Colourway Corral: The Jordan Brand’s High-Flying ‘Chicago’ Models
It’s the colourway that started it all. Arriving via Peter Moore’s Air Jordan 1 in 1985, the classic Chicago Bulls-inspired mix of red, white and black has enthralled sneakerheads for decades. With the upcoming Air film set to take the shoe to the stratosphere yet again, we thought we’d take a look back at some of our all-time favourite ‘Chicago’ models from recent years.
It’s gotta be the shoes!
Air Jordan 1 ‘Chicago’ (1985) Air Jordan 1 ‘Chicago’ (1985)
It doesn’t get more OG than the Air Jordan 1 in its Bulls-inspired ‘Chicago’ colourway. Released in 1985 for a retail price of $65, the silhouette was designed by Peter Moore, who had some rather vague instructions from Michael Jordan (Jordan required the model to be ‘exciting, different’, and ‘low to the ground’).
While Jordan wasn’t entirely convinced of the OG suite of colourways (he referred to the counterpart ‘Bred’ colourway as the ‘Devil’s colours’), the ‘Chicago’ edition was worn ubiquitously by MJ between November 1984 and April 1986. The colourway was even laced during the 1985 All-Star game, clocking 22 minutes.
Buoyed by its much mythologised ‘Banned’ sibling and its appearance on Late Show with David Letterman, the Air Jordan 1 in its black, red and white ‘Chicago’ colourway launched sneaker culture from the free-throw line.
Off-White x Air Jordan 1 ‘Chicago’ (2017)Off-White x Air Jordan 1 ‘Chicago’ (2017)
Virgil Abloh’s ‘The Ten’ will forever live in the annals of footwear history. Launched in 2017, the collaboration between Off-White and Nike sent sneakerheads into meltdown, with the deconstructed Air Jordan 1 ‘Chicago’ an essential ingredient in the collection’s meteoric success. Supercharging a period of incredible Off-White dominance in the sneaker industry, Virgil Abloh will always be remembered for his reverent approach to Jumpman collaborations.
Air Jordan 1 ‘Lost and Found’ (2022)Air Jordan 1 ‘Lost and Found’ (2022)
Inspired by an era when shoe boxes were often lost in inventory stockrooms, this version of the ‘Chicago’ is rendered as if it was found decades later. According to the design team at Jordan Brand, the modus operandi was to create a ‘time travel moment’ so a new generation of sneakerheads could experience what it might have been like to find an old Jumpman grail.
In terms of detailing, the ‘Lost and Found’ colourway utilises a larger Swoosh (emblematic of 80s Jumpman models), cracked black leather ankle collars and yellowed midsoles. The model also emulates dried-out white leather uppers, notably on the toe box.
Finally, the mismatched box alludes to the fact that shoes were often misplaced in back rooms and basements, while each pair will also come with a vintage receipt designed to replicate the actual receipts from deadstock shoeboxes.
Trophy Room x Air Jordan 1 (2021) Trophy Room x Air Jordan 1 (2021)
Revealed in late-2020, this commemorative colourway was inspired by none other than the famed ‘Chicago’ Air Jordan 1. A familiar combination of white, ‘Varsity Red’, and black dominated the sneaker, with a bit of ‘Sail’ thrown into the mix for a subtle change-up.
But it was the luxurious details that truly set this AJ1 apart. Instead of the traditional red stitching on the upper, Trophy Room used white, resulting in a more distinct outline to the panels. The highlight of the collaboration undoubtedly comes on the lateral heel, where you’ll find Michael Jordan’s signature printed in black. Down below, there’s also a translucent outsole revealing red and blue stars, with ‘Trophy Room’ patched on the insoles.
Air Jordan 2 ‘Chicago’ (2022) Air Jordan 2 ‘Chicago’ (2022)
It’s only fitting that the resurgent Air Jordan 2 received the iconic ‘Chicago’ makeover in 2022. Once again exhumed by the Midas Touch of Virgil Abloh, the silhouette has received several heavyweight collaborations in recent years, helping the once-maligned model stay firmly in the spotlight.
Air Jordan 1 Low ‘Golf’ (2022) Air Jordan 1 Low ‘Golf’ (2022)
Jumpman silhouettes have become immensely popular on the golf green in recent years. First released in 2019, the modified version of the AJ1 features durable leather uppers with a waterproof coating to keep your feet dry. Full-length Phylon midsoles and aggressive traction patterns below complete the design.
Air Jordan 312 ‘Chicago’ (2022) Air Jordan 312 ‘Chicago’ (2022)
The Air Jordan 312 is a basketball shoe designed by Don C, a Chicago-born streetwear designer, in collaboration with the Jordan brand. The sneaker was first released in 2018 and combined elements from several classic Air Jordan models, including the Air Jordan 1, Air Jordan 3, and Air Trainer.
Air Jordan 1 KO ‘Chicago’ (2014)Air Jordan 1 KO ‘Chicago’ (2014)
Debuting in 1986 alongside the Air Jordan 1 Low and Air Jordan 1 High, the KO model stood for ‘knock-off’ (a cheaper version of the OG Air Jordan 1). Featuring a canvas upper pulled from the Nike Vandal, the KO still sees numerous colourways released by the Jumpman every year. It’s been retroed since 2010.
Jordan Delta Breathe ‘Chicago’ (2021)Jordan Delta Breathe ‘Chicago’ (2021)
The Delta Breathe was released in 2020 as a lightweight, breathable version of the popular Jordan Delta model. Manufactured with mesh uppers and React foam soles, the ‘Chicago’ colourway was a no-brainer for the Jumpman.
Air Jordan 1 Mid ‘Chicago’ (2020)Air Jordan 1 Mid ‘Chicago’ (2020)
PSA: There ain’t nothing wrong with the Air Jordan 1 Mid. ’Nuff said!
Air Jordan 1 Retro ‘Chicago’ (2015)Air Jordan 1 Retro ‘Chicago’ (2015)
As far as ‘Chicago’ retros go, there’s only one rule: the more, the merrier!
Air Jordan 1 Low ‘Chicago’ (2016)Air Jordan 1 Low ‘Chicago’ (2016)
The Air Jordan 1 Low has taken flight again in recent years, no doubt thanks in part to the overwhelming success of the Nike Dunk and its SB counterpart.
Want more of the Jumpman? Check out our favourite releases inspired by His Airness’s alma mater!