24 Feb Style Recommendation: Air Jordan 1 – The Legacy
Not many sneakers have the privilege of being considered the literal stepping point in someone’s career. Sure, there have been countless athletes who have slapped their name on a pair of shoes, but not many have had the staying-power and notoriety to exist 30 years past their creation.
Enter a young Michael Jordan. He’s just won the national title at UNC and managed to help bring the U.S. another gold medal at the summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. If that’s not enough, he gets drafted third overall by the Chicago Bulls, who in time will become one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history. So of course Nike does what they do best and sign the young rookie to a 5-year endorsement contract for a cool $2.5 million.
In 1985, designer Peter Moore was tasked with creating MJ’s first signature line of sneakers. This is where the Air Jordan 1 was born. It featured the huge Nike swoosh on the mid panel and the iconic wings logo on the upper ankle. The shoe also had a Nike Air unit for heel cushioning, padded ankle collars, and toe overlay for support.
What the Air Jordan 1 lacked in technology, it made up for in style and influence. It was one of the first basketball sneakers to incorporate truly unique color palettes into its design and also the first to be met with high controversy. The original colorway (black/red) that was made for Jordan to wear while playing with the Bulls was outlawed by commissioner David Stern for its lack of white, which was the standard back then. Of course Nike was more than happy to pay the $5,000 fine MJ was charged every game he wore the shoes.
These shoes, much like Jordan, ushered in a new wave of style for the NBA. The game was getting more technical and flashy, which was clearly represented through the Air Jordan 1’s. They saw MJ through his rookie season, where he brought the Bulls to their first playoff berth in 4 years. They were even there when he played his first All-Star game as a rookie, when he took home the rookie of the year title, and when he scored 63 points against the Celtics in the ’86 playoffs. The 1’s have seen more fame and accolades in several years than some players see their whole career.
But, like life, things evolve. Basketball sneakers became more streamlined with better technology, and the 1’s were quietly phased out of the game. Today many players have their own signature line of shoes, but people haven’t forgotten the one that really started it all. Every so often I’ll catch someone walking down the street with a fresh new pair of Jordan Retro 1’s in a colorway I’ve never seen before, and I get hyped. There’s just something about the simplistic and clean nature of the design juxtaposed with the crazy color combinations that have given this shoe a place in today’s pop culture.
The first pair I ever owned was a White/Black/Royal Blue colorway with a mesh mid panel. I’m not usually into high tops, but I loved these shoes so much I couldn’t give them up until I wore the soles down to nothing. Now you have the option to choose between low, mid, and high tops, but do yourself a favor and go with the highs. They’re a really great cold weather sneaker, and super comfortable for walking around for long periods of time. Also, they’ve got almost endless color combinations and patterns so there’s no chance you won’t find what you’re looking for.
Right now I’m anticipating a fresh batch of Jordan 1 Retro High OG’s being released on May 30, 2015. They haven’t been in production since 2012, but they have been sorely missed. They have a serious nostalgic effect, being as closely based off of MJ’s original pair as possible. Its got the classic Bulls themed colorway, and a slightly higher cuff on the ankle than the current Retro models. Let’s just say I’ll be saving up some cash on the side for these bad boys.