Air Jordan is a series of sneakers released annually by Brand Jordan, a subsidiary of NIKE, Inc. The Air Jordan line was created in 1984 for six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan and made its retail debut in 1985 with the Jordan 1. The Jordan sub-label, which is currently on its 35th signature model, aptly named the Jordan 35, is the most popular athlete-specific sneaker line ever created. Peter Moore, Bruce Kilgore, Wilson Smith III, Tate Kuerbis, and Tinker Hatfield have all been credited with designing 21 of the 34 models.
While Jordans are rooted in performance basketball, they have seen widespread adoption in the lifestyle and casual wear spaces, particularly the Jordan 1 and Jordan 14. In 1994, during Jordan’s first retirement from the NBA, Brand Jordan reissued the set’s first sneaker. Hundreds of new and old retros have been released in the subsequent years, whether as standalone releases or as components 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 are frequently a source of contention, depending on whether they feature “NIKE” and “NIKE AIR” branding similar to their debut pairs or “JORDAN” and Jumpman logos. Nonetheless, the line is alive and well, having assisted its subsidiary in achieving its first $1 billion revenue quarter in the second fiscal quarter of 2020. (The Jordan 11 “Bred” was the brand’s best-selling release of all time in 2019.)
The Air Jordan line has featured high-profile collaborations with UNDEFEATED and Supreme, among others, over the last 36 years. Collaborative efforts have received unprecedented attention in recent years. These include collaborations with OFF-WHITE by Virgil Abloh, Travis Scott, Drake’s OVO, UNION LA, and Don C. Additionally, athletes such as Ray Allen, Mike Bibby, Carmelo Anthony, and Russell Westbrook have received special Friends & Family and Player Exclusive (PE) pairs, adding to the legend of Air Jordan.