Air Jordan is a yearly set of sneakers released by Brand Jordan, a NIKE, Inc. subsidiary. Created for six-time NBA Champion Michael Jordan in 1984, the Air Jordan line debuted at retail in 1985 with the Jordan 1. Currently on its 34th signature model, aptly named the Jordan 34, the sub-label is the most popular athlete-specific sneaker line ever created. Designers have included Peter Moore, Bruce Kilgore, Wilson Smith III, Tate Kuerbis, and Tinker Hatfield, who’s credited for 21 of 34 models.
While rooted in performance basketball, Jordans – in particular models between the Jordan 1 and Jordan 14 – has enjoyed widespread adoption in the lifestyle and casual wear spaces. Brand Jordan reissued the set’s first sneaker in 1994 during Jordan’s first retirement from the NBA. Subsequent years have seen hundreds of old and new retros, be they individual releases or parts of sets (i.e. “Defining Moments Pack,” “Countdown Pack,”) and collections (i.e. Bin 23). Retros of the Jordan 3, Jordan 4, Jordan 5, and Jordan 6 typically stir controversy depending on whether or not they feature “NIKE” and “NIKE AIR” branding like their inaugural pairs or “JORDAN” and Jumpman logos. Nevertheless, the line is alive and well, having helped its subsidiary achieve its first $1 billion revenue quarter in the second quarter of the 2020 fiscal year. (The brand’s best-selling release of all-time was 2019’s Jordan 11 “Bred”.)
Over the past 36 years, the Air Jordan range has hosted high-profile collaborations with UNDEFEATED and Supreme, among others. In recent years, collaborative efforts have garnered unprecedented attention. These include pairs co-created with Virgil Abloh’s OFF-WHITE, Travis Scott, Drake’s OVO, UNION LA, and Don C. Furthermore, athletes the likes of Ray Allen, Mike Bibby, Carmelo Anthony, and Russell Westbrook have received special Friends & Family and Player Exclusive (PE) pairs, which have only contributed to Air Jordan’s legend.
For a look at the upcoming Jordans in 2021, check out the Air Jordan 2021 Preview.
Other Air Jordan retro news is available on the Jordan Release Dates page.