The Air Jordan — arguably the greatest shoe line to ever exist from arguably the greatest player of all time. You can call them Jordans, Js, or Air Jordans, but one thing is for sure: every sneakerhead out there has gotten or has fantasized about getting one. As of writing, a total of 38 versions of Jordans have been released to the public, with hundreds of millions of pairs sold globally. Despite the numbers, Air Jordans remain to be some of the most sought-after shoes today, which has increased their value over time. So, how much do they actually cost?
Brief History of Air Jordans
Air Jordans arguably started sneaker culture. Their designs pushed the envelope, and the fact that they were made for and worn by Michael Jordan elevated the shoes to mythical status.
It all started in 1985 when Nike, then a so-so athletic brand entering the NBA, secured Michael Jordan. Back then, Jordan was still an incoming NBA rookie and was merely a preview of the legend that he would become. The deal would set up a line of shoes designed for and marketed by Michael Jordan, starting with the now-iconic Air Jordan 1.
Michael Jordan was an instant sensation in the NBA, and so were his first signature shoes. As Jordan’s legend grew, so did the Jordan brand, with the release of more shoes almost every year since the first Air Jordan 1 came out. Each Jordan released differed from the previous one and offered new tech to ensure users could play well with the shoes on.
From time to time, the Jordan brand would release limited edition versions and colorways of their current shoe lineup. As the years went by, more and more people sought these limited versions, thus increasing their value — it became something you would save up for. Because of this, Jordans slowly transcended their original purpose as basketball shoes. Today, Air Jordans are collector’s items you wouldn’t wear outside on a normal day, more so play with.
How Much Do Air Jordans Cost Typically?
Since their release in the 80s, Air Jordans have always come with a premium price tag. The first Jordans were sold for $65, which was quite pricey already at that time — but each Jordan that came after was priced even higher. Jordans always came in limited stocks, with some designs being more limited than others, making them more expensive.
Nowadays, Air Jordans are sold at around $150 to $250 at retail, while limited releases can go upwards of $300. However, like other collector’s items, some Jordans are resold or auctioned at more eye-popping prices, reaching thousands of dollars. Typically, pairs that belong to the original batch of Jordans from the ’80s and ’90s are the ones that are resold at original prices. New releases of Jordans that feature premium or unique features are also priced higher than usual because they are most likely to become rare and exclusive down the line. On the other hand, new batches or re-releases of Jordans are priced the lowest.
Why Air Jordans are Expensive?
Air Jordans have been expensive since the first pair of Jordan 1s were sold in the 80s. Jordans were never meant to be sold in high quantities because of the shoes’ high-quality materials, incredible craftsmanship, and ground-breaking designs that were harder to replicate. Today, newer Air Jordans are still retailed at higher prices while shoes, part of the original production in the 90s, are resold at even higher prices. Apart from production value, tech, and scarcity, more factors now affect the price of Air Jordans.
Nowadays, the Jordan brand is considered the pinnacle of sneaker culture. The brand has become so iconic that anything with its logo, shoes or not, is often priced higher than usual. As Michael Jordan’s legend grew yearly, so did the demand for Jordan-brand items, especially his shoes. It wouldn’t be totally wrong to credit the culture of collecting sneakers to Air Jordans because they were, and are still, the most collectible shoes out there.
3 Most Expensive Air Jordan Sneakers
Game-worn Air Jordans can go up to Millions of dollars for obvious reasons, so we won’t consider them in this list. Shoes worn by Jordan himself are considered historical artifacts already, so they are valued as such — some are even displayed in museums.
However, there are specific designs or versions of Jordans that are retailed and resold at astoundingly high prices even without the autograph or the historical relevance. Despite being released to the public, the following shoes are the rarest of all and come with the heaviest price tags:
Nike Air Jordan 1 OG High Chicago
The Nike Air Jordan 1 OG High Chicago is the father of all Jordan sneakers — the shoes that started it all. While most of the expensive Jordans are priced as such because they were game-worn or were made as a collaboration with luxury brands, the Jordan 1 is different. These shoes can go upwards of $30,000 because of their cultural and historical significance. The limited availability of these shoes from its original release also plays a huge factor. Anyone who gets their hands on these ascends their sneakerhead status.
Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro Eminem Carhartt
Eminem is one of the most prominent rappers in history, and anything he wears automatically skyrockets in value. In 2015, the Jordan brand collaborated with the rapper and Carhartt to create the Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro Eminem Carhartt. All ten pairs of these shoes released to the public can sell for upwards of $21,000. The distinct design of the Jordan 4, combined with Eminem’s and Carhartt’s influence, make these shoes an absolute powerhouse.
Air Jordan 1 Retro High Chrome Hearts Off-White NRG
Air Jordan is one of the premier lifestyle brands today, so what happens when it links up with another elite brand like Off-White by Virgil Abloh? The result is a pair of limited shoes that can sell for more than $20,000. The Air Jordan 1 Retro High Chrome Hearts Off-White NRG combines Jordan’s streetwear aesthetics with Off-White’s high-end fashion look. The addition of Chrome Hearts, another luxury brand, increases the shoes’ exclusivity. Much like any Off-White or Jordan item, these shoes were not mass-produced, thus elevating their price point more.
Are Air Jordans Considered a Luxury Brand?
The Jordan brand’s luxury status has been debated for a long time already. Traditional luxury brands such as Prada, Armani, and Gucci are considered as such because of their excellent craftsmanship and extremely limited production — much like Jordan’s shoes. However, while traditional luxury brands belong to formal events and ballrooms, some would argue that Jordans belong in the court and in the street. With that said, and being the pioneer that they are, Jordans are classified as a luxury sneaker brand and are considered the most luxurious of all streetwear brands today.
3 Things to Consider When Buying a Pair of Air Jordans
In its core and form, Jordans are still “just” shoes. However, their cultural significance and overall value have turned them into the most coveted sneaker brand today. If you’re looking to buy a pair of Jordans, here are some things you may want to consider:
Authenticity and Source
Jordans are some of the most high-valued sneakers to ever grace the face of the earth — this makes them one of the most counterfeited shoes as well. With that said, if you’re buying a pair of Jordans, you have to consider where or who you’re buying it from. For shoes in retail, buying in official stores should assure you that you’re buying an authentic product. However, if you’re buying a reseller, you may want to do background checks and ask for testimonials from previous buyers.
Fit and Comfort
Let’s face it: you probably won’t wear your rare Jordans every day — and this is the right thing to do. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider how comfortable they are on your feet. Fortunately, Jordans are known to be quite comfortable because of the quality of the materials they use. However, fit and comfort will be big issues if you’re considering using Jordans to play. If that’s the case, don’t forget to fit your Js in the store and look for in-shoe techs like cushioning.
Purpose and Style
Air Jordans are perhaps the most versatile shoes out there. While these shoes were originally made for the hardcourt, they are also ridiculously great on the streets — and even in formal events. In fact, most luxury brands collaborate with the Jordan 1 because of their versatility.
Know your purpose before buying Jordans. If you’re thinking of using them to play, the Jordan 11, Jordan XIII, and newer versions like the Jordan 38 are your best bets. However, if you’re leaning towards the fashion side, the Jordan 1, Jordan 5, and Jordan IV should be great. If you’re in the middle of the two, the Air Jordan XII and Air Jordan VI are safe options.
Wrapping Things Up: How Much Do Air Jordans Cost?
Similar to its namesake, the Jordan brand has become a legend in its own right. From its humble beginnings in 1985 with the Jordan I, Air Jordans have become the pinnacle of sneaker culture and are widely considered perennial street luxury streetwear. Today, Jordans are sold for about $150-$250 in official stores, but limited releases can sell for thousands of dollars. In fact, the OG Jordan 1 is known to sell for about $32,000, even if MJ didn’t wear it. A pair of Jordans is an investment, so if you’re considering buying it, consider things like your purpose for the shoes, the fit, comfort, and authenticity. Happy hunting!
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