Michael Jordan is considered to be the best player to ever step on a basketball court and when you consider his contributions to the game, it’s hard to deny that argument. MJ was drafted by the Chicago Bulls back in 1984 and immediately signed a deal with Nike which allowed him to create his own signature shoe. With that, the Air Jordan 1 High OG was born and has managed to influence generations of sneakerheads ever since.
Despite there being 33 Air Jordan models, there is none more iconic than the silhouette of the Jordan 1. Over the years, there have been a plethora of colorways to grace this shoe but only a select few can live infamy as the greatest ever. With that being said, here are ten of the best Air Jordan 1 colorways of all-time.
Whether it be vibrant shoes that tell a story or simple models that pay homage to Chicago, there is truly something for everyone here.
Air Jordan 1 High OG “Chicago”
If you were to think of some of the most iconic shoes of all-time, the Air Jordan 1 High OG “Chicago” should definitely be on your list. This particular sneaker embraced the aesthetic of the Chicago Bulls with open arms and has had sneakerheads everywhere claiming the shoe as a “grail.”
As for the actual sneaker, it features red overlays on top of a white toe box and matching side panels. From there, a black Nike swoosh brings the entire Bulls motif together.
The last time these released was in 2015 and shoe aficionados are still praying for another drop sometime in the not so distant future.
Air Jordan 1 High OG “Bred” (Banned)
This colorway was a marketing dream for Nike at the time because of the NBA’s strict policies on the types of shoes you could wear. Every time Jordan would step onto the court with these, he would get fined and Nike ended up footing the bill. Thanks to the taboo nature of these shoes, Nike nicknamed them as the “Banned” colorway which formed an unrivaled mythos around the sneaker.
Once again, this shoe takes on the colors of the Chicago Bulls as the toe box, Nike swoosh, and back heel are red, while the rest is all black. To this day, the “Bred” colorway remains one of the best Air Jordan 1’s of all-time and was retroed back in 2016.
Air Jordan 1 High OG “Royal”
Venturing away from the Chicago Bulls colorways, the “Royal” model was one of the OG versions of the Air Jordan 1 and had a retro release back in 2017. It has the same color blocking as the “Bred” model except the the red parts are replaced with royal blue, as the name would suggest.
While this sneaker isn’t directly related to Michael Jordan in terms of his on-the-court accomplishments, there is something to be said about its simplicity. The “Royal” Air Jordan 1 looks great with any outfit and has been part of every sneakerheads wishlist for three decades.
Air Jordan 1 High OG “UNC”
The next shoe on this list pays homage to Michael Jordan’s alma mater, the University of North Carolina. Jordan played for the Tar Heels from 1981 to 1984 and even led the team to a National Championship in 1982. Once Jordan was signed to Nike, it was only a matter of time before his first signature shoe was given a colorway that honored the team that helped build his brand.
UNC is known for its powder blue and white jerseys and that’s exactly what you see on this shoe. The toe box and side panels of the sneaker are white, while the overlays, Nike swoosh, and back heel are a vibrant shade of powder blue. While it may not be the most popular colorway, it is one of the most easily recognizable. If you wear these out in public, you’ll be getting plenty of head nods from fellow sneakerheads.
Air Jordan 1 High OG “Gold Toe”
Patent leather is one of those materials that you either love or hate. It’s naturally glossy which means any shoe that uses it will be fairly flashy and not everyone likes standing out in such a way.
Regardless of how you feel about patent leather, there is no denying just how great the “Gold Toe” colorway is. The materials glisten all the way throughout as the gold toe box and back heel make this shoe truly shine. From there, black overlays and white side panels on the outside add a much-needed contrast to one of the best releases of 2018.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the shoe is the fact that the inside has a black side panel with a gold swoosh, as opposed to the black swoosh on the outside part. Flashy, yet classy.
Air Jordan 1 High OG “Shattered Backboard 1.0”
One of the best parts about certain Air Jordan 1 colorways is that they tell a story. For instance, the first “Shattered Backboard” colorway is modeled after the uniform Michael Jordan wore during an Italian exhibition game in 1986. During the match, Jordan went up for a dunk and ended up breaking the backboard, hence the name, “Shattered Backboard.”
Sneakerheads lost their minds when this colorway came out and now, the shoe is worth over $1000 USD on websites like StockX. The color blocking is interesting as well as the toe box and back heel are orange, while the overlays and Nike swoosh are black. From there, the side panels are white which adds some nice contrast to the overall look of the shoe. It’s easy to see why this is such a hit.
Air Jordan 1 High OG “Fragment”
The “Fragment” Air Jordan 1 is the only collaboration on this list and for some, it might actually be the best colorway on here. This model was a partnership with Fragment artist Hiroshi Fujiwara and brought forth a colorway that no one had ever seen before.
A white toe box and white side panels are complemented by black overlays and a blue heel which bears the Fragment logo. It’s a pretty simple colorway and that’s exactly what makes it so great. Not to mention, the number of pairs on the market was extremely limited which led to a ton of hype and some exorbitant resale prices, much to the chagrin of sneakerheads everywhere.
To this day, fans are still hoping for another “Fragment” collab but for now, they’ll just have to dream.
Air Jordan 1 High OG “Laney”
Jordan went to high school at Emsley A. Laney in Wilmington, North Carolina and as you would imagine, there was an Air Jordan 1 colorway released in its honor. The official colors of the school were blue and yellow which ended up being the main focus of this particular sneaker. Many of the models before contain black and white somewhere on the shoe but with the Air Jordan 1 “Laney,” that concept was thrown out the window.
This model has yellow overlays and a yellow Nike swoosh all while blue side panels and toe box dress up the rest of the sneaker. What makes this model stand out, even more, is the fact that the blue portions are made of suede as opposed to leather which is typically the standard on the Jordan 1. Once again, this is the perfect example of a shoe that tells a story.
Air Jordan 1 High OG “Rust Pink”
Back in December of 2017, Jordan Brand helped celebrate Art Basel in Miami by dropping two colorways of the Air Jordan 1. These new models were dubbed “Igloo” and “Rust Pink” with the latter model becoming the more popular of the two.
Seeing pink on an Air Jordan 1 for men was rare at the time and considering it was more of a salmon-type shade, sneakerheads were intrigued. The color blocking is the same as the “Fragment” version above, except the blue is replaced with a rustic pink that looks phenomenal when placed on-feet. It’s one of the rarest Jordan 1 colorways out there and will cost you close to $5,000 USD on the resale market.
Air Jordan 1 High OG “Top 3”
The final model on this list is the “Top 3” which gets its name from the fact that it merges three of the best Air Jordan 1 colorways together. The three models represented here are the “Black Toe,” “Royal,” and “Bred” colorways which culminate in the perfect mismatched pair of shoes.
At first glance, you immediately notice that the toe box and sides of each shoe are different and are purposely meant to mismatch. Blues get paired with reds and vice versa when it comes to the side panels and the toe boxes. It creates an incredible look that Jordan Brand historians can immediately appreciate. It may not be for everybody but the “Top 3” is a celebration of Michael Jordan and the shoes that have made him an icon of both sports and fashion.
What do you think of this list? What are some of your favorite Air Jordan 1 colorways? Let us know in the comments.