In 1985, Michael Jordan debuted the first pair of Air Jordan sneakers. They were designed by Nike’s lead designer Peter Moore to evoke a sense of space and time.
The sneaker pushed the boundaries of sports and style, and sparked a global culture that continues to thrive today. But while the AJ1 was revolutionary, it also had its share of controversy.
The Banned Story
In 1984, Nike designer Peter Moore sat down with Michael Jordan and created the Air Jordan 1. A Chicago Bulls-inspired black/red colorway was the result. However, the shoes were banned by the NBA for violating league dress regulations.
This wasn't the end of the story, though. On February 25, 1985, the NBA commissioner's office sent a letter to Jordan reminding him of his ban.
Fortunately for Mike, Nike's marketing team spun the controversy into gold and hyped the shoes as an act of rebellion, generating sales and making the "banned" Air Jordan 1 the most sought-after sneaker in history.
Then, in 2011, the Banned Story took another turn when Nike released a new "Banned" Air Jordan 1 at factory outlet stores, releasing before the usual come-ups. The new model's unorthodox launch signaled a major shift in the sneaker culture that shifted a novice shoe shop from hitting sale racks to chasing aftermarket hype.
An OG is a sneaker’s original release. For instance, the Air Jordan 1 “Bred” is an OG because it was the first shoe to hit the market.
It’s also the colorway that Jordan wore during his historic championship run in the ’96 Finals. The shoes were designed by Tinker Hatfield, who was inspired by West African patterns and colors.
The OG Breds feature a high-cut leather upper paired with scarlet overlays and a black signature Swoosh. A scuffed, vintage-pre-yellowed finish adds to their storied aesthetic.
As a result, they’re coveted by many sneakerheads today, and they’ve become an integral part of the Reps Airjordan collection. Nike and Virgil Abloh have remastered these classics in their most iconic designs yet, releasing a full range of sneakers in 2017 that’ll help you celebrate the Air Jordan’s legacy this season.
During the '96 NBA playoffs, Michael Jordan became the first player to wear the Air Jordan 1s in the iconic Bred colorway. While it was a controversial move for the league, the Breds would be MJ’s most popular shoe ever and are among the most beloved sneakers in history.
The Breds were a major part of Jordan’s success as he helped Chicago win an NBA title. And in an iconic photo of the game, he donned a pair of the signature black-and-red shoes with gold chains in a locker room.
But while they’re still available, MJ’s beloved pair hasn’t been seen in a game since 1986. That changed in 1994, when Nike dropped a pack of the Breds to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Air Jordan 1. And the story behind it is one that would become hundreds of times more memorable.
There’s no denying that the Air Jordan 1 re-energized sneakers, and it’s no secret that the OG model is a sneakerphile’s dream. As such, it’s no surprise that many designers have taken the opportunity to put their own stamp on the venerable white shoe. From Yeezy to Off-White and the latest iteration from Virgil Abloh, Chicago has a rich history in footwear innovation. It’s also home to one of the most stylish city squares in the world, and one of the hottest culinary scenes on the continent. And to top it all off, a lot of the best shoes in the game come from Chicagoans themselves. Whether you’re into the latest kicks, or just a regular ol’ retro, Chicago is definitely a destination worth putting on your bucket list.
The Air Jordan XII
The Air Jordan XII was an incredibly successful sneaker. It had a lot of tech, including lower foot air grilles, a double-overlasted Phylon midsole and a carbon fiber shank plate.
This model was a huge success for Nike and it helped Michael Jordan win his fifth NBA Championship. The shoe also helped to define the Chicago Bulls and its dynasty.
One of the best aspects of this sneaker was its mudguard which helped to keep traction on the court. The patent leather was a lightweight and did not stretch as much compared to genuine leather which helped with keeping the foot within the boundaries of the foot bed during directional changes on the court.