The History of Michael Jordan Shoes

Probably no other athletic shoes can generate such impact as strong as the Michael Jordan shoes, known more popularly as the “Air Jordan” shoes.

Since the launch of the Air Jordan shoes, they have become an intricate part of the sports shoes and sneakers game. For much of its history, the Air Jordan shoes are really popular. In fact, you will be surprised (and slightly amused) to learn that a lot of people wanted these shoes so much that it has led to serious fighting and riots among shoppers.

The Air Jordan shoes have retained their popularity even after NBA legend Michael Jordan retired from professional playing. They shoes are available in various designs and colors. They are manufactured and marketed by Nike, a major name in sports wear industry. Even Jordan himself would have never anticipated how popular the Air Jordan shoes would become, but each subsequent version of his own shoe line is as popular as the last version.

The future Chicago Bulls superstar inked a deal with Nike in 1984 to endorse his own brand of basketball shoes known as the “Air Jordan” shoes. Before Jordan entered the picture, Nike had been a struggling brand so the Jordan shoe deal really turned the company around. You may say that the Air Jordan shoes were the ones that ultimately built Nike’s name and reputation. But if not for Jordan’s manager, the deal would not have been happened (Jordan personally preferred shoes by Adidas and Converse).

Jordan signed a five-year endorsement contract with Nike, which netted him $2.5 million, plus royalties and other benefits. You could say that’s a huge amount of money for an athlete who hasn’t proven himself yet on the professional level. The first Air Jordan’s were priced at $65 a pair and featured a winged basketball logo. The NBA banned the black-and-red Air Jordan’s for not complying with the league’s strict policy on uniforms and colors. But Jordan sported these shoes anyway and as a result, he was meted with a $5,000-per-game fine. Nike paid the fines and Jordan rocked these shoes all the way to winning his Rookie of the Year award.

At this point, Jordan wished to void the contract. But after Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield asked Jordan for his input into the shoe, Jordan made up his mind to stay committed to the brand. What changed his mind? It was the Air Jordan III. The Air Jordan III was the first Air Jordan shoe to feature a visible air unit on the heel as well as the Jumpman logo (following Jordan’s victory at the 1986-1987 Slam Dunk competition). Since Hatfield knew that Jordan was into luxury, he incorporated an elephant print trim and tumble leather to these shoes which gave them a luxurious look. The Air Jordan III was designed based on Jordan’s suggestion to have it a ¾ cut. The materials used for the shoe were also lighter than average, which made wearing them more comfortable. The change proved to be quite popular, and a lot of the Air Jordan III units flew off the shelves.

Hatfield and Jordan continued to work on Air Jordan shoes the Air Jordan XV. By 1997, the Air Jordan had become Nike’s sub-brand. As you may have noticed, you do not see Nike’s name or Nike’s “Swoosh” logo on every iteration of Air Jordan shoes, for the exception of the Air Jordan I. While the shoes have changed their technology and design over the years, they are met with very much the same enthusiasm. Many people wonder if Nike would be as big and popular without its connection to Michael Jordan and the Air Jordan. The latest version of the Air Jordan, the Air Jordan XXXII (32) was released in September 2017, marking another year of partnership between Nike and Michael Jordan. The Air Jordans are much more than just a fashion statement – they are developed and engineered for optimum performance. People who have bought these shoes are proud to say that they are part of the Air Jordan’s history, even in their own small way.

A lot of research has gone to these shoes so when they first came out, they were really expensive. But with the widespread adoption of these shoes and the introduction of new and improved technologies, the Air Jordan shoes have become much more affordable now. You can even score a pair of genuine Air Jordan shoes for less than a hundred dollars.