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The History of the Air Jordan 1

the air jordan i
history of the air jordan i

It is the 1 that started it all! The Air Jordan 1 not only set up the path for Jordan Brand. It also helped to set up the path for sneaker culture as we know it today.

The 1 That Started It All

The Air Jordan 1 was designed by Peter Moore and was released in 1985. The release was tied to Michael Jordan’s rookie season in the NBA. The design of the Jordan 1 was rather simple and consistent with the other basketball shoes of the era. The Jordan 1 lacked the sophisticated technology that the Jordan Brand would be known for with later installments. Nike was dedicated to giving Michael Jordan his own shoe and brand to grow with. That commitment is clear when you view the shoe’s distinctive logo. Moore designed a wings symbol, a precursor to the Jumpman logo, that was placed on the upper ankle of the shoe.


Peter Moore was inspired by flight when it came to designing the Wings logo. Obviously, flight made sense when you are talking about “Air Jordan.” Moore was thinking about what the logo should look like while on an airplane. He was deep in thought when he spotted a little kid that was wearing a pin on his shirt. The pin was a pair of captain wings. Moore then stared sketching the Wings logo. He added the basketball to make it uniquely Air Jordan.

A Legend

Peter Moore made many contributions to the sneaker world outside of the Air Jordan 1. But due to the sheer impact of the Air Jordan line on the industry, that will be the thing he is always remembered for. In 2022, Peter Moore passed away. When people look back at the legacy of the Air Jordan line, and the industry, Moore is a name that is often forgotten. His impact on the Air Jordan line, and the industry, is legendary.

michael jordan in air jordan 1 breds
michael jordan in air jordan 1s
air jordan 1s on foot on court
michael jordan dunking in air jordan 1s

The Business Of The 1

Michael Jordan signed an endorsement contract with Nike for $2.5 million his rookie year. That looks like clearance aisle pricing today, but at the time many felt MJ, an unproven rookie, did not deserve a contract that large.


When sneakerheads think of the Jordan 1 and colorways, they usually first think of the Jordan 1 “Banned.” The Banned, also known as the “BRED,” featured a black, red, and white colorway. The shoe received that Banned nickname because every time Jordan laced them up, he was fined $5,000 per game.


Today, the NBA allows players to wear almost any shoe they want, no matter the colors or design. In 1985, the league was far more conservative when it came to shoes and the Air Jordan 1 Banned violated league uniform rules. There has been talk that the Banned legend is more fiction than reality. With many

speculating that it was all a marketing ploy by the geniuses at Nike. Regardless of the validity of the story, the Banned saga helped to make the Air Jordan 1 a legend.

The 1 Legacy

Every great story must have an opening chapter. For the legend of Jordan Brand, its first chapter is the Air Jordan 1. The simplicity of the shoe in many ways makes it even more poetic and fitting as a first chapter. In 1985, nobody could have dreamed Michael Jordan would become the greatest basketball player of all time. They also never could have dreamed how influential and successful the Air Jordan sneaker franchise would become either. The Air Jordan 1 is literally the 1 that started it all.


- Adam C. Better

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