Air Jordan 1: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

OG Air Jordan 1 poster

Good morning ladies and gents! Yesterday morning we dropped our latest Sneaker History Podcast episode (available on all Podcast streaming platforms) and we covered a few topics; but specifically, we discussed the insanity that is THE Air Jordan 1. Sneaker collectors love them, the resell market loves them… everyone loves Jordan 1s, and Jordan Brand has never shied away from an opportunity to introduce a new iteration of their crown jewel.

Air Jordan 1 Retro ‘Blake Griffin’

We broke down the greatest, the badest and the ugliest of the AJ1 family verbally on the ‘cast, but now we’re gonna hit you with our thoughts with the written word (don’t worry, that was supposed to sound funny [insert reader laughts]).

 

 

The Good

Air Jordan 1 Zoom

Air Jordan 1 Zoom ‘3M’

Mike Says:
I’ve been waiting so long for an updated cushioning system on the Jordan 1!!! I’m completely here for this…..my only concern is the completely 3M upper. I hope it doesn’t look like trash after being worn.

Nick Says:
This is looooonnngg overdue. Excited to see what colorways they drop with the Zoom Air. Then again, I could see this becoming really expensive.

Robbie Says: 

Gimme these all day every day and twice on Sunday! As the other gentlemen said updating the AJ1’s tooling without sacrificing its beautiful design is long overdue. I’m excited to see both new and OG colorways on this exciting new venture.

 

Air Jordan 1 Low

Air Jordan 1 Low ‘Royal’

Mike Says:
Yup! That pretty much sums it up. I love the lows, both the OG cut and this new skate (SB) inspired cut. They literally go with everything.

Nick Says:
I can get with these in the right colorways. They’re basically Dunks. Now if these had Zoom insoles in them like some of the SB Dunks, it would be a game-changer.

Robbie Says:
I’m for sure in the minority here, but these are a no go for me, dawg. Nothing wrong with them – just not my style.

 

Air Jordan 1 (2001-13)

Air Jordan 1 Retro ‘Chicago’ 2013

Mike Says:
Jumpman or not, I’m down with OG Highs.

Nick Says:
Jumpman on the back isn’t a deal-breaker for me on the Jordan 1, so it all depends on the colorways. This “Chicago” version is beautiful.

Robbie Says:
Jumpman heel branding will eternally be a dealbreaker for me – I can’t stand it. With that said, if someone forced me to pick a pair of 1s in this style then they’d have to be an OG colorway.

 

Air Jordan 1 OG High

Air Jordan 1 OG High ‘Bred Toe’

Mike Says:
The Jordan 1 OG High is my all-time favorite shoe. One of the only shoes that I will buy multiples of. You can’t beat an all-leather upper (when it’s good leather). The only shoe that looks better the more you wear it.

Nick Says:
Perfection. *chef’s kiss* There are only a handful of sneakers that I consider to be perfect, and the OG High Jordan 1 is one of them. This color-blocking, replace the red with your favorite color and it’s a winner. Rinse.

Robbie Says:
Only one Air Jordan 1 style should exist in my book… the perfect, the flawless, the timeless OG High Retro. When new joints like the ‘Bred Toes’ above drop they’re just as good as the classics. A well done OG High is untouchable.

 

Air Jordan 1 ‘Off-White’


Air Jordan 1 OG High x Off-White ‘UNC’

Mike Says:
These will definitely will go down as one of the most influential versions of the Jordan 1. Saying that I don’t have to have these in my collection. I completely respect these, but not having them isn’t breaking my heart.

Robbie Says: 
I’m not too proud to say that there’s some hypebeat coursing within my veins. I like dope shit, what can I say? If I had a guap of money then these would be an insta-cop.

 

Air Jordan 1 Defiant


Air Jordan 1 OG High Defiant ‘Couture’

Mike Says:
Remove the high-gloss paint, then talk to me about these.

Robbie Says:
Couture isn’t my thing overall so the above 1’s don’t do it for me, but the concept as a whole does. I appreciate how ‘defiant’ can mean a couple of different things as there isn’t a singular uniform look to the designation. The LA to CHI Defiant 1s from earlier this year are easily one of my favorite pairs of the year.

 

Air Jordan 1 x SB

Air Jordan 1 Low x SB ‘Eric Koston’

Mike Says:
Not much to say but…I love these!

Nick Says:
The Jumpman on the toe is the perfect touch. I’ll definitely pick these up when the hype dies down.

Robbie Says:
Two of Nike’s biggest, most popular categories in one? Yup (Hank Hill voice).

