple. It’s at this point where we see a new head designer as well and starting off like this isn’t exactly getting off on the right foot. It is different, but they needed to go a little more all out on this shoe. This was also the last shoe Michael Jordan wore on the court as he retired for the last time.
Air Jordan 19
Very similar to the 16’s, these Jordan’s also featured the strange netting on the front and not laces. It’s definitely a step up from the 18’s as they went from too simple to just enough. While the shoe on the outside wasn’t as appealing as many others, it was when you wore it that mattered. These were the lightest and most supported shoes of any of the sneakers and were widely endorsed by new members of Team Jordan since the great one’s retirement. It now becomes prominent to see NBA players wearing the sneakers.
Air Jordan 20
I remember the day these came out – everyone was jonsing for them, totally craving them. Easily one of my favorite sneakers of Jordan brand, the design was so much more different from the others that it just struck me. We also saw the previous designer that had done the previous shoes before the 18’s. The strap provided ankle support and the designs on the cover were phenomenal. It’s easily one of the best shoes of the second half of the Jordan brand and left a lot of expectations of what was to come.
Air Jordan 21
A new designer is clear in this one as we see something completely different from the previous sneakers that came out. The inspiration is supposed to be that of the Bentley Continental GT which you can somewhat see midsole when you compare it with the grill of the Bentley, but otherwise else all I see is a shoe. It’s a sleeker look that the earlier Jordan’s, which by this time were considered quite retro, in demand and extremely valuable!
Air Jordan 22
It was said that the inspiration here was the famous “Air Supremacy” Stealth Strike Fighter the F-22 Raptor jet. I think you can see this especially at the base, as where the rubber hits the road is a stealthy gray and if you look quick can almost give the wearer a bit of a “Floating” look. This is a fantastic basketball shoe as the sole really allows you to stick to the ground which speaks volumes of Sneakerheads and their ability to understand that sometimes Jordans were meant to ball in and not just to show off ballin’.
Air Jordan 23
This shoe is..ummm..different? The style is so strange that I don’t even know what to say. It is considered to be the most comfortable of all the Jordan’s, but the design is so weird that it takes a lot away from it. It is easily the most unique of any of the Jordan’s and doesn’t even look like it would be made by Nike. There’s a thumb print of Michael’s on the tongue which is nice, but otherwise else this shoe just freaks me out. Very alien and area 51 inspired – even in color!
Air Jordan 24
The most recent of the released Air Jordan’s, it was viewed as “Nothing Special”, likely because the anticipation surrounding the 25th release. Upon a closer inspection though it’s a very handsome and high performance addition. Had it been in the mid teens it likely would have enjoyed for more attention and popularity.
THE NEW JORDAN ICONS
Jordan Icons’ flexible, full-length sculpted Phylon midsole with dynamic pillars delivers responsive cushioning, while its aggressive multi-dimensional herringbone outsole bites into the hardwood for ruthless traction. Hidden messages on Jordan Icons’ midsole give insight into MJ’s mastery of the game, while outsole symbols represent 20 memorable moments in his tremendous career.