Maybe it sounds like hyperbole in a sneaker world that’s become dominated by it, but it’s the absolute truth — the Air Jordan changed everything. When it was introduced in 1985, the Air Jordan line not only took the concept of “signature shoes” to another level, but it gave professional basketball players another form of expression that to that point had been dictated primarily by the sneaker companies and the NBA
For the first shoe, Jordan and Nike
went against the NBA’s uniform code, paying fines each time he wore the red and black shoes. For the second, Nike removed their signature Swoosh, ensuring that the only branding was Jordan’s own. And for the third, a young designer named Tinker Hatfield
had the revolutionary idea of incorporating the athlete’s own personality into the product that bore his name. It all built from there.
And how it built. For over 20 years, the Air Jordan has represented the pinnacle of luxury sport — “Quality Inspired By the Greatest Player Ever,” as it said on the heel straps of the Air Jordan 12 (Air Jordan XII). While the technology has changed considerably since 1985, the motivation has not. And the product is legendary.