It's been 35 years since the first pair of Air Jordan 1s were released to the public back in 1984, yet still to this day the shoe remains one of the most commonly bought and worn sneakers in the world. What is it about this sneaker that has allowed it to stand the test of time?
Obviously, the Jordan brand as a whole has had no problems staying relevant in the mainstream, so that has certainly helped. But beyond the inherent strength of the Jordan name, what underlying factors are still causing sneaker heads and casual shoe collectors to gravitate towards this design style in a time when most other trends from the 80’s have been all but abandoned?
Well, there are probably too many reasons to include on any reasonably sized list, but for starters, here are the top 10 reasons why the Jordan 1s are still a worldwide favorite in 2019:
1. Michael Jordan
You'll never understand the popularity of the Air Jordan shoe line until you realize just how influential Michael Jordan was as an athlete. Anyone who knows anything about basketball knows that everyone wanted to be “like Mike” back in the day. Even people who never watched a basketball game in their life became familiar with the name. To this day, Jordan remains the bar that every other great basketball player is measured against.
It's almost impossible to avoid media headlines like “Is LeBron better than Jordan,” “Was Kobe better than Jordan,” and “Who will be the next Jordan?” With Jordan's name and legacy still going strong, it's no surprise that there are still new releases of Air Jordan 1s coming out more than three decades after the shoe's initial release. If you want to stay in the know when it comes to Nike’s latest announcements, you can view the releases here at The Sole Supplier.
2. Undeniable Aesthetic Appeal
A single glance at a pair of Air Jordan 1s will reveal why so many people like them. Their big and bold yet beautiful appearance makes them impossible to ignore. They have the elegance of a luxury shoe paired with the functionality of an athletic sneaker. Plus, because of their widely known prestige, it's appropriate to wear them in any social circle. Nobody is going to look down on you for wearing a $500 pair of collector Jordan 1s, whereas most other basketball shoes are primarily worn for playing basketball and running.
3. An Abundance of Awesome Colorways
The fact that the Jordan 1 is available in a wide variety of colorways makes it another favorite because you can find a pair to go with just about any outfit. Of course, the immense popularity of the shoes is what has caused so many designers to put their own spin on it, so it sort of works both ways – it has plenty of colorways because it's popular and it's popular because it has a lot of colorways.
Many of the more affluent and wealthy sneaker collectors are between the ages of 30-50, as they've had plenty of time to get their finances in order. That entire demographic witnessed the rise of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls first-hand. Like other previous generations, people tend to continue liking the same fashion, music, sports icons, celebrities, and other cultural influences that were popular during their youth or prime. This desire for nostalgia definitely plays a role in the ongoing popularity of the Jordan 1 and the overall retro sneaker trend.
5. Ankle Support
The sturdy high-top frame and lacing structure of the Jordan 1 gives it excellent ankle support, which is particularly important for basketball players. As a result, many players still wear the Jordan 1 as their official game shoe in high school, college, and even pro games. Since ankle sprains and other similar injuries are a top concern for basketball players, the Jordan 1s hard-to-beat ankle support makes it an ongoing favorite for basketball players worldwide.
6. The Culture
The urban and hip-hop cultures can also be credited for much of the popularity of the Jordan 1s, as many rappers and entertainers have been unofficial ambassadors for the Jordan brand for decades. Since 2010, the shoe's popularity has greatly extended from the streetwear sector into general pop culture and mainstream fashion. What was once considered the unofficial “shoe of the streets” is now seen frequenting runways in Paris and the covers of fancy fashion magazines. The ongoing merger of streetwear and luxury in the fashion industry has people from all sorts of demographics wearing the Jordan 1s more than ever before.
7. Versatile Wardrobe Appeal
Believe it or not, certain Jordan 1 colorways can look great even when worn with a suit and tie. In fact, due to the stylistic versatility of these sneakers, one would find it difficult to think of any kind of clothing that can't be worn with Jordan 1s. You could go even further and say that the sneakers themselves often wind up becoming the focal point of the outfit, not just a compatible piece.
8. The Soles Have Good Grip
The classic design of the Jordan 1 rubber sole may not seem highly advanced, but let's not forget that the material and ridges were strategically designed by Nike for Michael Jordan himself. Any basketball player can tell you that playing in the Jordan 1s is a pleasure. Even for people who don't play basketball, the support and stability of the sneaker means it can come in handy whenever you need to suddenly get active.
9. Continual Releases Over the Years
Simply put, the Jordan 1 can't go away because the sneaker culture and consumers don't want it go away. As the original release of the Jordan shoe line, it will always be honored and re-done by designers, and Nike has no problem co-signing and manufacturing any proposed designs that look worthwhile because eventually they will all sell. Just last year alone, more than 60 new editions of the Jordan 1 were released.
10. It Pioneered a Style
Although the large, bold frame of the high-top Jordan 1 is slightly reminiscent of other basketball shoes of the 1980s, from then on it became the poster child of that style. No other shoe comes to mind when you think of a high-top basketball sneaker with heavy cushion and support around the ankles. Originators are always hailed as legends long after they're no longer current in the mainstream, so it's reasonable to expect that the Jordan 1 will continue to have a cult following even when most people are no longer buying them… if that ever happens.
Will the Air Jordan 1s Ever Go Out of Style?
The most accurate answer to that question would be “probably not any time soon.” The universal appeal of the Jordan 1 means that it could very well stay popular for another 3 decades. In fact, some experts predict that the market for Jordan 1s, Air Force 1s, and other retro style sneakers will only increase over the next decade. Beyond 2030, it is possible that we could see the advent of smart shoes and other footwear technologies that make conventional sneakers somewhat obsolete collector's items. Even in such a futuristic scenario, the retro movement would probably still be growing stronger than ever, and the Jordan 1 has always been at the center of the throwback style.