Michael Jordan is one of the biggest brands in sports merchandise. In 1984, Nike signed MJ to a shoe deal they hoped would earn $3 million in revenue over a 4-year period. Today, Air Jordan sales reach that mark every 5 hours.
Jordan last suited up for the Washington Wizards in 2003. He retired nearly two decades ago but has never been more relevant. Recently, a pair of Nike shoes worn by MJ sold for nearly $1.5 million at an auction.
Read on for a comprehensive guide to rare Jordan shoes. Explore Jordan sneakers that every shoe collector needs to have.
Who Is Michael Jordan and What Makes Him Great?
Michael Jordan is one of the most recognizable sports celebrities of all time. He won six NBA championships for the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s. Famously, he retired after his first three-peat and played professional baseball with the Chicago White Sox.
Jordan was the greatest point scorer of his generation. His signature dunk from the free-throw line later became the logo for Air Jordan apparel.
He became a global icon during the Olympics. America’s Dream Team won an Olympic gold medal and Jordan starred on the world stage.
Jordan was so popular that he became more than just an athlete. The movie Space Jam made MJ a Hollywood star. Major brands like Gatorade and Kellogg made Jordan the face of their marketing campaigns.
What Is the History Behind Jordan Shoes?
Before diving into the most popular Jordan sneakers, it is important to understand their history. This way, you can see where value resides in the shoes.
Jordan was coming off a national championship at the University of North Carolina. Jordan was a highly touted rookie in the NBA when Nike set their sights on him.
The basketball shoe market had a different landscape in 1984. NBA stars like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were sponsored by Converse. Adidas had yet to fully enter the basketball industry.
Nike was not known for basketball shoes either. Their niche was track shoes at the time. At the urging of Michael’s parents, he signed a lucrative contract.
Michael’s agent, David Falk, came up with the Air Jordan slogan. In the shoe’s first year, it generated $126 million in revenue. The rest is history as the shoe’s popularity only grew each year.
What Air Jordan Details Should You Know?
There are some details that a shoe collector should know about Air Jordans. For starters, each pair of Jordan shoes has an edition number. They are marked from 1 to 38 depending on the manufacturing year.
In 1985, Nike released the first edition of Air Jordan sneakers. The shoe company releases a new edition each year with subsequent numbering. In 2023, Nike is up to their 38th edition.
It is also important to understand that there are way more than 38 different versions. Each edition has many different color patterns to distinguish itself.
Certain color patterns are extremely rare and valuable. You can find all the color patterns on websites like kickscrew.com.
Air Jordan sneakers are now customizable based on a person’s style preferences. There are also special editions in which only a limited number of shoes are manufactured. Special editions are often tied to certain events, like an anniversary or a partnership with another company.
What Drives Value for Air Jordan Shoes?
Like most collectible items, Air Jordan sneakers increase in value over time. Generally, shoes wear down over time and see heavy usage. Poor condition decreases the shoe’s value significantly.
However, the best shoe collectors preserve their vintage shoes. They protect against creases, scuffs, and other wear and tear that devalues the shoe. If Jordan sneakers can withstand the test of time, the earlier editions carry enormous value.
There are other factors that drive shoe value. Supply and demand significantly affect the value as well.
For example, Nike may only produce a small number of special edition shoes. Instead of thousands, Nike may make only a few hundred. When supply is limited, the shoe’s value soars.
Time diminishes supply as well. Many of the sneakers purchased are discarded after usage. This naturally removes them from circulation, driving up the value of the remaining pairs.
What Are Some of the Rarest Air Jordan Sneakers?
Over a 40-year period, Nike has produced many rare editions of Air Jordan shoes. During the 2000s, Nike partnered with New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
Several pairs of Jordan sneakers were designed around Jeter. The Golden Shortstop Kicks are a popular model in the collector circuit. They were all white with black stitching with Jeter’s number 2 on the shoelaces.
Nike often uses the holidays to promote limited-edition shoes. One of the rarest pairs is their Easter egg sneakers. Collectors like the pink Nike swoosh and shoelaces.
Raver court kicks are another rare find. They are known for their neon color scheme. You can glow in the dark with the neon blue, orange, and lime green color scheme.
The Air Jordan IVs are one of the most popular pairs and have a great story behind them. MJ was wearing this pair when he hit “The Shot” to win a tight playoff game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. This led to the shoes making an appearance in “Do the Right Thing,” a hit movie produced by Spike Lee.
Not all Air Jordan sneakers are made for basketball players. There are Jordan tennis shoes like the Dion Jordan 1. This was a partnership with the fashion house Dior.
Only 8,500 pairs of low sneakers were released. This was a 35th anniversary special and debuted in a Dior fashion show in Miami.
Your Guide to Rare Jordan Shoes
You are now ready to become a Jordan shoe collector. It is a fun community to join and you are certain to have stylish kicks.
There are so many different pairs to choose from. Some collectors are able to make sizable profits by acquiring and re-selling rare pairs.
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