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The History Of The Air Jordan 2

the air jordan ii
history of the air jordan ii

The Air Jordan 2 made its debut in 1986. The II was designed by Bruce Kilgore and Peter Moore. The Air Jordan II isn’t as beloved as other early Jordan models, but it still is a significant shoe in the Jordan Brand legacy. Learn more about the Air Jordan II below.

The II

When the Air Jordan II was released in 1986 Nike viewed the sneaker as a more sophisticated model than the Air Jordan 1. It was designed to be stylish, and to appeal to consumers beyond the basketball court. The II was made available in a high and low silhouette. Nike wanted the Jordan II to be different than the Air Jordan I. One difference that shocked consumers was the price tag of the 2. The Air Jordan 2 had a retail price of $100.

One Hundred

In 1986, $100 for a pair of sneakers was mind blowing. It was even more surprising for consumers since the Air Jordan 1 was reasonably priced at $65. The II did not have a Nike Swoosh on it. Today, The Jordan Brand has no Nike branding, unless it is calling back to a vintage release. But, when the II was originally released, no Nike Swoosh was newsworthy. Especially when you look at the 1 and how prominent the Swoosh was. This shows that incredibly early on Nike was looking at the Air Jordan line as its own viable entity.

mj in the aj2 playing basketball

Premium Quality

Nike really wanted the II to be a higher quality and more exclusive sneaker than the 1. The Air Jordan II featured premium leather and faux iguana skin. It would have been easy for Nike to have followed the tremendous success of the 1 with a sneaker that was similar. But the Air Jordan II was a much different shoe than its predecessor, which was Nike’s goal. The II helped to establish the risk taking that is so important to the Air Jordan franchise. The II was not as successful as the I in terms of sales, but it is an important piece of the Air Jordan culture. It showed that Jordan Brand was not afraid to mix things up, regardless of how successful a past formula was.

MJ & The II

Michael Jordan took his game to new levels while wearing the Air Jordan II. Jordan averaged 37 points a game and won his first scoring title in the shoe. MJ also won his very first dunk contest while wearing the Air Jordan II. Jordan’s game, and legend, grew greatly while he was wearing the Air Jordan II.

The II Today

The Air Jordan II does not get the widespread love that other Jordan models receive. But it still is an important piece of the Air Jordan legacy. One of the biggest cultural achievements of the II is being worn by Bill Murray in the classic film, Space Jam. That film is of course tied to the heritage of Michael Jordan. In 2023, the Air Jordan II released in notable colorways like the “Christmas,” “Italy,” and the “Black Cement.”

You can find Jordan Brand products, and the latest Air Jordan II models, at Shoe Palace.


- Adam C. Better

mj in the aj2 in a commercial
mj in the aj2 chicago