One of the cleanest GRs in recent memory was the simple collegiate spin on the Air Jordan 6 Retro. With a nearly identical color-blocking as the iconic “Infrared”, this December drop replaced the hot red with Tar Heel blue.
While the story of Michael Jordan’s baseball endeavors of 1994-1995 has been told, the Jumpman has never dropped a shoe in this creative manner. Two colorways of the Air Jordan 9 Retro were rebuilt with premium baseball glove leather and signature braids and weaves on the upper; black and brown were the options, with the latter being far more limited. Both were packaged in black pouches inside the shoebox so it was a complete mystery as to which color you were getting, harkening back to the days of the shock factor of ripping open a pack of baseball trading cards.
Jordan Brand switched things up in 2017 by dropping not one, but two different Air Jordan 11 Retro releases for the holiday. The first offering was inspired by MJ’s winning ways at North Carolina as seen on the Tar Heel tones of university blue and obsidian on the timeless silhouette. Jordan also dropped an all-red “Win Like ’96”, but the ’82 joints were clearly the better pair.
The annual unveiling of the new Air Jordan is an event that no sneakerhead can miss out on. The Air Jordan XXXII was perhaps one of the best introductions yet they went across to Atlantic to Turin, Italy to debut the sneaker in the country that greatly inspired the Air Jordan II. The AJ 32 drew heavily from that older model while infusing new-age Flyknit and the cherished Flight Speed / Zoom pairing, while throwbacks to the “Banned” and a supercar-inspired Rosso Corsa unveiled the shoe in an elegant manner.
This release was what true Jordan fanatics have been waiting for. Inspired by Michael’s partnership with Gatorade, this special edition release took on the signature tones of orange and green and placed them onto the Air Jordan 6 in Carmine-esque color-blocking. A full set of Air Jordan 1s inspired by the sports drink flavors as well as a green suede version of the AJ6 made “Like Mike” one of the best of the year.
While Vashtie still owns the distinction of having the first-ever collaboration with Jordan Brand, Aleali May’s rendition of the Air Jordan 1 was far more coveted. Inspired by her personal fashion sense, May paired the alluring satin in grey with corduroys and a varsity jacket chenille Swoosh logo for one of the most eclectic AJ1s we’ve ever seen. The shoes dropped in adult and kids sizes, leaving plenty for all.
Jordan Brand revived the “Top 3” color-scheme for Complex Con for one of the year’s most talked-about drops. Flipping the mythical black/gold original colorway, the Air Jordan 1 Top 3 was among the best pick-ups at the early November weekend-long event, with re-sale prices easily hitting up to $1,500. However, a wider release of the shoes occured on Cyber Monday, driving prices down to roughly a third of that price.
Already one of the most popular Air Jordan 1s ever, the famed “Royal” came back in full force in 2017 after a limited drop four years ago. The brand multiplied the energy by dropping a Satin version of the shoe exclusively at two stores in the South..
Brooklyn-born Michael Jordan and Brooklyn-trained Brian Donnelly came together to release two ground-breaking Air Jordan 4 iterations that send the sneaker world into a frenzy. The first grey-suede pair was accompanied by a full set of apparel, while the black version for Cyber Monday dropped on its own exclusively through a raffle on KAWS’ official site.
1. OFF WHITE x Air Jordan 1
Already earning the title of our best sneaker collaboration of the year, the OFF WHITE x Air Jordan 1 by Virgil Abloh was the clear-cut selection for the brand’s top prize. As Nike looks to scale their partnership with the Chicago creative, expect two more colorways of this same exact style to emerge in 2018.
Honorable mentions:PSNY x Air Jordan 12, OVO x Jordan Trunner, Air Jordan XXX1 “Why Not?”, Just Don x Air Jordan 2, Air Jordan 1 “Art Basel”