The Nike Air Jordan Is a Big Fat Slap in the Face to the Anti-Sneaker Movement14.12.2021.
At what age does something become “classic”? Ten years? Twenty? One hundred? Will some things, no matter their seniority, always fall short of classic status, like Crocs, and bandanas? After all, classic is a coveted status. To be classic is to be ageless. Classic things don’t buckle to trend-ing curves. They fly above them. So loafers, and sharp navy suits, and continental lagers. We’ll always enjoy these things.
And now, maybe (definitely), trainers. For decades, the casual alternative to proper, leather-soled shoes was seen as lesser. How could something worn by misanthropic teens stand toe-to-toe with their monochromatic, office-OK counterparts? Well, those misanthropic teens are now all grown up — and they can wear what they like to the office, if the office is even open. The Air Jordan 1 has grown up with them. And when we continue to buy a product that has existed, largely unchanged, for three decades, is that not the definition of a classic?
Introduced in 1984, the Air Jordan 1 is a basketball shoe first made for Michael Jordan (duh), then in his Chicago Bulls pomp. Thirty-three iterations later, the Air Jordan 1 remains one of Nike’s marquee trainers. Over the years there have been multiple colours, re-issues, re-re-reissues and redesigns, but the Air Jordan 1 has remained largely the same: tall, slightly boxy, and simple — especially when compared to the recent deluge of over-engineered sneaks. A new pair is soon to be released in a very formal shade of “bordeaux”. (Just how grown up is that?)
So classic is the Jordan 1 that there’s even a Christian Dior version, designed by Jordan obsessive Kim Jones, with its famous swoosh decorated in the maison’s monogram. It sold out instantly when it went on sale last year but, reassuringly, you can still get hold of a pair on resale sites, as long as you’re happy to drop ÂŁ10,000 on them.
Hype culture is alive and well, then. But where other trainers have peaked and troughed in terms of their value, Air Jordan 1 has only grown in stature. The Jordan 1 is not the only trainer to have attained classic status: Adidas Stan Smiths, Converse Chuck Taylors, New Balance 990s. There’s a classic Reebok called the Reebok Classic. And while other styles come and go, these retain their appeal: simple, and stylish.