Sneakerology: The Jordan 1 Mon, Apr 17, 2017
The Jordan 1, as you might assume, is Michael Jordan's first ever signature shoe. The shoe was first released in 1985 and was both the catalyst for the greatest legacy in the history of footwear and is credited with changing the sneaker industry forever.
At the time of its release, the shoe landscape consisted of unimaginative white shoes with the occasional black accent. When Mike started wearing his black and red (known as the "bred colorway" in sneaker terms) Jordan 1's, the NBA was so furious about the rookie's brash shoe choice that they began fining him $5,000 for every game he wore the shoes on the court.
Nike saw the opportunity as a better advertisement than one they could've ever come up with on their own. They started paying Michael's fines and created a brilliant ad (see it here) based on what's known now as the "banned" Jordan 1's. While the shoes started selling well among basketball players and NBA fans, the shoes really didn't become mainstream until years later.
When the shoe was re-released (or "retroed" in sneaker terminology) in 1994, there was little excitement. After all, MJ was already on his 9th signature shoe and technology had developed exponentially over that period. The sneakers sat on shelves and eventually hit the sale rack - many pairs reportedly going for as low as $19...
...Until the skateboarders and streetwear culture makers discovered a cheap shoe that was durable enough to withstand a beating on the skateboard or the streets and still look good. Once it was adopted by the streets, the shoe blew up in popularity and went mainstream. Those $19 shoes now go for thousands of dollars on eBay and Jordan brand continues to make a killing on re-releases of the shoes. The "Royal" colorway just retroed last Saturday and sold out everywhere within minutes.