The beloved Air Jordan 1 silhouette has sadly decreased in popularity over the last year and a half. It’s become more of a sneakerhead shoe over the Godzilla-like hype it used to hold. Nevertheless Jordan Brand has brought us some notable releases in 2023 with some of them showing unique craftsmanship and even being candidates for sneaker of the year.
Air Jordan 1 “Next Chapter”
Cultural crossovers are always exciting and for the second time, Jordan Brand joined forces with Marvel and the Spider-Verse franchise to reimagine the legendary Air Jordan 1 "Chicago” colourway” This partnership delved deeper into the multiverse theme, drawing inspiration from the narrative of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse cinematic title. Departing from the previous comic-book-style patterns, the new design embraced a distinctive array of glitch stylings, creating a visually unique aesthetic. What set this iteration apart, was the integration into the film itself. The sneaker blended and became a part of the cinematic universe, elevating the collaboration to new heights of creativity and cultural crossover.
Union LA x Bephies Beauty Supply x Air Jordan 1 High
Since releasing its highly expensive and sought-after Air Jordan 1 pack in 2018, Union LA has cemented the brand as a high-end collaborator. While subsequent offerings may not have surpassed the pinnacle set by the 2018 release, Union continues to impress with its ability to innovate within the saturated Air Jordan 1 landscape. This year, Union embarked on another venture with the iconic silhouette, partnering with Jordan Brand and Bephies Beauty Supply for a three-way collaboration that included the 1 Elevate High SP. Putting a fresh spin on the OG "Neutral Grey" 1s, Union revisited signature details from the 2018 pairs, such as a yellow logo tab and green stitching on the collar. The craftsmanship shown for this sneaker is what stands out. The woven knit seamlessly extends from heel to toe creating a baseball feel. While melding an Air Jordan 1 with a Footscape Woven may seem unconventional, the execution was surprisingly successful. For those sceptical based on leaked images, a hands-on experience is highly recommended. Union's latest endeavour might just be the catalyst to change minds and redefine expectations going forward for this iconic sneaker.
Travis Scott Air Jordan 1 Low “Olive”
The prospect of yet another Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 Low might seem less enticing for those compiling a "Best Air Jordans of 2023" list. However, Travis Scott's collaborations continue to defy the current sneaker landscape, where sellouts and immediate flips are becoming increasingly rare. Despite rumours of a forthcoming "Black Olive" colourway in 2024 contributing to a sense of collaboration fatigue, Travis Scott remains the undisputed monarch of SNKRS, with his releases exhibiting a remarkable staying power. While these Air Jordan projects may not break new design boundaries, they undeniably remain relevant, popular, and, in their own right, exceptionally well-crafted. As we await the debut of the rapper's yet-to-be-named original silhouette next year, the recently released Air Jordan 1 Low, along with its Golf variation, serves as a reminder of Travis Scott's enduring influence and impact on the ever-evolving world of footwear.
Air Jordan 1 High 85 “Black/White”
Jordan Brand's Air Jordan 1 High 85 model, designed to faithfully replicate the original silhouette from 1985, had an unconventional introduction in early 2020 with releases from the "New Beginnings" pack, featuring flipped black/red and white/red iterations that deviated from the original colourways. However, more recent releases displayed a more intentional approach, including the return of the "Neutral Grey" OG and a well-received "Georgetown" makeup. This year, the brand introduced another original colourway a sleek black-and-white design that, despite drawing inevitable "Panda" comparisons, proved to be instantly wearable. While the timing may not have been perfect for such comparisons, it doesn't detract from the shoe's overall appeal. The Air Jordan 1 High 85 manages to secure its place among the top Jordans of the year, thanks to its timeless design and the brand's commitment to honouring the iconic 1985 silhouette which adds a nice classic touch.
CP3 x Air Jordan “Give Them Flowers”
One of the more interesting and understated releases of the year, Chis Paul opens his Air Jordan 1 Low account with what at first seemed to be a “CLOT” inspired rendition. The shoes showcase a grey rubber sole and a white midsole. The intriguing element lies in the uppers, where a floral pattern takes centre stage, with white and sail being the sole colours present. The design is complemented by a white Nike Swoosh and toebox. The tongue features the phrase "Give Them Flowers" in light blue, and beneath the semi-translucent sole, floral motifs can be observed.
Air Jordan 1 x Michelle Wie West “G Wave”
Wie West made an indelible mark on the golfing world since her debut in 2003, becoming the youngest player at just 13 to make a cut on the LPGA Tour. Her hunger for success led her to achieve historic feats, such as recording the lowest score ( which is a good thing in golfing) ever by a woman in a PGA TOUR event at the Sony Open in her native Hawaii. Over her 17-year career, she transitioned from a teenage sensation to a major championship winner and a dedicated working mother in the world of golf. In celebration of these remarkable accomplishments, the limited edition sneakers pay homage to the "Waves" Wie West created in professional golf and sports. The distinctive "Wave" motif takes center stage on the Swooshes, while the high-top profile of the Jordan 1 aligns perfectly with Wie West's preference for such silhouettes throughout her career. Personalised details include her daughter's initials on the right tongue tab and the word "Mom" in Korean on the left. Additional thoughtful touches include a removable ball marker with "Just Do It" written in both English and Korean on the laces, and "Aloha" emblazoned on the outsoles, which is a nod to Wie West's Korean and Hawaiian heritage.
The beloved Air Jordan 1 silhouette has decreased in popularity over the last year and a half. It’s become a sneakerhead shoe over the Godzilla-like hype it used to hold. Nevertheless Jordan Brand has brought us some notable releases in 2023 with some showing unique craftsmanship and even some being candidates for sneaker of the year.