A showcase of the best colorways the Air Jordan 1 has to offer.
The pair that started it all, the Air Jordan 1. Designed by Peter Moore and originally released in 1985, the first signature sneaker of Michael Jordan took the world by storm and has become a cultural icon. 35+ years after its debut, the AJ 1 is still as prominent as ever. With many versions and iterations released, the traditional high-cut "OG" is the most coveted of all. With hundreds of colorways to choose from, let's go through and take a look at what is arguably the top 10 Air Jordan 1 colorways you can pick up today.
Iconic, no doubt. The Air Jordan 1 "Royal" is often considered one of the most underrated OG colorways. When it was retroed for the first time in 2001, it hit sales racks for as low as $40! Long gone are those times, unless you're looking for discounted non-OG pairs of Air Jordan 1 Mids. When retroed as a true high-cut OG for the first time in 2013, it was one of the most sought after pairs, mainly due to its very limited availability. Thankfully, in 2017, the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG "Royal" was released to the appraise of all the fans that wanted a better shot a copping this classic colorway for retail, rather than going after the $400+ 2013 edition.
Another OG colorway of the Air Jordan 1 that has received more love in today's world than the past. The first retros for the AJ 1 "Shadow" were popular amongst OG heads, but were still considered pretty plain for today's generation. That all changed by the time it returned again, in 2018. A pair that you can wear with almost everything, it even birthed a reverse "Shadow 2.0" rendition in 2021.
When Union linked up with Jordan Brand in 2018 for a duo of Air Jordan 1 Retro High's, they knocked it out of the park. Taking on design elements from four classic AJ1 OG's from 1985, "Black Toe" and "Storm Blue" iterations were born. Standing out amongst the two is the "Storm Blue" pair, with its "Kentucky" vibes and "Black Toe" detailing, not to mention it was the Union exclusive. From materials, to design, to quality, and packaging, Union LA does not disappoint with their Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG "Storm Blue" collab.
Combining high-end fashion with streetwear, Dior linked up with Jordan Brand in a historical move, in 2020. The end result was the first Air Jordan sneaker to retail for $2,000! Releasing in both high and low-top form, the limited edition kicks sold out instantly and commanded high resale prices right off the bat. It's not all hype here, though. The clean grey-based AJ 1 High, combined with premium materials and luxe packaging made this pair a collector's dream. The Dior x Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG helped usher in a new era for collabs in the footwear industry, with Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton, and Nike following suit.
One thing that has always been present in the Air Jordan line has been Chicago Bulls and UNC-themed colorways. This dates all the way back to the beginning, with the Air Jordan 1. Known as both the "Powder Blue" and "UNC" edition, MJ made sure to pay homage to high alma mater from the start. While we have seen white and Carolina Blue Jordan 1s in various iterations, it wasn't until 2015 that it would release in true OG 1985 form. A classic from the get-go, it was popularized even more when it was adopted by Virgil Abloh on his Off-White rendition of the Air Jordan 1 in 2018.
5. Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG "Shattered Backboard"
When thinking of Michael Jordan, one doesn't think about powerful dunks, that's usually reserved for Shaq or Vince Carter. However, back in 1985 during a Nike exhibition game in Trieste, Italy, MJ went coast-to-coast, slamming home two points and shattering the backboard in the process. To honor this rare moment, Jordan Brand released the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG "Shattered Backboard" in 2015. Coming in the same color scheme as the uniform MJ wore in that game, this AJ 1 is often regarded as one featuring some of the best leather on a sneaker. While it has had sequels, the original will always remain the most coveted of the SBB series.
When it was announced that Travis Scott would get his own Air Jordan 1, fans and sneakerheads alike were eager with anticipation. When the sneaker surfaced, it did not disappoint. Scott helped usher in the earth-tone era of sneakers with this "Mocha" edition of the AJ 1. While brown sneakers never were very popular, that all changed the minute Cactus Jack put his stamp of approval on them. Jordan Brand even introduced their own Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG "Mocha" which received a lot of fanfare as well. Its safe to say that after all the Travis Scott collabs we have seen with Jordan Brand, his "Mocha" AJ 1 High will always remain on top.
3. fragment design x Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG
When the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG made its debut in 2013, everyone was so focused on seeing original colorways return, some non-OG pairs were often overlooked. This was not the case with Hiroshi Fujiwara's fragment design x Air Jordan 1 Retro, released in 2014. A "Black Toe" iteration of the OG "Royal," this pair replaced the classic red accents with royal blue, for a new twist on classic colorblocking. Throw on fragment branding, limited availability, and you have a home run. Initially demanding high resale prices, you could actually snag the fragment x AJ 1 High for under $1K at one time. That time has long passed as its resale value only increases yearly. Valuable or not, this pair was perfectly executed and is a must-have for any AJ 1 fan out there.
Does it get anymore iconic than the "Bred/Banned" Air Jordan 1? Often confused with the Nike Air Ship that was actually banned by the NBA, this black and red color scheme of the 1985 classic also did not follow the NBA's color guidelines back in the day. Still, when you think about Air Jordan's, you think of black and red or, "Bred" kicks. Re-released numerous times, in various iterations, it doesn't matter how many times this pair comes back, it is still as coveted and iconic as the day it came to life over 35 years ago.
Slightly edging out the aforementioned "Bred/Banned" colorway of the Air Jordan 1 is the infamous "Chicago" edition. While these two pairs always go head-to-head, this pair, with its red-based theme, white accents, and black detailing, takes the cake. Not to mention it has not been re-released nearly as many times as its black/red counterpart has. Very sought after, Virgil Abloh adopted this colorway for his first Air Jordan 1 collab for his Off-White label, a part of "The 10" series that was released in 2017. Whether you perfect black-based kicks or white-based kicks, the red-based Air Jordan 1 "Chicago" is easily our pick for the #1 Air Jordan colorway of all-time.
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