Ten of the Best!
We love a good top ten list. And we also love the Air Jordan 1. So it was only a matter of time before we decided to sit down and debate out our 10 Best Air Jordan 1s of All-Time.
Sure, it was a painful process, sifting through decades upon decades and hundreds upon hundreds of colorways is no mean feat. There were tantrums, tears, and moments of not speaking to each other (sometimes for days on end) but we got there — eventually.
So here it is, HOUSE OF HEAT’s Top 10 Air Jordan 1s of All-Time:
10. Air Jordan 1 High OG “Patent Leather”
2013’s Patent Leather Air Jordan 1 was, and still is, something else.
Initially released in 2003 as part of the “Patent” pack, the black and gold colorway had brewed up its iconic status for the following ten years. Its popularity forced Jordan Brand’s hand into a retrospective release of sorts in 2013. Jumpman brought the colorway back that year with a few tweaks; The colorway was given true OG status with a high top cut and Nike Air branding, and the addition of a translucent gum sole and stark white midsole. It as even better than the first — by a mile. The release also inspired last year’s ultra-exclusive “Top 3” and subsequent “Gold Toe” Patent leather options. While both were nice, but they could never quite live up to 2013’s perfect patent pair.
9. Fragment x Air Jordan 1 High OG
In the lead up to the 30th anniversary of the Air Jordan 1, Jordan Brand linked up with Hiroshi Fujiwara’s Fragment Design to help introduce the “Remastered” Air Jordan 1 signature line. The updated take on the silhouette saw the return of high-quality materials to the Air Jordan 1, as well as a ton of killer colorways. The newly remastered materials were reminiscent of vintage qualities of the OG 1985 Air Jordan 1. Fragment Design took the remastering a step further by fusing two of the silhouette’s best OGs in one seriously superb collaboration.
8. Air Jordan 1 High OG “Metallic Pack”
Well, it didn’t take us long to arrive at an OG, and what better place to start than the 1985’s Metallic Pack.
While many sneakerheads continue to complain about Jordan Brand for dropping endless non-Bulls colorways of the One, the truth is that it’s been a Jumpman practice since the silhouette incepted in 1985.
In addition to the classic “Chicago” inspired releases of the Air Jordan 1, Nike also released the Royal, Shadow, UNC, Storm Blue, and several white-based Metallic colorways of the sneaker that, for the most part, had absolutely nothing to do with the Bulls.
So, stop complaining. In fact, the only thing you should be complaining about is not getting a retro of the full Metallic Pack.
7. Nike SB x Air Jordan 1 High OG
This is what a true collaboration looks like folks.
Skaters have always had love for the Air Jordan 1. Its flat, grippy and rocks a higher cut to save them ankles. It may have taken Jordan Brand 29 years to acknowledge that officially, but they finally did in 2014 when they partnered up with Nike SB for a trio of special edition OG Highs.
Jordan and Nike SB shared their historical story through three separate collaborations, one with artist Craig Stecyk and two with skater Lance Mountain. Stecyk’s iridescent green rendition paid tribute to the skate scene in 1982, and Mountain’s black and white pairs paid tribute to the original Air Jordan 1s.
But most importantly, the kicks were encouraged to be worn, skated in and beaten up, with the Lance Mountains donning a special rub-away upper that would reveal itself with wear.
6. Just Don x Air Jordan 1 High Strap “BHM”
Kanye West’s manager, designer, and Chicagoan Don C put his unique spin on the Air Jordan 1 in 2013 as part of Jordan Brand’s Black History Month celebration. In classic Don C style, the designer went with a premium finish, and a fully blacked out design that told a Black History story through texture, Don C’s Air Jordan 1 was auctioned off in support of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Association Of America. Only 37 pairs of the sneaker were created, but rarity doesn’t play a factor with this sneaker, it’s design, execution and it’s purpose trump that.
5. Air Jordan 1 High OG “Shattered Backboard”
No other non-OG, non-collaborative sneaker has caused anywhere near the same impact than 2015’s “Shattered Backboard” Air Jordan 1 High OG. Still fetching around $1000 in the aftermarket, it’s popularity has not wained for a single day since its release. It’s spawned countless spin-off colorways on the Jordan 1 High, Mid and Low, with a third Backboard OG HIgh scheduled for 2019.
Hell, people still compare the quality of every release to this pair— “is it SBB quality tho?”
Perhaps it’s the linked story (which isn’t that significant,) maybe it’s just the perfectly balanced colorway, or perhaps it’s the quality materials; but the SBB simply is the greatest GR of the Air Jordan 1s history.
Excluding the OGs, of course.
4. OFF-WHITE X Air Jordan 1 High OG
There’s not anything to say about the OFF-WHITE x Air Jordan 1 that hasn’t already been said. So we’ll keep it simple: Its audacious design took on one of the most iconic Jordan 1 colorways of all-time, and the market sucked it up. And its timing was impeccable. It came right at the moment where Jordan Brand’s sales were in decline, overtaken by adidas the year prior. People were sick of wearing the same old retros, sick of the same sneaker releasing time and time again. Jordan Brand needed something big, something new; something revolutionary. And this, as Chief says, was it.
This was the first time Mike and co. gave up full control of their silhouette for a collaboration — that move was iconic in itself.
The success of Virgil Abloh’s entire “The Ten” Collection spurred on the biggest sneaker collaboration collection in history, putting JB and Nike back on the map, leaving adidas wondering what the fuck happened.
3. Air Jordan 1 High OG “Black Toe”
Back into the OGs now, and to one of the most memorable photos of the Air Jordan 1 campaign. You just can’t beat the OG Back, White and Red . . .
2. Air Jordan 1 High OG “Royal”
. . . Unless we’re talking about the Royal.
1. Air Jordan 1 High OG “Chicago” & “Bred”
But there are two OGs that which will forever remain a tier above the rest.
We really couldn’t split these two — not even Jordan Brand could, dedicating the “Homage to Home” colorway to both pairs.
Most will say Banned is better, but only because they’re suckers for marketing. Both of these sneakers were pivotal for Jordan Brand and Nike’s future
The sneakers were so far ahead of its time from a color standpoint that the NBA banned the sneaker from the professional court. Michael Jordan was fined for wearing the “Bred” colorway on the court, as it was deemed to be “too colorful” at the time. To facilitate the Leagues demands, Nike added more white to the sneaker, and the “Chicago” colorway was born. These two go hand-in-hand; The Chi’s court time and the controversy surrounding the “Bred,” made the Air Jordan 1 one of the most recognizable and influential sneakers of all-time.