Looking back at the last 12 months in sneakers, one thing cannot be denied. Even though it's been around since 1985, the Air Jordan 1 was THE sneaker of 2018. There were hot debuts like the Nike React Element 87, widely popular collaborations from Acronym, Undercover, Off-White, Pharrell and, of course, Kanye West. But take a look at the 2018's full slate of releases across every model and every brand, and there should be little debate that the classic Air Jordan 1 had its biggest year ever — in regards to both the impressive lineup of releases as well as overall popularity among collectors. Chances are you'll agree: the Air Jordan 1 was the sneaker of the year.
We teamed up with our friends at Sneaker News for a full look at the releases that helped the Air Jordan 1 have its monumental year, which you can read HERE. As a companion to that piece, which breaks down the Jordan 1's releases into three distinct categories, we thought we'd dive in a little further and tally up the ten best releases of the shoe all year. Check them all out (in no particular order), and then we dare you try to argue that the Air Jordan 1 isn't the shoe of year.
Virgil Abloh kept the momentum of the instantly legendary "Chicago" colorway of his take on the Air Jordan 1 going in 2018 with the "UNC" and "White" colorways. The latter, while awesome, was almost impossible to get, so the OG-inspired North Carolina version makes our list here. But with that being said, you can, of course, also pick up the white colorway here at Stadium Goods.
Taking a cue from Michael Jordan's love for poker, the "Best Hand in the Game" pack released with four colorways inspired by the GOAT's many career accolades from All-Star appearances to Finals MVPs. With red, yellow, green, and blue nubuck accents on each, the pack offered a perfect twist on the original "Black Toe" color block. The only bad thing about the pack is the hard decision of picking your favorite colorway of the set.
Jordan Brand kept the formula simple for this popular colorway, basically just adding a red toe box to the beloved OG "Black Toe" version. The supple leather upper helped ensure that these were a must-have.
Like the "Best Hand In the Game" pack and "Bred Toe," the "Court Purple" edition also took cues from an original color block for the Air Jordan 1 with updated hues. In this case it was a regal shade of purple for the soft leather upper.
Released as a companion to the "Court Purple" Jordan 1, the "Pine Green" duplicated the winning formula of premium materials and a classic look with a new color scheme. The ultra-wearable colorway is among this year's most popular drops not just for the Jordan 1, but among all sneaker releases.
BMX pro and known sneaker aficionado Nigel Sylvester got to create his very own Air Jordan 1 this year, and the result was one of the most unique takes on the silhouette yet. Inspired by his worn-out pairs of Jordan 1s — his shoe of choice for riding — the collaboration features a pre-dirtied, distressed, and deconstructed look. And the mini Swooshes at the toe were the perfect final touch.
Calling out some of the "Instagram culture" aspects of the sneaker game, Jordan Brand took a tongue-in-cheek approach to this duo of colorways emblazoned with statements including "Not For Resale," "Please Crease," and "No Photos." We're not sure if they were trying to be ironic, but also including "No Ls" on a shoe that was actually pretty hard to get — especially the even more limited yellow colorway — was a little frustrating for collectors. Luckily, we've got you covered here at Stadium Goods if you're still looking for a pair.
Jordan Brand broke new ground this year with its epic collaboration with the most authoritative voice in the fashion world, Vogue. Complete with Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour's official approval built into the design, the "Anna Wintour OK" collection included two luxe editions of the women's Air Jordan 1 High Zip in premium leather with tonal Sail and University Red colorways.
One of the most coveted Air Jordan 1s of the year wasn't even for men. The lady Air Jordan fans got some major love from the brand with this women's exclusive take on the highly sought-after "Shattered Backboard" colorway from 2015 that definitely had some guys trying to squeeze into a pair.
Did we save the best for last? Perhaps. LA's high-end menswear boutique Union absolutely killed it with their Air Jordan 1 collaboration, with a duo of colorways each combining two OG versions into one with a chop and sew aesthetic. The excellent attention to details from the faux-vintage treatment to the color-changing laces had everyone impressed. The pack quickly became a top candidate for the collaboration of the year upon its debut this winter, and definitely was the grand finale to the Air Jordan 1's biggest year ever.