The 8 Best Air Jordans of All Time

The 8 Best Air Jordans of All Time

Categories: Design and Architecture | Fashion | People | Society | Sport | World

It was 1984 and Nike, a struggling sneaker supplier at the time (crazy, right?), was looking to rebrand itself as a popular sports label. Jordan, new to the Chicago Bulls and the hottest player in the area, seemed like the right person to start a shoe line. It was a slam dunk on paper, but he initially ditched the Swoosh in favor of Adidas. He also tried to approach Converse, the manufacturer of his sneakers at the time, but none of them could match what Nike had to offer. It was a steep $2 million contract, an astronomical record for the 80s. This also caused some controversy; The red and black Air Ship shoes Jordan originally wore in 1985 were against NBA rules.

However, MJ and Nike continued to work on the Air Jordan line. This revolutionized not only marketing in general, but shoe design as well. Talents such as Peter Moore and Tinker Hatfield have been constantly introducing new styles to the collection under Jordan's direction, changing silhouettes, colors, and materials over the years. There are currently 35 Air Jordan models on the market. Simply choose your Nike Air Jordan at nike-air-jordan1.com, each with its own limited edition reissues and collaborations. Indeed, there are a lot of players, and, as with any team, some just shine brighter than others. Below, we've rounded up 8 of the best Jordan shoes - all different, all pushing the boundaries, and all legendary.

8 PHOTOS

The 8 Best Air Jordans of All Time

1. Here it is guys: The one that started it all. You could argue all day about which sneaker has the most claim to create sneaker culture as we know it today, but unless that argument is heavily focused on the Air Jordan I, you're doing something wrong. From the then-revolutionary air cushion to the winged logo symbolizing the high-flying rookie, the AJ1 continues to be a collector's item.

The 8 Best Air Jordans of All Time

2. Yes, the Jordan I is hard to beat, but the Air Jordan III is definitely close. It was Tinker Hatfield's first design, taking the reins from Peter Moore. And, it started with a bang. Not only did Hatfield continue the non-Swoosh design featured on the AJII, promoting the Air Jordan as a category in its own right, but he also added eye-catching elephant-print panels to a black or white upper. It was architectural. This expanded the design possibilities of sneakers. But what really puts this shoe in the pantheon of greats is the introduction of Jordan's gravity-defying silhouette as the logo now known as the Jumpman.

The 8 Best Air Jordans of All Time

3. It was 1995 and Michael Jordan was the biggest star on the planet. It is simply impossible to bypass this statement. After two seasons in MLB, Jordan returned to the basketball court in top form, winning his fourth NBA title and being named Most Valuable Player. What's more, Jordan solidified his position in pop culture by starring in such phenomena as Space Jam. And the sneakers he wore in the movie, the Air Jordan XI, were as cinematic as you'd expect. The shoes featured black patent leather wings, lace loops, and a translucent sole. It made us all believe that we too could fly.

The 8 Best Air Jordans of All Time

4. It's no fun being the middle kid, especially when you're sandwiched between the groundbreaking Jordan I and the fan-favorite Jordan III, two of the best running shoes ever. Recently, however, the Air Jordan II has been gaining popularity with fans who have recently appreciated the design elements offered by the sneaker. It was the first Jordan to feature luxurious details, including faux lizard leather. In addition, the shoe is stripped of the Swoosh logo, paving the way for the new Model III.

The 8 Best Air Jordans of All Time

5. Air Jordan V was inspired by World War II fighter jets. From the interplay of smooth leather and nubuck to the mesh side panels and Sharktooth design along with the midsole, the V takes no prisoners. It was also the first Jordan shoe to feature a translucent sole that would become the basis for future models.

The 8 Best Air Jordans of All Time

6. Performance skyrocketed with the release of the Air Jordan VI. The rubber tongue has two grip holes that make it easy for wearers to put the sneakers on. Just slide right there. In fact, the design, with all its angles and neoprene lining, was inspired by Michael Jordan's favorite sports car. And to further increase efficiency, Michael Jordan won his first championship ring in a running shoe.

The 8 Best Air Jordans of All Time

7. The Air Jordan X served as a tribute to Michael Jordan in many ways. When the sneaker was released, it celebrated a decade of MJ's partnership with Nike and also marked his early retirement from basketball to join MLB; he returned a year later. However, the shoe serves as a constant reminder of his first 10 years, which are represented by markings on the sole.

The 8 Best Air Jordans of All Time

8. Michael Jordan loves fast cars (see VI). He also likes to retire early (see X). Combining both of these ideas, the Air Jordan XIV, which replicates design elements from his Ferrari 550M, was released right before MJ's second warm goodbye to basketball and the Bulls (he returned again a year later with the Wizards). In honor of 14 years in business, the Jumpman logo is featured 14 times on the shoe, seven times on the left boot, and seven on the right.

Keywords: Air Jordan | Sneakers | Sports shoes | Sport | Converse | Record | Society | Brand

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