Everyone has seen a pair of AJs, even if they thought they didn’t. These iconic designs have made their way into so many pieces of media, music videos, films, adverts that they became a vital part of modern western culture.
A great example of being this vital part is just a picture of the Air Jordan 1s. These are probably the most popular shoes in the world, and the best-selling shoes of all time. They are immediately recognisable by their simple and timeless design, unique colour schemes and by their transparency, they are not trying to hide, they show from the first sight that they are shoes, to be worn on and off the court, to be worn with everything, a basketball jersey, a suit, possibilities are endless. The traditional ‘Chicago’ colour scheme is made of mainly white on the toe box, quarter, tongue and midsole, red on the tip, mudguard, heel and eye stays as well as black for the laces and Nike ‘Swoosh’. This 3-colour design is by far the most popular, and when asked about the Air Jordan 1s, most people would think of this colour scheme.
Another quite iconic piece of the Air Jordan line is the Air Jordan 3 ‘Knicks’. They were made to celebrate the Michael Jordan vs Patrick Ewing rivalry of 1988. The shoe is designed to be reminiscent of the New York Knicks jersey, the team Ewing played for in 88’. The most striking design element is the elephant print on the heel, tip and on parts around the laces. The rest of the shoe, the toe box, quarter, tongue, collar, laces are all white with the inside of the shoe being blue, and midsole in orange. It is definitely different to make a shoe in the design of a rival team, but here it created an iconic shoe which shares a bit of history every time it is worn.
Lastly, the Air Jordan 11 ‘Space Jam’. Made in 1995 they were to be worn by Michael Jordan in the 96’ Space Jam film which later became a box office hit grossing 250 million dollars worldwide. No doubt the success of the movie led to the shoe being quite difficult to obtain with every re-release. The shoe’s design is quite exquisite. All black with only the sole being in white and a blue ‘Jumpman’ logo on the collar. Interestingly, the bottom half of the shoe, in between the laces and the sole, is coated with a rigid polymer called patent leather. This was revolutionary as this was the first time a basketball shoe featured this material. The 11s were also the first release after MJ’s return from retirement which proved he could create the same damage on the court but also muster up top class designs that attracted fans worldwide.
It seems with each and every generation, the Air Jordans stay relevant, every new or retro drop fills fans with excitement and it also seems that this will not change for some time.
Authored by guest writer Szymon Pilas.