Rare Jordans

Air Jordan V

Inspired by one of the most phenomenal players in basketball history, Air Jordans are as famous as Michael Jordan himself -- and rare Jordans are prized collector's items.

Air Jordan History

Air Jordans were first released in 1985, and a new Jordan is released each year. The original Jordans were designed by Peter Moore and sold through the Jordan Company, a part of Nike. The original Jordans were quite controversial -- they were even first banned by the National Basketball Association due to the intense black and red colors. Tinker Hatfield was the designer of many subsequent Jordan editions.

A revolution in basketball footwear, Air Jordans continued to improve with subsequent releases. Movie and television stars were seen sporting the shoes, and the added publicity enhanced the popularity of the shoes. Subsequent designs were inspired by items as diverse as stealth fighter jets.

Although sales waxed and waned during different periods and varied with each Jordan shoe, older models often met with great popularity when re-released. No one can deny that the Jordan is a shoe to be reckoned with.

Rare Jordan Categories

Rare Jordans are generally divided into several categories:

  • Originals or OG's
  • Retros
  • Retro+'s
  • Samples

Many Jordans from the past are re-released at subsequent dates and feature some modifications or enhancements that do not detract from the original style or design.

Where to Find Collector Jordans

While the new Jordans are sold through Nike.com and athletic shoe stores, those looking for rare Jordans may have to do a bit more digging. Although estate sales, auctions, and possibly some collectors and antiques stores can sometimes yield valuable results, the Internet is a gold mine for Jordan collectors. Sites you may want to peruse for rare Air Jordans include:

Reputable auction sites such as eBay also have plenty to offer in terms of Jordan collector items. As with any collector purchases, be sure you are shopping from reputable sellers and carefully read all documentation before buying or placing a bid.

Jordan Collector Facts

The release of Air Jordan shoes over the years was influenced not only by Michael Jordan's career, but a variety of other aspects, including world events, media, and new technology. Below are facts regarding Jordans that designate why each may be of importance to a collector.

  • Air Jordan I: First Air Jordan to be released, 1985.
  • Air Jordan II: Made from Italian leather and faux lizard skin.
  • Air Jordan III: Sports the Jumpan logo, elephant trim, and noticeable heel air unit.
  • Air Jordan IV: First Jordan to be internationally available.
  • Air Jordan V: Innovative reflective tongue and rubber soles made this Jordan a fresh-favorite.
  • Air Jordan VI: The muse behind this Jordan design was the stealth fighter jet F-117.
  • Air Jordan VII: A model of these Jordans was released in support of Michael Jordan's Olympic activity. The inclusion of MJ's Olympic jersey number (9) made these rare Jordans particularly distinctive.
  • Air Jordan VIII: One of the most substantial Jordans ever made, this shoe was available in three different hues.
  • Air Jordan IX: This Jordan was exceptional because it was the first one to be released post-Michael Jordan retirement.
  • Air Jordan X: Designed with a quick lacing system, this rare Jordan was unique in containing an outsole which listed MJ's basketball feats.
  • Air Jordan XI: Worn by Michael Jordan in his basketball return, these Jordans reached new heights of popularity among consumers. They sported some of the most revolutionary technology, including a shank made from carbon fiber for ultimate shock absorption.
  • Air Jordan XII: The inclusion of the Zoom Air cushion and the elimination of the Nike logo are unique aspects of this Jordan.
  • Air Jordan XIII: A distinctive hologram symbolic of a panther's eyes is featured on this rare Jordan, designed for incredible speed and accuracy during play. This shoe is also noted due to MJ's second retirement during the year of their release.
  • Air Jordan XIV: What does a Ferrari have in common with Michael Jordan? The two are the inspirations for the Jordan XIV.
  • Air Jordan XV: This shoe debuted after MJ's second retirement.
  • Air Jordan XVI: Status for a shoe can be measured with this rare Jordan -- this edition included a removable shroud covering to be worn during pre or post- gaming.
  • Air Jordan XVII: Since the shroud didn't give the Jordan shoe enough status, this rare Jordan was sold with a silver suitcase to boot. This year was also notable as the most expensive Jordans up to this point.
  • Air Jordan XVIII: Technologically advanced with a dual Zoom Air unit and spring of carbon fiber, this Jordan was the very last shoe MJ played out the end of his career with this shoe.
  • Air Jordan XIX: The first "laceless" Jordan, designed with a protective, architecturally-inspired upper.
  • Air Jordan XX: This low-cut Jordan features a functional and commemorative ankle support strap.
  • Air Jordan XXI: Personalizable cushioning made this Jordan a distinctive.
  • Air Jordan XXII: Commemorating MJ's 44th birthday, this shoe features the technological advanced of Independent Podular Suspension and interchangeable heel units.
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