The Air Jordan 1 is the people’s shoe. It comes in three wearable silhouettes (low, mid, and high) and in an insane amount of colorways in all three of those options. Plus it looks decidedly at-home in today’s style zeitgeist obsessed with minimalism and keeping a clean, casual look. It’s hardly surprising that the first signature shoe of the greatest basketball player ever, Michael Jordan, is having yet another banner year in 2020.
It all boils down to this simple ideology: the Air Jordan 1 is the greatest sneaker of all-time. To prove our point, we’ve rounded up the ten best Air Jordan 1s of 2020. So without further delay, let’s get into it.
The “Royal” was an original colorway of the Air Jordan 1 High when it debuted in 1985, and has since been featured across various Jordan models over the years. But it always looks most at-home when employed on the Jordan 1. The “Royal Toe” is a worthy consolation prize for the much-coveted Fragment x Air Jordan 1, and based on its great look, we predict that it would be just as big of a hit if that rare collaboration never even happened.
With all due respect to the other sports teams that Michael Jordan has played for from his childhood to his adult life, none are more closely associated with his legacy than the North Carolina Tar Heels and Chicago Bulls. So it was only a matter of time before an Air Jordan model featured the uniform colors of both basketball teams, as the Women’s Jordan 1 High “UNC to Chicago” does so well.
Dior’s upscale version of the Air Jordan 1 High and Low is the best sneaker collaboration of 2020. The first Jordan to be sourced and produced in Italy since the original Jordan 2 in 1986, the Dior-assisted colorway features the luxury fashion brand’s signature Dior Grey leather overlays, a monogram Swoosh on either side, and dual Dior and Air Jordan insignia on the tongue tag. Both the High and Low also hold another unique distinction: the first Air Jordans to retail for $2000.
Next to Virgil Abloh, no other sneaker collaborator currently has as much clout as Travis Scott. The Houston rapper’s off-the-wall Air Jordan 1 collaboration from 2019 is one of the only designs that can stand toe-to-toe with the Off-White x Jordan 1 “Chicago” as far collaborative Jordan 1s are concerned. So it’s easy to see why there was plenty of excitement surrounding the release of the Air Jordan 1 High “Dark Mocha” when you consider the popularity of the Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1. Minus the inverted Swooshes found on Scott’s pair, the “Dark Mocha” is laced in the same color scheme of white, black, and a coffee bean shade of brown. It’s a quintessential Jordan 1 made for today’s lifestyle-heavy looks. And, like the Travis Scott x Jordan 1, it owes a lot of its success to the original Jordan 3 “Mocha” from 2001. Do your Googles.
Intentionally retro vibes are hitting in the streetwear and sneaker worlds this year. Baggy clothes and throwback sneakers have everyone dressing like they just hopped off the same time machine Jordan Brand boarded when it went back to the early 2000s for the revival of the Air Jordan 1 High Co.Jp “Metallic Silver.” Back for the first time since its original Japan-only 2001 release, the modern version of the colorway features several updates to its design that only enhance its appeal. Tonal “Nike Air” embroidery now appears on the silver tumbled leather tongue, and the overall silhouette receives a slightly higher cut and improved shape. What hasn’t changed is the fact that pairs purchased in Japan still come inside of a briefcase.
A second once rare Air Jordan 1 High Co.Jp returned in 2020, the “Midnight Navy” colorway. As much as we’d love to tell a tale of the its exciting product backstory, one simply doesn’t exist. Rather, the eye-pleasing design came to be simply because a color block of a white tumbled leather base with smooth Midnight Navy nubuck overlays and a silver Swoosh on either side was as timeless in 2002 and it is in 2020.
The Women’s Air Jordan 1 High received a number of strong looks in 2020, and one of the most memorable is easily this tie-dye edition sporting some cool summertime vibes. This colorway marks the first time the popular tie-dye motif has appeared on the Jordan 1.
Perhaps the most random release of the Air Jordan 1 High this year was this “Bio Hack” design in a multicolor mix of colors across the leather and nubuck upper. The look has drawn many comparisons to Undefeated’s 2005 Nike Dunk High collaboration in a similar mix of colors. Why Jordan Brand dropped a Jordan 1 mimicking the Undefeated Dunk 15 years later is unclear, but when the results are this good, who cares?
A general release Air Jordan 1 Mid will never get the hype of most Jordan 1 High releases, but they certainly will move units. The “Chicago Black Toe” colorway of the mid-top has been one of Stadium Goods’ best selling sneakers of the year, so we wanted to make sure to show it some love in this list. The colorway perfectly combines the OG “Chicago” and “Black Toe” colorways of the High, and it’s easy to see why it’s been such a hit.
We hesitate to put this one on the list since almost nobody could actually get a pair, but the Air Jordan 1 High OG ‘85 is just too good to leave off. Looking just as it did when it debuted way back in 1985, the Air Jordan 1 ‘85 “Varsity Red” in a color block very similar to the OG “Bred” colorway features a true-to-original height, panel shapes, materials, and branding to look just like a 1985 release. Here’s hoping Jordan Brand will release more of these meticulously remastered Air Jordan 1 Highs in 2021 and beyond—in greater quantities, of course.