Nike can be traced back to one shoe: the Air Jordan 1. Complex describes the Air Jordan 1 as the first basketball sneaker that transcended the game: “it became a nationwide phenomenon before conquering the world”. The Air Jordan 1 is not just a relic of Michael Jordan’s illustrious career; instead, it has become a fashion icon and a pop culture staple in its own right.
The label was created at the inception of Jordan’s rookie year in 1984, and sold out upon its first release. While Nike’s sales goal for the Jordan line was $3 million over the first three years, Jordan went on to generate $126 million in sales that year alone. Since then — and despite Jordan having been out of the game for 16 years — the Nike Jordan partnership has generated more sales than the signature line of every other current NBA player, combined.
After the initial sellout, Nike was quick to restock the Air Jordan 1. This restock resulted in surplus supply, and Air Jordan 1s sat on shelves for years, eventually being marked down to as little as $20. These low-priced sneakers were of particular interest to skateboarders, who were looking for sneakers more durable than the canvas they typically wore.
Given that the initial release was 30 years ago, it is extremely rare to find deadstock Jordans from that first drop. Otis has collected 3 pairs: 1 pair of the “Bred” colorway and 2 pairs of the “Chicago” colorway. The “Bred”, or “Banned”, Air Jordan 1s are the face of the Air Jordan sneaker franchise. The sneakers made waves in their 1985 debut, largely because of the story that Michael Jordan was being fined $5k each time he wore them on court. The red, white and black “Chicago” was the colorway most commonly worn by Michael Jordan, especially during the 1985 season, and played a feature role in Virgil Abloh’s “The Ten” collaboration.