Jordan Brand holds a unique place in the sneaker industry. With some of the most esteemed and influential sneakers of all time under their belt, they’ve changed the game time and time again, inspiring basketball players and fashion lovers alike to leave their own mark — just like Mike did. Even though everyone’s familiar with their timeless heritage silhouettes, everything they do is with performance in mind as well. They were able to blend those two opposite yet equally important driving forces seamlessly in 2018.
Collaborating with some of the most popular musicians, brands, and shops in the world, as well as re-releasing some low-key favorite silhouettes, they ensured their cultural legacy would be intact for years to come. The Jumpman Brand also pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in a basketball shoe, bringing their on-court footwear back into the limelight with innovative and futuristic performance designs that featured some of the most advanced tech in the world. This ethos is apparent in their top 10 releases of the year — thereby proving that even though they know their past through and through, they have a strong vision for the future as well.
10. SoleFly x Air Jordan 1 This pristine colorway themed after the city of Miami pleased AJ1 fans and celebrities alike, solidifying Miami as a flawless muse for the beloved silhouette.
9. Air Jordan XXXIII The best-designed game shoe since the XX3, the thirty-third model was met with praise from avid hoopers to the long-tenured purists of the brand.
8. Air Jordan 18 Retro Not many of Michael’s shoes of the post-Chicago era get love, but those that dropped during his short-lived comeback with the Wizards will always have a place in the hearts of Jordan fanatics.
7. Levi’s x Air Jordan 4 This pairing of two American industry giants produced a denim-uppered Air Jordan 4 in three distinct colors true to the jeans brand, with the second white sparking a spirited a DIY-attitude among the riskier shoe-heads.
6. Air Jordan 3 Retro “Seoul” One of the most limited offerings of 2018 involved a surprise connection between the prized silhouette and Seoul. Limited to under 1,000 pairs, these honored the 30th anniversary of the shoe and the Olympic Games of 1988.
5. Air Jordan 3 Retro “Black/Cement” February’s offering of the “Black/Cement” set the tone for a full twelve months of AJ3 drops, which included collaborations with Justin Timberlake, revival of older colorways, and alternate outtakes from Tinker Hatfield himself.
4. Off-White x Air Jordan 1 NRG The “shoe of the year” in 2017 made a return in two new colorways, with the Europe-exclusive white iteration climbing the charts as one of the most hyped shoe drops of the year.
3. Travis Scott x Air Jordan 4 “Cactus Jack” The Houston-bred rapper continued his reign as the single most influential being in the realm of celebrities. Whatever he touched gained instant appeal to his audience, and the hysteria around his Oilers-themed Air Jordan 4 Retro provided just a taste of what may come of this fledgling partnership.
2. Air Jordan 11 “Concord” Arguably the most elegant Air Jordan of all time, the grail known as the “Concords” returned in full force late in the year in true-to-the-original form that left no space for error.
1. Union Los Angeles x Air Jordan 1 From its initial unveil at a swap meet to its vintage-style concept, shop founder Chris Gibbs, already a respected dude on the scene, offered up a pristine package in two colorways that some will argue as the best sneakers of 2018 in general. This catapulted Union Los Angeles to even higher fanfare, leaving many excited for what’s to come as they enter their third decade of business.