 

Air Jordan 1 ‘Travis Scott’

Air Jordan 1 OG High ‘Travis Scott’

Mike Says:
I like them, I tried for them, I caught the L. But these aren’t dope enough for me to pay resell for them.

Nick Says:
These are overrated.

Robbie Says: 
I love them, I’m salty I don’t have a pair. I’d pay $500 for them, but not $1,200.

 

The Bad

 

Air Jordan 1 React


Air Jordan 1 React

Mike Says:
Jordan Brand had one job to do…and they failed. 4 words: Drop-In React Midsole! That’s all we needed. But we got this instead.

Robbie Says:
Why they gotta do my mans like this? I can list off everything I don’t like with ease: the laces, the eyelets, the pull tabs, the outsole, the perf leather, the Wings logo… With that said, I do like the Swoosh, it’s cool.

 

Air Jordan 1 Pinnacle

Air Jordan 1 Pinnacle ‘White’

Mike Says:
There’s no way on earth I would pay $400 for a brown or tan Jordan 1. Make them in OG colors in at least Shattered Backboard quality leather and we can talk about buying at a $200 price point.

Robbie Says:
I really like the Pinnacle series, it’s A-okay in my book. As consumers we want it all – quality and price, I loved the quality but hated the price. Totally understand why they were $400 and it’s impossible to have premium materials with a bargain price so I can’t fault the shoe for the fact that the Jordan 1 isn’t worth that price tag.

 

Air Jordan 1 Low Phat

Air Jordan 1 Low Phat ‘Elephant’

Mike Says:
I didn’t like all of the colorways, but I love lows. The best part about these are the people who talked trash on these and don’t realize these are similar to the recent low releases they are clamoring for.

Nick Says:
I need a pair of these and the white version in a 12-13. Holler!

 

Nu Retro Air Jordan 1

Nu Retro Air Jordan 1

Mike Says:
NOPE! The only lows I can’t get behind. These look like a Jordan 1 had a baby with a LUGZ sneaker.

Nick Says:
I might be the only person on the planet that like these. That’s ok. I do. Especially this colorway.

Robbie Says: 
I’ll confirm, Nick is the only person on the planet that likes these.

 

 

Air Jordan Mid

Air Jordan 1 Mid ‘New Love’

Mike Says:
I’ve never had an issue with mids. I love the fact they are super available and the colorways are getting progressively better. The only thing I wish for would be better leather. Nothing crazy now, just a little softer leather to keep it at that value price point.

Nick Says:
These are fire.

Robbie Says: 
I’m an elitiest when it comes to the Air Jordan 1, I’d rather wear a pair of Super Flys than a Mid Jordan 1.

 

Air Jordan 1 Satin

Air Jordan 1 High Satin ‘BRED’

Mike Says
Cool concept, but I 100% rather leather construction. These bad boys are too easy to trash.

Nick Says:
I think the satin looks dope but it’s not something I can see myself wearing. The Bred colorway is the only one I really like.

 

Air Jordan 1 Retro Alpha


Air Jordan 1 Retro Alpha ‘UNC’

Nick Says:
For the era, this had some really cool features…the print on the side, the translucent Swoosh, the icy clear outsole, but it’s still not enough to make them wearable.

Robbie Says:
Era specific shoes are extremely cool, but these are wildly not cool. Teenage Robbie salivated over these but adult Robbie runs for the hills.

Air Jordan 1 Flyknit

Air Jordan 1 Flyknit ‘BRED’

Mike Says:
I got these for $70 in the Royal colorway and I wear them a ton. I think these were the perfect homage to the original by using updated materials. If you slept on these I suggest you re-think that and try them out. Completely underrated.

 

AJKO

Air Jordan 1 AJKO ‘Chicago’

1986

Mike Says:
This is a beautiful shoe, but they will literally cook your feet. Not an ounce of ventilation. Also, can someone tell me what the KO stands for?

Nick Says:
Another pair I wouldn’t mind having just for nostalgic purposes but probably not something I would wear.

 

 

The Ugly

Air Jordan 1.5

Air Jordan 1.5 ‘BRED’

Mike Says:
I’m not embarrassed to say I like these. Mike actually wore these. So people who say they only cop stuff he wore but talked trash on these should be ashamed. If the upper didn’t feel like plastic, they would be in my closet now. Plus I waited too long for a price drop and missed out.

Nick Says:
I wouldn’t mind adding a pair of these to my collection. A classic case of, “Oh, I’ll wait for it to go on sale, then completely forget to grab a pair.” I’m a sucker for a good storyline, and the fact that MJ wore these while Nike was trying to figure out what his signature line would look like is as nostalgic as it gets.

