During the early 2000s, the resurgence of retro culture had firmly established itself, completely taking over Jordan Brand and this trend has persisted without pause. Jordan Brand's original consumers had matured with the brand, developing a keen appetite for nostalgia. Sensing this demand, Jordan Brand actively embraced it, going to great lengths to transform its sneakers into coveted, collectable pieces of history. In a particular year, they introduced various limited-edition colourways of the Air Jordan 1, each accompanied by a distinctive woven tag on the back of the tongue, featuring an individualized number.
One such release was the "Black/Red" colorway, with a limited production run of 38,345 pairs. This edition came with a special "Retro Card" underscoring the significance of the Air Jordan 1 in the heritage of Jordan Brand. Additionally, it featured a chrome Jumpman connected through the eyelets. Remarkably, from a material, pattern, and fit perspective, this iteration mirrored the 1994 version, including the presence of a nubuck swoosh.
It's worth noting that the production volume of 38,345 units is notably low. To put it into context, consider that the "72-10" Air Jordan XI from the previous year had over one million pairs manufactured. In stark contrast, the 2001 Black/Red Jordan 1 barely made it to market, underscoring its exclusivity and desirability among enthusiasts.
After an eight-year hiatus, Jordan reintroduced the black/red colourway as a part of the "Defining Moments Pack," designed to commemorate the legendary night when Michael Jordan scored 63 points against the Celtics in the first round of the 1986 NBA Playoffs. The pack also included a "Black/Green/White" colourway as a subtle homage to the Celtics.
Regrettably, by numerous assessments, this particular Air Jordan 1 retro is widely regarded as the least impressive. The overall material quality fell short of expectations, contributing to its reputation as one of the less favourable renditions in the Air Jordan 1 lineup.
In 2013 the Air Jordan 1 Black/Red was found to be more fonded by the public. While the pattern, height, and fit faithfully mirrored the original, maintaining the iconic shape and stance, there were notable deviations. The use of smoothed leather, featuring a stipple grain akin to the 2009 version, marked a departure from the original aesthetic. Despite an improvement in leather quality, a polyurethane coating was introduced. Typically employed to address imperfections in leather hides, such as branding scars, polyurethane also impacts the leather's color. In this instance, the polyurethane application resulted in a slightly brighter red hue compared to the original, adding a distinctive touch to the retro release.
In 2016, Jordan decided to remaster the AJ1 BRED once again, pretty much hitting perfection. In terms of materials, the closest comparison we've witnessed to the 2016 Banned Jordan release is the Shattered Backboard 1s from 2015, distinguished by a full aniline leather upper in black, red, and white. Aniline leather stands out due to its natural tanning and dyeing process, avoiding excessive manufacturing. This type of leather allows you to observe and feel the authentic grain, providing a genuine texture. The incredibly smooth texture of the leather almost feels damp to the touch. In contrast, subpar leather finishes tend to be dry and lack depth in their grain, often because they are coated in polyurethane.
Moreover, the colouration of the Remastered black/red Air Jordan 1 is achieved through a natural dyeing process. Natural dyes permeate the leather more authentically, resulting in a richer and more nuanced color. Though challenging to articulate precisely, a noticeable contrast can be observed by comparing it to the 2009 version, where the colour exhibited a shiny gloss that didn't convey a sense of high quality. This particular issue has been addressed in the 2016 rerelease, promising an improved and more authentic aesthetic.
Now in 2023, drawing inspiration from the iconic Air Jordan 'Flight Suit' warm-up ensemble that a young Michael Jordan sported in 1985, the WMNS Air Jordan I High 'Satin Bred' releases and pays homage to previous coveted colourways while adding a sleek twist:
Recalling the essence of the inaugural AJI 'Satin Bred' released in 2016, a limited edition comprising just 501 pairs, this iteration swaps out traditional leather panels for a visually striking satin upper adorned in Red, White, and Black hues. Accentuating the design, embroidered Wings logos grace the lateral ankle flaps, complemented by Nike Air tongue tags, all set atop a white foam midsole and a vibrant red rubber outsole to complete the ensemble.
The BRED and BANNED series of colourways are some of the most historically profound sneaker colourways and lines in history. It represents what started it all, the rebellious and rag-team nature of Nike’s basketball division in the late 80s/early 90s which worked perfectly with Michael Jordan’s no-nonsense attitude and strive to “be different” from the rest.