Why You Need the Air Jordan 1 ‘Chicago’ in Your Rotation


Terms like ‘iconic’, ‘legendary’ and ‘game-changing’ are too often applied arbitrarily in the sneaker industry (guilty, your Honour). But why shouldn’t we indiscriminately slap terminology like this across Christmas billboards, malls and sneaker boxes? Well, because models like the Air Jordan 1 ‘Chicago’ exist…

It’s been seven long, toe-twitching years since the last official retro, so with the arrival of the Air Jordan 1 ‘Chicago’ (also known as the ‘Lost and Found’) this week, we're outlining why everyone needs this infallible colourway in their collection – if you can score it.

Remember folks, it's gotta be the shoes!

air jordan 1 chicago

The Deal of a Lifetime

Nike’s landmark shoe deal with Michael Jordan was arguably the most consequential moment in sneaker history. The Swoosh agreed to fork out $500,000 to the rookie Michael Jordan (plus stock options!), without any idea of what was to come. In fact, the fine print stipulated that Nike was permitted to walk away from the deal if the sneakers didn’t generate at least $4 million by the end of the third year.

Well, His Airness quickly put that idea to bed. In just two months, Michael Jordan’s sneakers piled on $70 million in sales. Averaging an eye-watering 28.2 points per game, 6.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists, Jordan secured Rookie of the Year title in 1985. Jordan’s transcendent on-court performance  – even Larry Bird referred to Jordan as ‘God’ in the 80s – had a seismic impact on sales, and fans even stole posters advertising the release throughout New York City’s bus stations.

Nearly four decades later, the partnership has become the most lucrative of all time. The Jumpman now records 3 billion in sales annually.

Taking Flight

It doesn’t get any more OG than the Air Jordan 1 in its Bulls-inspired ‘Chicago’ colourway. Released in 1985 for the retail price of $65, the silhouette was designed by Peter Moore, who had some rather vague instructions from Michael Jordan (Jordan required that the model 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 – 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.

,air jordan 1 high chicago

Wait, is ‘Lost and Found’ the ‘Chicago’?

Yes. Originally known as the Air Jordan 1 High ‘Lost and Found’, the Jumpman recently renamed the upcoming colourway as the ‘Chicago’.

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 on old Jumpman grail.

In terms of detailing, the ‘Lost and Found’ colourway utilises a larger Swoosh (emblematic of the Jumpman models of the 80s), cracked black leather ankle collars and yellowed midsoles. The model also emulates dried-out white leather uppers – most notably on the toe box.

Finally, the mismatched box alludes to the fact that shoes were often being 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.

Whether it’s your very first Air Jordan 1 ‘Chicago’ or you’ve maintained your very own vintage vault, make sure to check out our extensive Where to Buy for the upcoming release!

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