Release: Saturday, May 30
Color: White/Black-Varsity Red
In 1984 the world was a black and white place. That is, the world of professional basketball and the color landscape of the sneakers worn by the players existed in a palette of just two tones. Ever since the creation of the NBA, the look of the sneakers players wore were either black or white, with maybe a stripe matching the team's jersey. But that was about to change, for 1985 was the year the first Air Jordan sneaker debuted and changed the culture of athletic footwear forever.
Fresh off a gold medal performance with Team USA and a national championship at the University of North Carolina, Michael Jordan was a hot commodity when the Chicago Bulls selected him with the third pick in the 1984 NBA draft. He subsequently signed a five year endorsement deal with Nike. They planned on making him the face of their fledgling company, building a marketing campaign around his high flying style of play and charismatic personality, and they needed brand new signature sneaker for him that would be as innovative as his game.
It was going to be a big risk to say the least. Michael Jordan was not yet MICHAEL JORDAN, and Nike was betting the future of the company on an exciting but still unproven rookie. They needed a shoe that would be as different from all the other sneakers on the market as Michael was different from every other player on the court. Designer Peter Moore was tasked with creating this shoe. Basing his design on the Air Ship, the shoe Michael wore during his first season in 1984, Moore created one of the most iconic silhouettes of all time. Taking basically the same sole and toebox as the Ship, Moore added fixed straps to the forefoot and ankle for more stability, a heel cup for extra support, padded ankle collars for a more comfortable fit, and a brand new custom logo featuring a winged basketball with the words "Air Jordan" written above it.
While lacking the technological advances that would become a hallmark of Brand Jordan, they featured the same air unit in the heel as the Air Ship, the aesthetic innovation was truly revelatory. At the time the Air Jordan came out, all other sneakers worn in the NBA were either all black, all white, or white with one accent color that matched the uniforms. Moore decided to throw convention out the window and release the Air Jordan in a wide variety of color combinations. The original version came in white, black, and red, a heretofore unprecedented combination of colors on an athletic shoe. They looked unlike any other sneaker on the court. It was a loud and clear proclamation that the old rules did not apply anymore: Air Jordans were not your father's basketball shoe. It was a new wave in sneaker design and set the stage for the wild and multi-hued designs that are commonplace today. This sneaker truly was a game changer.
Now, on the 30th anniversary of its debut, the original Air Jordan 1 is back. The Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG "Chicago" is the classic white/black-varsity red colorway that started it all. Featuring the Air Jordan "Wings" logo and a nylon mesh tongue with Nike Air tag, these sneakers are identical to the ones that shook up the world and established Nike as the premier sportswear brand that it has become today. Simply put, they are the most important sneakers ever made. Grab your pair this Saturday, and own a piece of the past that held the key to the future.