The Nike Air Jordan 1 is undoubtedly the most recognizable sneaker in history. The Air Jordan 1 Silhouette is considered by many as the ‘King’ of sneakers, and it’s not going to be knocked of its pedestal anytime soon.
SOURCE: RINGER ILLUSTRATION
NIKE’S 1984 LETTER TO INVESTORS
1984, the year of the Band-Aid, Apple’s Macintosh Super Bowl advertisement and the year that Nike’s CEO, Phil Knight, addressed his shareholders with the words, “1984 was a tough year… We believe we can and will do better.”
That year, after nearly losing him to Adidas and Converse, Nike signed Michael Jordan for an upfront commitment of US$250,000 and, of course, his own sneaker line.
Nike initially projected sales of his line to reach US$3 million after his four-year term. In the first year alone, Nike would sell US$126 million worth of the Nike Air Jordan 1 – almost solely because of Michael Jordan’s name and reputation.
AIR JORDAN 1 1985 COMMERCIAL ‘Takeoff’
Despite the initial success of the Air Jordan 1, many roadblocks were faced. Due to the initial reselling of the silhouette, Nike aimed to combat this by mass releasing the pair. Although this solved their reselling problems, it led to a wide availability of the sneaker pushing it to outlets for as cheap as US$20 per pair.
10 years after the initial release, Nike re-released the Jordan 1 to reignite the popularity of the sneaker from its original days. This failed, as well as the return in 2001.
In 2004, following Michael Jordan’s retirement in 2003, Nike officially retired the Air Jordan 1. Although, it was re-released again in 2007, introducing us to the modern day Air Jordan 1.
THE MODERN AIR JORDAN 1
Today, The Air Jordan 1 continues to be the ‘King’ of sneakers, popular in its low, mid and high variations.
The sneaker, to this day, continues to sell out almost instantly, and its popularity seems to grow more year-by-year. In 2022 alone, Nike will release well over 100 different colourways.
Although the Mid and Low variations have seen major success over the past 2 years, the Retro High will always be the most sought after by collectors and MJ lovers, as it has been for almost 40 years.
MOST EXPENSIVE AIR JORDAN 1 SALES IN HISTORY
4. Air Jordan 1 Chicago Broken Foot - US$422,000
It isn’t just moments of glory that add value to Jordans. Value can also come from tragedy. In October of 1985, Michael Jordan suffered his first major injury while playing against the Golden State Warriors. In a series of unfortunate events, MJ fractured a bone in his left foot, causing him to miss a majority of the season. The Air Jordan 1 Chicago's that Jordan wore in his final game of 1985 made their way to the auction block earlier this year and went for a pretty penny, closing at $422K.
3. Air Jordan 1 Chicago (Game Worn & Autographed) - US$560,000
When the original Air Jordan surfaced in 1984, Michael Jordan transitioned from being known only as a professional basketball player to a cultural icon. The design introduced MJ’s celebrity to audiences outside of basketball, as the sneakers inhabited spaces across the world.
In 2020, the design’s historical value was validated when a game-worn pair of Air Jordan 1s auctioned off at Sotheby’s for over half a million dollars, breaking the Nike Waffle Moon Shoes’ record for most expensive sneaker in history at that point.
2. Air Jordan 1 Chicago (Game Worn Shattered Backboard) - US$610,000
The pair was auctioned off for $610K, shattering the record held by yet another pair of Jordan 1 Chicagos. It has been said that the pair even has bits of glass embedded in it – a physical reminder of that momentous event .
1. Air Jordan 1 Chicago Dunk Sole - US$1,012,500
In addition to the ankle strap modifications Nike made to the Air Jordan 1 following Michael Jordan’s foot injury in the fall of 1985, they also began experimenting with different soles on the Air Jordan 1 to see what MJ performed best in. One of those modifications resulted in an Air Jordan 1 with the sole of a Nike Dunk. Only a few prototypes were made, and one of them was auctioned off in February of 2022 for a whopping price of $1,012,500, becoming the most expensive Air Jordan in history and the first Air Jordan to break the million-dollar mark.
SOURCE: HERITAGE AUCTIONS
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