Today, it seems like almost every athlete or celebrity has their own brand. Whether it is Beats by Dre or Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company, celebrities have become full-fledged business moguls in addition to their initial career path. Those who made it through the 80’s remember that there was one brand that changed it all and showed individuals of a certain stature that they could leverage their skills and talent into a multifaceted business. This brand was Jordan sneakers.
Michael Jordan creating his own shoe line with Nike (and ultimately his own brand) made a lot of sense. Being a “super” athlete at the time it was the next logical step given successful commercials and television appearances. But the creation of the brand had a few twists and turns and ultimately sent ripples throughout the entire NBA not to mention the world.
If the rumors are true, Michael Jordan originally wanted to be sponsored by Adidas, and Converse was even a large player in the game. Eventually, the combination of a strong pitch and the surprising encouragement of OJ Simpson to Nike resulted the relationship that we know today.
The first pair of Air Jordan sneakers came out in 1985 and were called “Notorious.” After an initial discussion and agreement, Nike designed them to match Jordan’s red and black uniform for the Bulls. Initially there was quite a bit of controversy as the NBA banned the shoes since they featured “non-regulation” colors. He was fined for this and wore them anyways, which Nike used as part of their marketing strategy. Basketball shoes before that time were primarily white. Everything changed though when Jordan made his epic dunk from the foul line while wearing the next model. Sales skyrocketed and the brand moved from simply being associated with the player to a watermark for performance. They are now seen everywhere as an indicator of both status and style.
Jordan Sneakers Today
Now, multiple new Air Jordan sneakers are released every year and previewed as a part of a highly-anticipated and publicized unveiling event. The shoes continue to dominate the market in sales and demand, ultimately influencing the level of quality and standards in design, innovation and performance. The brand brings in approximately 2.5 billion dollars in sales per year and has 58% of the market share. They are often less available than they were during the time when Jordan was actively playing, and thus they have become even more sought after. Additionally, collecting sneakers has become a very popular hobby, and these are often considered the holy grail for a market that did not exist at the time of conception.
Limited vs. General Release
Different styles of Jordan sneakers are now releasing more frequently, but they are generally broken down into 2 categories:
- Limited release: A major collectors item, there are less pairs created and they are only sold online and at a small number of retail stores. These tend to fly off of the shelves. Some examples of limited releases are Doerbecher, Jordan Retro, Fragment, and Just Dons.
- General Release: These shoes are created in high volume and while a wait may be involved, they are sold at most major retailers and supplies are often replenished.
Why Jordan sneakers?
Air Jordan sneakers broke the mold and were a trendsetter in the mere fact that they did not look and feel like every other pair of shoes available. Suddenly, going your own route was not only acceptable, but showed that it could result in amazing feats. They were also the perfect marriage between quality and style. Like most professional relationships, many attribute the success of Michael Jordan’s brand to amazing synergy between athlete, technology, and brand (in this case, Nike). Michael Jordan was debatably the greatest player who ever played the game (especially for his time), and his shoes are his most important tool. They represent a relentless dedication and level of performance that people want to emulate.
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