Jordan Brand’s 2020 Highlight Reel
Despite extreme global turbulence in 2020, the Jumpman again confidently took flight in 2020. The Dior x Air Jordan 1 soared (unsurprisingly becoming the most valuable sneaker this year), Off-White continued their lucrative link up, and J Balvin became the first Latino artist ever to collaborate on the Jordan 1! The Air Jordan 35 also arrived, while Union LA delivered another hit with their homage to late 80s beats and basketball.
Never doubt the Jumpman.
Union LA x Air Jordan 4
After their show-stopping Air Jordan 1 collaboration in 2018, Union LA struck gold again this year with the Air Jordan 4. Founder of Union LA Chris Gibbs dialled up the nostalgia with a smoking-hot homage to late-80s and early-90s street culture, advertising and music, the material mashup of suede and mesh one of the more unique Jordan Brand creations this year. Retailing for $250, the Air Jordan 4 x Union appeared on the resale market for three times the original price.
Off-White x Air Jordan 4 ‘Sail’
When Off-White and the Jordan Brand collide, you know special things are going to happen. Floating into our release calendar in July, the angelic Air Jordan 4 ‘Sail’ was first seen as a sample during Virgil Abloh’s ‘Figures of Speech’ exhibit in Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art in Fall 2019.
Emblazoned with Virgil’s signature deconstructed aesthetic, the sneaker finally made an official appearance during Off-White’s Fall Winter 2020 runway, the monochromatic masterpiece auctioned for $178,000 (all proceeds were given to the Black Lives Matter movement, Inquest, and The Black Curriculum).
Air Jordan 1 ‘League of Legends World Championship’
Embodying the ever-increasing overlap between eSports and sneaker culture, the Air Jordan 1 ‘League of Legends World Championship’ paused plenty of consoles in February. Inspired by the championship trophy, the uppers were constructed with iridescent overlays to reflect the classic battle arena video game. Fitted with a full-length Air Zoom unit and a reference to the Summoner’s Rift map on the sneaker’s right tongue, the Air Jordan 1 ‘League of Legends World Championship’ is one of the best gaming x sneaker mashups we’ve ever seen!
Dior x Air Jordan 1
Nothing could’ve prepared us for the eye-watering hype surrounding the Dior x Air Jordan 1. The first true luxury collaboration on the legendary silhouette, Kim Jones and Dior sent the Internet into overdrive with the release, the sneaker quickly generating colossal resale prices online. Stamped on the cover of Issue 43 of our magazine (with the caption ‘Unobtanium’), the so-called ‘Diordan’ was arguably the gnarliest Jordan released this year. Unsurprisingly, it topped the list on the most valuable sneakers to release in 2020.
The Air Jordan 35
The latest silhouette from the Jumpman’s seemingly eternal hangar, the Air Jordan 35 was first laced during the interrupted 2019-20 NBA season. Featuring the all new Eclipse Plate 2.0 (the first iteration was used on the Air Jordan 34), and Nike’s latest Zoom cushioning, the latest design marks a jaw-dropping 35 years of the Jordan Brand. Getting a healthy boost in sales from The Last Dance documentary (albeit with most sales generated from retro releases), more modern Jordan releases are seeing visibility thanks to younger stars like Jayson Tatum and Luka Dončić lacing them in league play.
Air Jordan 4 ‘Fire Red’
The long-awaited return of the Air Jordan 4 ‘Fire Red’ triggered plenty of joyous tears across the sneakersphere last month. It was the first time the AJ4 ‘Fire Red’ had been reissued since 2012, the all-important Air branding on the heel also not seen since 1984. Despite some early online reservations (read: hostility) about the particular shade of red, the Air Jordan 4 ‘Fire Red’ indeed nailed the original colour palette, the sneaker even coming with OG Nike Air swingtags and original spec box (much to the joy of Jordanheads).
Yes, the reverence for the AJ4 ‘Fire Red’ still burns bright.
J Balvin x Air Jordan 1 ‘Colores Y Vibras’
Originally teased during the Super Bowl LIV halftime show, J Balvin became the first Latino artist ever to collaborate on the iconic Air Jordan 1 silhouette. And he was no shrinking violet.
Craning plenty of necks, the design featured a psychedelic tie-dye design with jagged, layered uppers and idiosyncratic velcro, plus Balvin’s signature Happy Face. One of the more memorable Air Jordan 1s this year, the Colombian reggaeton superstar took aesthetic cues from his successful albums Vibras (2018) and Colores (2020).
Off-White x Air Jordan 5 ‘Sail’
Still one of the hottest designers on the planet, Off-White’s Virgil Abloh stoked the hype train yet again with radioactive diesel, the Air Jordan 5 ‘Sail’ originally seen on Paris runways and Chicago over All-Star Weekend. Manufactured with translucent textile and cut-outs in the midfoot, we were once again treated to Virgil’s signature deconstruction on the AJ5, the entire design paying homage to the first Jordan silhouette Virgil ever owned.
Keen to relive more highlights? Check out Nike’s greatest moments of 2020!
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