Out of the Shadows

The Air Jordan 1 has transcended Nike’s basketball category and now reigns as a pillar within shoe/fashion/streetwear scenes. Rightfully so, the Jordan 1 started it all for Michael and Nike… the rest is literally history, but, with a current catalog of 32 numbered shoes the Jordan 1 consistently ranks as one of the best. People oblivious to shoes can still recognize a pair of 1’s as Jordans; that’s how culturally relevant Michael’s Banned kicks have become.

A majority of collectors and casual fans alike are familiar with the red/white (Chicago), black/red (BRED) and blue/white (Royal). This trinity has been retro’ed fifteen times in total. While lesser known colorways like today’s star, the Shadow 1’s have only retro’ed three times. But that’s about to change, on April 14th Jordan Brand is bringing it back in OG fashion. Before they drop next month, lets take a look back at how the shoe has changed over the years.

1. The 1985 OG

via Shoeporic

Other than the yellowed outsole, 33 years looks never looked sooo good.

via JordansDaily

The large, perforated toe box took up a lot of real-estate giving it a full, round, shape.

via JordansDaily

Nostalgia at its finest. Immediately after seeing an OG pair of 1’s, the shape makes you feel some kind of way. This year’s edition offers the best imitation but the swoosh swooshes more dramatically. 1985’s OG materials are quality and for being 30 years old, the uppers tend to stay in tact minus cracking and peeling. Jordan’s Wings logos on the ankles sit on the leather rather than being pressed. Overall, the build of the original release has never truly been replicated.

2. The 2009 Jumpman Branded Retro

Switching up materials completely, Jordan Brand opted to utilize a much more contoured black leather. Along the heel and collar shadow grey leather was replaced with a soft, textured suede unlike any other Shadow on this list.

From this angle you can see the black leather trim is a bit thicker and the perforation pattern changed slightly.

2009 retro images via Shi2p

Man, these are not the original at all! But, at the time of release this was how 1’s came. Distancing the brand from Nike resulted in the ‘Nike Air’ being replaced on the tongue for a Jumpman; the same logoing would be placed on the heel. The iconic Wings symbol on the ankle received a makeover by ditching the black and adding an embossed detail. These don’t get the love they deserve; deviating from the OG resulted in collectors clamoring for the original build to return.

3. The 2013 OG Retro

Even though they were marketed as an OG retro of the original, the cut is noticeably lower than the 1985. From a materials standpoint, the leather used wasn’t as supple or rich as 2009 release, but collectors tend to prefer this version over the 2009 still (though the materials are inferior).

Hype built up this version because JB removed the Jumpman logo from the heel. Its iconic swoosh also slimmed down becoming more narrow and resting further away from the eye stay.

After years of impatiently waiting Jordan blessed sneakerheads in 2013 by reintroducing OG colorways with true OG branding. Original high cut, Nike Air on the tongue… took ’em 28 years but JB gave the people what they asked for!

4. The 2018 Remastered OG Retro

Returning back to tradition, 2018’s Shadows provide the most accurate ankle height. A truer shade of grey provides the subtle pop this colorway is famous for.

Keeping with current trends of recent memory, the Jordan 1 Shadow comes unlaced. This angle provides the best look at the toe box, which appears to be the same quality as last month’s Bred Toe 1’s – the black leather also appears to be less shiny.

2018 retro images via Pinoe77

When the last OG retro of the Shadow 1 released it sold out instantly while still feeling underrated. Since releasing in 2013, the Air Jordan 1 as a whole has been a focal point of Jordan Brand; while this has always been true, JB obviously listened to the community’s thirst for OG releases. After waiting decades for original 1’s fans are being treated to multiple OG colorways (and new colorways w/OG branding) annually. Where do you rank the Shadow 1’s among all the Jordan 1’s? Tell us in the comments below if you plan on buying a pair in April.

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