Robbie Says: 
Shoes release the way they do for a reason, and the Air Jordan 1.5 didn’t release in 1985-86 because they didn’t look good, and they didn’t look good in the new millennium. I’m a firm believer that shoes should only release as intended; all these variants and “from the sketchbook” vibes are a big turnoff for me.

 

Air Jordan Alpha 1

Air Jordan 1 Alpha ‘BRED’

Mike Says:
These were actually the first Jordan 1s my parent bought me (black/white/UNC colorway) and I wore these into the ground. Although they aren’t OGs, I’d be first in line if these decided to retro.

Nick Says:
A valiant effort and even ahead of its time in some regard, but still not close enough to the original for people to really get on board. That said, the “Tinker” colorway was pretty dope, and seeing D-Wade wear these on Christmas Day was also dope.

Robbie Says:
I still have my pair in storage. The collar was plush and supportive, the cut was perfect and the outsole retooling felt great under foot. Too bad they looked bad.

 

Air Jordan Mid Patent Leather

Air Jordan 1 Mid

Mike Says:
I’m glad to see Jordan Brand stepping up with the mids, but I’m not a fan of patent leather on them.

Nick Says:
Patent leather hasn’t been cool in a very long time. I don’t think anything besides the Air Jordan 11 and the 2003 releases need it at this point. If we can all agree on it, that would be greeaattt.

 

WMNS Air Jordan 1 Rebel XX

WMNS Air Jordan 1 Rebel ‘Top 3’

Mike Says:
It’s super dope that Jordan is showing more love to the lady sneakerheads. I kind of wish that they would stick to OG construction, but I can’t be mad at the switch up with these. I mean I almost bout the Top 3 colorway in my size since I missed out on the men’s release.

Nick Says:
These are weird enough that I can see them being cool. Maybe not for me, or for anyone I know. Or maybe not at all now that I think about it.

 

WMNS Air Jordan 1 High Zip

WMNS Air Jordan 1 High Zip ‘Vogue’

Nick Says:
I really think these have potential. If these were from a brand like Balenciaga or Gucci, people would be all about them. But at the same time, they’re only hurting the legacy of the Air Jordan 1.

Robbie Says:
Like Nick said these have potential and I’d love to see this idea expanded upon. I took the sheep mentality and listed these under the ‘uglies’ because many would think that way. I actually like the way they look, I’d appreciate a release with a magazine like GQ in mens sizing or something.

 

Air Jordan 1 Jester

WMNS Air Jordan 1 Jester

Mike Says:
Not these…ever. They look like superhero boots.

Nick Says:
Pretty sure if you looked these up on dictionary.com, it reads…this ain’t it. Also, that picture is the weirdest stance I’ve ever seen. Not really sure what the thought was behind this design and I don’t think I have seen anyone actually wearing them.

Robbie Says:
Are these from the set of “Batman Forever?”

 

Air Jordan 4LAB1

Air Jordan 4LAB1 ‘Glow’

Mike Says:
Please direct all questions about these to Robbie.

Robbie Says:
Thanks… Mike…
A pair of these are currently sitting in my closet and they work great in poor weather conditions. They were a gift from someone special so I’ll never get rid of them even though they’re an abomination. The concept was cool but the execution was poor.

 

FOR MORE AIR JORDANS, CHECK OUT:
The Best Air Jordan 4 Colorways of All Time
1-of-10 Air Jordan 1s Made for MJ’s 32nd Birthday

4 thoughts on “Air Jordan 1: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly”

  1. OG Highs are my first shoe ever. As a 80 baby I remember actually walking into a footlocker with my older brother and dad and we were looking for Magic and Bird converse weapons. They didn’t have our sizes and I remember the guy saying “we got these”? Being from New England and about 5/6 years old I really didn’t know Jordan. We were Magic Johnson and Celtics fans. I reluctantly took them. I went to the barbershop a week or two later and every older dude in there was giving me high fives and giving me a few dollars telling my pops I’m fresh as hell. My sneaker addiction was born 😂. Outside of the OG high I actually loved the AJKO. They were a good old looking alternative when I don’t want to wear OG’s . The lows, patent leather, and all those other variations weren’t for me. Now the 1.5 I had and I liked them but weren’t getting love. The ones I waited too long about was the Flyknit. They were dope and I just wanted to get them cheaper. They were underappreciated. Travis Scott and OFF WHITE pairs are lovely and I would love a pair but the price and are more importantly the serious amout of high quality fakes scare me. I just can’t spend that much money and not be sure they are real and I can’t deal with the fact everyone would think they were fake until proven otherwise (that same thought process goes about Yeezys).

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