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The History of the Air Jordan 1 BRED

michael jordan wearing air jordan 1 bred while playing
air jordan 1 bred

When it comes to sneakers, there are not many that stand the test of time like the iconic Air Jordan 1 “BRED.” The Chicago inspired version of the 1, in Black and Varsity Red, is commonly referred to as the "Banned" Air Jordan sneaker. Why does this Air Jordan 1 BRED, or Banned, stand out when compared with so many other iconic Air Jordan models?


By now everyone knows the infamous tale of how this pair of Jordan 1 shoes revolutionized and transformed the league. But, just in case you don’t, I will give you a quick rundown. David Stern, the NBA Commissioner at the time, banned the Air Jordan 1 BRED because it violated the league's strict uniform code. Nike capitalized on the opportunity and paid for Michael Jordan’s fine ($5,000 per game) to play in the most rebellious shoes the league had ever seen. The more the NBA fought, the bigger the hype gravitated towards the sneakers, and as they say, the rest is history.

A Sneaker For The Rebel

The BRED colorway is probably the most recognizable colorway and model of the Jordan line. Not only did the shoe itself cause controversy, but also the marketing behind it. The commercial for the Air Jordan Banned is very comparable to Apple’s Super Bowl commercial that premiered in 1984 where they took aim at tech giant IBM. With IBM being the villain in the computer industry, Steve Job’s Apple constructed a commercial campaign that played Apple as the heroic company that’s here to break the norm. Nike followed similar paths with their Banned Commercial painting the NBA as a malicious villain who didn’t want you to wear the BRED sneakers. Even stating in the commercial, “The NBA threw them out the game; fortunately, the NBA can’t stop you from wearing them.”

From that point, the Jordan Bred became the sneaker for the rebels, and people wore them proudly knowing that “they” didn’t want you to have them.

kylie jenner in air jordan 1 high bred
kendrick lamar in air jordan 1 high bred
dj khalid in air jordan 1 high bred
kanye west in air jordan 1 high bred

Your Favorite Celebrities Love Them!

Celebs like Kylie Jenner, Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar, DJ Khaled and Kanye West have all been seen rocking the infamous BRED 1. It is an undeniable shoe that every sneaker celebrity must have in their collection if they want to take their collection seriously. Over the years, it seems the Jordan 1 has become unrelated to basketball and more synonymous with lifestyle thanks to fashion forward celebrities who can be seen stepping out in the sneaker. As the years went on, we started seeing the Jordan 1 sneaker at fashion shows, red carpet premiers, and on the big screen. All in all, I think we can contribute a lot of the Jordan 1’s fashion impact to celebrities who have helped to keep the shoe connected to the culture, especially to a generation who has never seen Michael Jordan play basketball.

It never loses value... ask StockX

Out of all the variations and re-releases that Jordan has put out throughout the years, not many Jordan sneakers have kept there worth more so than the Jordan Bred 1. It is almost comparable to a Rolex, how time just increases its value (no pun intended). It is also a shoe that Nike is very selective about when releasing. No matter the price, or release date, the Jordan Bred 1 is always set to sellout every single time. The Jordan Bred 1 hasn’t been released since 2016.

The Air Jordan 1 Bred Today

The Air Jordan 1 is constantly getting rereleased every year. But the Bred 1 is special. It hasn’t been brought back in more than 5 years, but when it enviably returns, expect chaos. Treat that day, whenever it may be, as if you’re flying back home for Thanksgiving. Come early and be prepared for delays and confusion. If you decide to skip the camping out and raffle tickets, then be prepared for website crashes, treacherous sneaker bots and freezing apps.

You can make a strong argument that the Air Jordan 1 BRED is the most important Jordan sneaker of all time. It started the cultural relevancy of Air Jordan sneakers and it’s a trend that is still firing on all cylinders today.


- Adam C. Better

The Air Jordan 1 Mid Bred Toe is set to release July 7, 2022.

aj1 mid bred toe

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