Sneakerhead 101: The Best Jordans
Michael Jordan was the best player in the world and these are his best pairs of shoes
32 years ago the Chicago Bulls signed on a basketball player who would later become one of the all-time greats of the sport, if not the absolute greatest. This month, the world of basketball is celebrating that anniversary with the most hyped sneaker release in 2016: the return of the Banned Jordan 1 Breds (black-and-reds).
Air Jordan 1 Banned
Photo via Sneaker News
This legendary sneaker series debuted in 1984, releasing a different model each year. Decades later, the signature first shoes are back in their iconic colors, with hinted releases of classic colorways (Royal’s and Chicago’s) coming later this year. With all the buzz that this sneaker series is causing, even casual sneaker wearers would want to get in on the Jordan hype train.
If you’re not a sneakerhead however, as hyped as the 1s are, they’re not the best Jordans of all time. That title goes to the Air Jordan XI.
Air Jordan XI Retro Low
Photo via Jumpman Kicks
The Air Jordan XI are considered by many-many popular sneakerheads like Brad Hall, Tom Stefaniuk and even Michael Jordan himself to be one of the, if not the classiest pair in the shoe line. While the shoe line’s motto, “class act” might hint at why people think this way, the shoe’s history goes so much deeper than that.
The pair was designed by Tinker Hatfield (one of Nike’s head designers and one of the most iconic people in the shoe-making industry) just because he wanted to try out including patent leather (the glossy type of leather) in a shoe design, an idea that would revolutionize how sneakers were made after then. The natural leather shine highlighted the silky white color of the shoes unlike no other pair at the time. Wearing these babies in the 90s got everyone drooling, even without the association with the legendary basketball player.
The XI’s were the pair that Michael wore throughout his sudden return from retirement. He said that he prefers them for their comfort, performance and iconic style. From the top, we have its leather-upper and mesh tongue tied together beautifully with thick, crisp laces. The patent leather hugs the entirety of the base line highlighting the translucent sole and Jordan’s 23 at the heel.
If you must cop a pair after seeing these, be warned however that most Jordans and other rare sneakers are difficult to find in retail. Your chances would be better buying from actual collectors at sneakerhead conventions. The price can go as high as P10,000 or more for a pair of the more coveted designs.
Air Jordan 11 Retro 'Legend Blue'
Photo via Sneaker Bar Detroit
If you’ve got the dough and can actually find a fan willing to part with his XIs, we recommend copping the Retro Legend Blue (commonly known as Columbia) because of how well the light blue sole complements the elegance of the white patent leather and how subtly it hides the jumpman (the iconic image of Michael Jordan’s dunk).
If you can’t find these retros, there’s always the latest releases, with the series’ most recent one in 2016—the “Anti-gravity Machines” Air Jordan XXXI.
The “Anti-gravity Machines” Air Jordan XXXI.
Photo via Twitter
If you think these are just shoes, then you’re not paying attention to the rich culture and community that is this sneakerhead collection. Even if you’re no more than a basketball fan, you have to have respect for these signature kicks, and the man and the history they represent. Buying a pair of Jordans these days isn’t just an ode to the legendary series; it’s the comeback we’ve all been waiting to see.