The Nike Air Jordan is one of the most popular brands of shoe, yet where did it come from? When did Nike first make them and how did Michael Jordan get involved anyway?
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the history of Nike Air Jordan shoes, and examine how these iconic sneakers came into being. If you’ve ever wanted to know the history behind your favorite shoes, we’re here to help!
Are you ready to learn more about Air Jordan sneakers and their fascinating history? Then read on!
Where It All Began
Back in the 1980s, Michael Jordan was a very promising rookie. He was playing for the Chicago Bulls and demonstrating his fantastic dunking skills, wowing spectators from all around the world.
Back in 1984, Converse was the official shoe of the NBA, and while Michael Jordan would have partnered with them, they didn’t want to feature him above other NBA stars of the time. Disappointed, Jordan decided to seek another partner for his sponsorship deal.
Adidas was Jordan’s first pick, but they weren’t keen on the deal. Jordan pulled a reverse Kanye and went from Adidas to Nike, but not without some keen assistance from his agent, David Falk. As Jordan didn’t originally want to partner with Nike, Falk enlisted Jordan’s mother, Deloris Jordan, to convince him.
With the help of Jordan’s parents, Michael came to realize the significance of this deal, especially given the sizeable sponsorship deal that Nike was offering.
The Name’s Origin and Troubles on the Court
The name of the Air Jordan came about due to happenstance. Nike had created air sole technology and due to Michael Jordan’s renowned skills in the air, the name came naturally.
However, the first iteration of the Air Jordans, known as the Notorious Air Jordan Is, had some issues. There wasn’t anything wrong with the shoe, but the NBA wasn’t too happy with the shoe. The rule at the time was that a basketball shoe had to be mostly white, and the red and black Jordans were anything but.
There’s a compelling legend that surrounds the first-generation Jordans. According to some sources, Jordan kept wearing the Nikes, breaking the NBA’s rules, which led to a $5000 fine for each game he wore them, which Nike then paid.
However, this doesn’t seem to be rooted in fact. While there’s always room for new evidence to emerge, it doesn’t seem that Jordan actually wore the Air Jordans in a regular-season game during this time, which means that he wouldn’t have got a fine.
Despite that, the infamous status of the Jordans led to a lot of publicity, drawing consumers to the brand.
While the first generation of Air Jordans was a big success, the second-generation Jordans, known as the Italian Stallions, would bring the brand even more success. This is the first generation that featured the iconic Jumpman logo, which would become a style icon in itself.
This led to the shoes becoming not only a huge success with basketball fans but a staple of streetwear across the country. No matter whether you were in Chicago, New York, or LA, you wouldn’t have to look far to find someone wearing a pair of Air Jordans.
This huge wave of popularity effectively kickstarted the American sneakerhead culture. People were desperate to get their hands on a pair of Air Jordans, and trading was common. The shoe wasn’t only a well-designed sneaker, it was emblematic of the man himself: daring, fascinating, and cool.
If you wanted to be like Michael Jordan (and many people did), you needed to own a pair of Air Jordans.
While Michael Jordan has long since retired, his shoes remain a very popular choice for sneakerheads everywhere. They’ve massively increased in value, too. If you want to get your hands on a pair of vintage Notorious Jordans, you can expect to pay thousands of dollars, compared to their original price of $65.
Despite performance basketball shoes being less popular than they used to be, Air Jordans still have a massive market that keeps increasing in value. The only key explanation behind this is that the shoes have left a serious mark on the world of sneaker culture and that the man himself is still an enduring cultural icon, despite retiring nearly 20 years ago.
In terms of sneaker drops, Air Jordans are always met with a whole lot of hype from sneakerheads and casual buyers alike. No one wants to miss out on the next great Air Jordan, even if there are newer shoes and newer technologies abounding. Combine this with the amazing Air Jordan edits that Nike regularly releases, and you’ve got a recipe for a shoe that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
What Made the Air Jordan Sneakers So Special?
When looking back on the history of Air Jordan, you need to keep in mind the historical context. The world of individual sponsorships was not what it is today back in the 1980s. In fact, only Tennis and Golf players had been able to secure individual sponsorships for the very reason that they played individually, rather than in a team.
Michael Jordan was the first player of a team sport to get a deal like this. Combine this with his immense popularity, skills, and the sheer coolness of the shoes, and you were always going to get something very special.
The Nike Air Jordan: Truly Iconic
We hope that you’ve enjoyed this look at the history of the Nike Air Jordan. By now, you may be wondering where to buy Air Jordan shoes, and we’ve got you covered. We stock a wide range of different Air Jordans from the standbys all the way up to the latest edits.
Browse our listings and we’re sure you’ll find a shoe you love. If you’re looking for a particular model or would like some help, contact us today.