Since the earliest retros of Air Jordans, the ongoing debate among collectors has been between the originals versus the new colorways. Is it best to stick with the tried-and-true classics that Michael Jordan made famous on court, or are the fresh new looks the way to go?
There are no shortage of opinions on the topic. But the reality is that there is no wrong answer. Most people prefer to sprinkle their rotations with a variety of the beloved OG Jordans and new color schemes dreamed up by the current group of designers in Beaverton, some of which pay homage to the past and some of which strike out in an entirely new direction. After all, the Air Jordan 4 "White/Cement" is an undeniable icon, but who can deny the Travis Scott x Air Jordan 4 as being one of the hottest editions of the shoe ever?
With this concept of greatest versus the latest in mind, we paired some of the best Air Jordan retro releases of the year with OG counterparts. After seeing each go head-to-head here, we think you'll agree that the OG-new school battle will forever end in a draw.
The original colorways of the Air Jordan 1 are some of the most important sneakers ever produced. The culture we know today would not exist without the OG "Chicago" and "Bred" colorways. The Jordan 1 "Black Toe" is another important OG, whose color blocking has been the inspiration for colorways like the "Shattered Backboard" release from 2015. After dropping the "Bred Toe" variation earlier this year, Jordan Brand took the"Black Toe" blueprint in a more colorful direction with the Air Jordan 1 "Court Purple," which seems destined to be a classic for years to come.
There's no debate that the OG Air Jordan 3 "Black/Cement" is one of the greatest sneakers of all time, so it's admittedly hard for a new colorway of the silhouette to come close to topping it. Justin Timberlake is certainly trying his hardest to compete with the Jordan 3's beloved OG looks, with his impressive JTH edition that just dropped in an earthy "Bio Beige" suede construction in August 2018.
Just like the Air Jordan 3 "Black/Cement," the Jordan 4 "Bred" is unquestionably one of the most celebrated sneakers ever. But Jordan 4 "Raptors," which came out in 2018, certainly gives it a run for its money. The "Raptors" colorway is one of the best new looks in recent history, and takes inspiration from an OG colorway of the Air Jordan 7. The fierce look combined with premium materials makes it one of the year's must-have Jordan releases.
There's really nothing to say about the Air Jordan 11 "Concord" that hasn't been said before. The shoe is simply the definition of "iconic" when it comes to sneakers. Every new edition of the patent leather clad silhouette is an automatic success. There was certainly no exception for its latest look, the Jordan 11 "Cap and Gown." While the Air Jordan 11 has traditionally been reserved for the holiday season, this year the Jordan 11 received a special summer release to celebrate all the new high school and college graduates. The luxe all-black rendition became an instant classic.
In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the often underrated Air Jordan 18 was brought back in 2018. The return was a welcome sight for many of the most loyal Air Jordan fans who don't stop their collections at the Jordan 14. The Air Jordan 18 was first brought back this spring in the OG "Sport Royal" colorway, which holds a special place in Air Jordan history as the last shoe ever worn on court by Michael Jordan in an NBA game. The silhouette then returned again this fall, dropping in an eye-catching "Suede Pack" of bright blue, yellow, and orange colorways that each highlight its sleek lines and luxe aesthetic. The "Racer Blue" edition can be thought of as a "flipped" version off the OG "Sport Royal" look, and is arguably the best of the new three-colorway collection.
For a closer look at the new Air Jordan 1 "Court Purple" and the Air Jordan 4 "Raptors" colorways, check out the unboxing videos below.