Some cynics still ask the question, are Nike Air Jordan 1 worth it? Some might say it, well, depends how much are Jordan 1s? From our point of view, however, the short answer is a resounding yes. But to further expand our answer, allow us to explain the story of how the brand came to be, and what sets it apart from its contemporaries and its competitors, making them still the must have sneakers of 2023.

The Air Jordan origin story and its accompanying lore has never been as prominent as it is in 2023. For those uninitiated, you could be forgiven for relegating the brands history to a footnote. The truth however, is that the court shoes inception and continual evolution, down to the last detail, has become the subject of mainstream media, and major public interest – and for good reason.

The captivating source material has inspired the recently released movie ‘Air’ starring A-listers like Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Viola Davis. As well as the hugely popular Netflix biopic miniseries ‘The Last Dance’ from back in 2020. Both of which have elevated the aura surrounding the brands titular muse and subsequent empire. Making every nuanced detail surrounding each Air Jordan product all the more lucid and alluring to an already massive but constantly expanding fan base.

Attempting to observe the true scale of something as immensely successful as the Jordan brand isn’t necessarily the simplest of tasks. But by zooming out, what is more easily observed is an upward trajectory that began in 1984, and has rarely plateaued en route to industry defining, and ‘GOAT’ like status akin to the man the brand is made for. Success can often be argued as subjective depending on the metric used in which to measure it. In the case of Air Jordan however, the numbers make it hard not to see it as an objective truth. Jordan’s first contract with Nike netted him by todays standards a rather diminutive $500,000 a year. Fast forward to 2023 and he has made an estimated $1.6 billion from Air Jordan, which equated to a lot of pairs, considering how much Jordan 1s are.

In the decade that MJ was drafted, Nike was not the dominant brand it is today. At the time, brands like Adidas and Converse were more commonly seen on and off the court. Adidas led the field in revenue, while Converse boasted hoop superstars like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson to their roster. As the story goes, this all changed when Michael Jordan exposed his talents to a global audience winning a gold medal for his country at the 1984 Olympic games. Subsequently signing a deal that propelled Nike from track athletics to hardwood, and enabled this 8th seed underdog to start dunking on the competition.

At the time, few would have been able to predict the true extent of the influence both Jordan as a player, and the brand were going to have in the years that were yet to come. The instant impact Air Jordan was able to make however, wasn’t all by luck or chance. Instead, the moves Nike made were precise, calculated, and the marketing campaign that coincided with the endorsement by the basketball prodigy would go down as one of the shrewdest in history.

Nike were able to make the Air Jordan brand infamous way before MJ ever laced up a pair in the public eye. They achieved this by capitalising on some widely reported misinformation surrounding the brands debut shoe. What Nike led its fan base to believe, or rather, what they didn’t bother correcting was the misconception that the NBA had banned Michael Jordan from wearing the Air Jordan 1 on the court. In reality, the banned shoe was not the AJ1, which wasn’t seen until it emerged on the hardwood at Madison Square Garden on October 18th 1984, during a preseason game against the New York Knicks. Instead, it was a pair of black and red Nike Air Ships which Jordan had been previously sporting that had received the ban off the back of the now-abolished NBA ‘uniformity of uniform’ rule, which essentially required that all players wear sneakers that both, matched the team uniform and their teammates footwear.

How much are jordan 1s?

When was Air Jordan 1 released?

Nike didn’t let the truth get in the way of a good story however, and the brand used the phantom ban of their flagship product to their advantage. The marketing in the lead up to the public release of the debut Air Jordan 1 which occurred on April 1st 1985 was pretty exclusively framed around the supposedly banned shoes increasing notoriety. Opting to lean into suggestions that the shoe was “too hot for the NBA to handle”, irrespective of the fact the Air Jordan 1 released to the public would be NBA legal, arriving in the now iconic ‘Chicago’ colourway designed to match the Bulls team colours.

Why are Air Jordan 1s so expensive? 

How much are Jordan 1s you may still be asking. Well, the original Air Jordan 1 retailed at $65, and Nike estimated that they’d sell about 100,000 pairs by the end of the first year on the market. The actual sales numbers were astronomically higher than this, with the 450,000 pairs being sold in the first month alone. A year on from the initial release of the shoe and Air Jordan had brought in revenue of $126 million, which far eclipsed the total revenue achieved by Nike the previously year ($65 million). Each year as the brand expanded, the numbers continue to outperform any kind of projection.

You might be asking yourself, in 2023, why are Jordan 1 Trainers so expensive? Well the reality of the situation is that the price of the majority of the Air Jordan product line isn’t too dissimilar to what it was when it was first released. The average retail price for most of the brands expansive catalogue is roughly between £115-150, which isn’t too far from what it was in 1985 if you take into account inflation. The perception that Jordan’s are expensive is as a result of the trainer resale market. As the footwear industry has become more and more lucrative, a common practice has emerged since the early 2000s, effectively limiting the availability of almost every new release by some degree. There are several reasons why brands do this, but ultimately, one of the main reasons is to ensure that demand always outweighs supply, making every release both hotly anticipated. Further enhancing the prestige associated with each of their product drops. This in turn drives the price up of the shoes on the secondary market, the less pairs there are available for purchase, the more valuable they become.

Where can I buy Air Jordan 1?

Particularly with the scarcity of availability for some of these drops on release day, the best place to buy Air Jordan 1s is at Laced, the leading UK-based platform for buying and selling coveted sneakers.