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Everything you need to know about the Jordan 1 High OG ‘Chicago’

Everything you need to know about the Jordan 1 High OG ‘Chicago’

clock-circular-outline Posted July 12, 2023

With great forward-thinking comes superior ideas, and even almost 4 decades later the Jordan 1 High ‘Chicago’ is still the notorious colourway that has everyone talking.

Air Jordan 1 High OG 'Chicago'

1985. The year that started it all. Motioning up the courts as a young rookie was no one other than Michael Jordan who played his first season at the Chicago Bulls. Tensions are high as he showcases his yet-to-be famous throwline dunk, and on his feet, a pair of Jordan 1 High ‘Chicago’s supporting his seminal court play.

The Birthing of a Legend

Air Jordan 1 High OG 'Chicago'

The Jordan 1 High ‘Chicago’ was way ahead of its time when it first hit our shelves in April 1985. Retailed at a very stealthy price of $65 (£51.84) which is valued at around $170 (£135.59) back in ‘85, meaning that the shoes penetrated a more luxurious scope of the market. Behind this luxurious court design was only the legend himself, Peter Moore, Nike’s leading designer at the time who envisioned a hardwood shoe with hybrid possibilities.

Creating a high-rising fit that would serve a unique synergy between the lifestyle and sports market. A shoe that was not only popular for the courts but also doubling up as a skatepark phenomenon.

The Design Process
Design-wise, Moore utilised a very contemporary (at the time) full-grain leather upper which offered extra durability and premium leverage on the uppers, while high-landing collars delivered more ankle protection compared to its later variants (Air Jordan Mids, Lows and KO versions) The titular use of reds, blacks and whites outfitted up top also took on a very unconventional route of design - teaming inspiration from the Chicago Bulls colourway.

Air Jordan 1 High OG 'Chicago'
Image Courtesy of Sotheby's Website

Slick black Swooshed sidewalls nodded to Nike heritage, and winged branded collars were actually designed by Peter Moore on a napkin during his plane Journey from Portland to Chicago. Drawing comparisons from wing pin emblems you can find on Airlines.

Groundwork-wise, the Jordan 1 High ‘Chicago’ was equipped with its latest innovation from the Beaverton brand, behold the Air cushioning. This state-of-the-art tooling supplied superior levels of performance-induced comfort from forefoot to heel, adjoining its treaded sole for multidirectional grip on those hardwood surfaces.

A slip in the road
Although the design was a success in the eyes of sneaker buffs at every corner of the globe, it wasn’t exactly an instant hit with MJ himself. With the ‘Chicago’ inscribed palette being reminiscent of devil’s colours as well as having the official colour scheme of Jordan’s college rivals at North Carolina State University.


But with the trusty advice of his mother, Deloris, Michael Jordan was encouraged to meet with the Beaverton brand and was offered a quarter of a million-brand endorsement in the process, the biggest endorsement offered to a rookie at the time.

It is also a misconstrued fact that the Air Jordan 1 High ‘Chicago’ was the colourway banned for going against NBA regulations, well in fact, it was the MJ’s earliest counterpart, the Nike Air Ship model, costing the Nike brand a whopping $5,000 dollars every time Michael Jordan wore the shoes on the court.

(1994 version of Air Jordan 1 High OG 'Chicago')
Air Jordan 1 High OG 'Chicago'
(2013 version of Air Jordan 1 High OG 'Chicago')

Throughout its tenure we’ve also seen the Air Jordan High ‘Chicago’ take on many retros, with its first remastered version hitting our shelves in 1994, with the Air brand making slight adjustments to its inaugural design; ankle collars are heightened on this iteration and perforations are rounder on the toe box. After almost 2 decades prior to this release, the colourway returned in 2013, with Jumpman logos replacing the OG Nike branding on the tongue.

The 2015 rendition of this ‘Chicago’ colourway graced our rotations in its OG tooling with all the classic branding preserved, with further collaborations including its 2017 stint with Off-White and Marvel on its Spider-Man Origin story pair. Fast-forward to 2022, the ‘Chicago’ colourway is taken to new heights with its Lost & Found iteration.

Make sure you check out our Air Jordan 1 ‘Lost and Found’ blog here.

Air Jordan 1 High OG 'Across the Spiderverse
Image Courtesy of Sneakernews website

Earlier this Summer the Air Jordan 1 High 'Chicago' legacy continued with the Air Jordan 1 High OG 'Across the Spiderverse', taking creative inspiration from the latest animated Spiderman blockbuster.

Conclusion
38 years wiser and the Air Jordan 1 High ‘Chicago’ is nothing less than a grail. From its functional and lifestyle-apt design to being a subcultural phenomenon to our streets, skateparks and anything in between. Sporting a rich lineage on its shoulders and a sense of generational hype that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

And don't forget to check out our latest sneaker news here!

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