The Air Jordan 1 is many things at once: It’s the first signature shoe for the greatest basketball player ever, the sneaker that changed collecting forever, and a classic that evokes nostalgia and connects generations. It’s also the most popular sneaker of today, with hundreds of different versions produced in the past decade. This week, with all things Michael Jordan returning to the public consciousness thanks to The Last Dance, The Ringer will explore the AJ1’s history, the resale market it still dominates, and how Nike and Jordan Brand are positioning the model for the future.
There’s a story behind virtually every pair of Air Jordan 1s. The classic Bred colorway represents a young player becoming a national sensation; they’re the big bang for Michael Jordan as a marketing icon and much of what’s come to be known as “sneaker culture. ” The Shattered Backboards are modeled after the uniform he wore during a 1985 Italian exhibition game when he, well, shattered the backboard.
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