The 20 Best Jordan 1 Colorways of All Time

From legendary hi top iterations to some slept on Jordan 1 Lows

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There's absolutely no disputing the reign and reputation of the Jordan 1 when it comes to being one of the most legendary basketball shoes of all time (and certainly one of the best Nike shoes to ever be released as well). While there's often a debate amongst sneaker enthusiasts about whether its truly the best model in the Air Jordan lineup, the legitimacy of the AJ1 in popular culture (not just fashion) can never be questioned. Released in April 1985 as the first signature MJ shoe, the Jordan 1 truly shook the table in both sneaker and basketball culture (Jordan was notoriously fined $5,000 each time he wore them as they did not meet the NBA's uniform policy), and it remains a legitimate staple of shoe culture in present day. With so many iterations of the Jordan 1, the task is difficult of selecting the best Jordan 1 colorways of all time, but we're still going to give this thing a shot (bad basketball related pun definitely intended). In fact, we're even going to be including what we feel are the best Jordan 1 low colorways of all time (gasp).

From the classic High OG "Banned" ($355+) to the more new-gen models such as the Air Jordan 1 Patent Leather ($173+), these are the best of the best. Thank you Peter Moore for your iconic contributions to the sneaker world kind sir.

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1. Jordan 1 High OG "Banned"

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  • Release Year: 2011

There's been many different iterations of the "Banned" Jordan 1s, so it can get tricky when trying to sort them all out. Of course, the original model was the one worn by Jordan himself in the mid-1980s that was banned by the NBA due to it color scheme. However, in 2011, Nike re-issued the shoe in honor of the original, and that in turn received an updated model in 2016 (which is the one we have pictured above). From a design standpoint, the "Banned" AJ1 has mostly stayed the same—it pretty much looks the exact same way it did in the 80s, but ever slightly more modern. The only major updates have come by way of the shoe's technical features and overall comfort level. Other than that, this is basically the same sneaker as the original.


2. Air Jordan 1 Patent Leather

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  • Release Year: 2020

It's not often you get an Air Jordan 1 that's sleek, shiny, and patented, but the rarity occurs with the Air Jordan 1 Patent Leather, which originally made its debut in November 2020. It's the usual Jordan 1 with its Swoosh and "Wings " branding, but it's just a little more "waxy"—and that's why we feel it belongs on this list. Some don't (and that's their personal opinion), but we certainly do (and we aren't changing our minds either).


3. Air Jordan 1 High Strap “A Tribe Called Quest”

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  • Release Year: 2009

Can we kick it? Yes we can according to Jordan Brand and A Tribe Called Quest, who collaborated to release this sick PE in 2009. Of course we all know about the reign of Michael Jordan (and his respective shoes) in the 1990s, but A Tribe Called Quest is a legendary Hip Hop group that put their personal mark on the decade as well—and that's why this collab is an iconic one for the history books.


4. Air Jordan 1 High “XQ”

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  • Year Released: 2013

The Jordan 1 Retro XQ received its original release circa 2007, and are viewed as rare and valuable AJ1 that's essentially a collectors item (pricing can go as high as nearly $4,000). To this day, very little is known about original XQ—the shoes had a limited release and because it was the early internet/pre-social era there's no real articles from that time period. According to Sneaker Bar Detroit, the 07 release was limited to just 240 pairs, and in addition to the 2013 re-release, the XQ got another updated iteration in 2022. It's probably going to be around another decade or so before we see the shoe released again, but history shows another iteration will be coming again at some point.


5. Just Don X Air Jordan 1 High Strap BHM

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  • Year Released: 2013

Are these not some of the most unique Jordan's you've ever laid eyes on? Released in February 2013,  Don C  and Air Jordan joined forced to drop the Just Don X Air Jordan 1 High Strap BHM, which was a limited edition shoe created for a charity auction. The snakeskin pattern is what gives this Jordan its standout design, and the all-black color on serves to add to its appeal. The orange leather lining provides the subtle contrast, and of course, there's the signature Jordan branding as the finisher.


6. Air Jordan 1 Royal Blue

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  • Year Released: 1985

The Air Jordan 1 Royal Blue has earned its rightful place in history as well. While Jordan never donned them during his playing days, he’s never needed to seeing as though this shoe has taken on a life of its own. If you don’t own a pair of the Royal Blue’s are you even a real Air Jordan fan (or at least a real Jordan 1 fan)? Come on now!


7. Travis Scott x Air Jordan Retro High OG

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  • Year Released: 2019

It will never surprise us how these shoes created absolute chaos when they dropped. Never. If you thought the way folks carried on when Scott released his McDonald's meal was crazy, you should have been there to see how they acted when these Cactus Jack's came out. Stylistically they don't look too much different than some of the previous models released up to that point, but the Travis Scott name and backing is what the big kicker was here.


8. Off-White x Air Jordan Retro High

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  • Year Released: 2018

Around the same time the Jordan Brand began working with Travis Scott, the company also teamed up with another one of the biggest names in the fashion/entertainment industry—Virgil Abloh and Off-White. The two have birthed some epic sneakers that will certainly remain in the holy grail of Jordan 1s, but this bad boy right here—absolute fire do you hear us?


9. Air Jordan 1 Black Toe

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  • Year Released: 1985

Another banger in the early 1980s Jordan collection, the Air Jordan 1 Black Toe began capturing a lot of attention with promo much in the way of its AJ1 contemporaries. These too have received multiple re-releases—one being in 2013, and another one being in 2016, with that iteration featuring all of the original 1985 branding. These re-releases are relatively recent in the grand scheme of the things, so it will probably be a while before we see it come back around again. Or perhaps it won't seeing as though the 2016 version did come back with all of the original branding. Time will tell.


10. Air Jordan 1 Low "White/Varsity" Red

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  • Year Released: N/A

In the words of Lil Jon in 2003, it's time to "Get Low." We understand some of you think the worst of low tops (especially in Jordan 1 format) and don't believe it belongs on any all time Jordan list—you can just skip these next couple of entries. Obviously these specific Low Tops take inspiration from the original high tops that were released in 1985, and that's precisely why we've decided to include them in here. Y'all don't give these shoes enough credit in our opinion.


11. Jordan 1 Low Vintage UNC Grey

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  • Year Released: N/A

Look at the color schematics here people! Hate all you want, but this is a solid Jordan 1 Low that instantly compliments any outfit you pair it with. While some people call this colorway the Jordan 1 Low Vintage UNC Grey, others refer to it as the "Tokyo 96," as it was heavily inspired by Jordan's first trip to Japan in 1996. From the light blue accents, to the smokey grey overlays, to the contrasting cream upper—I double dare anybody to say this shoe isn't legendary (especially considering the background).


12. Air Jordan I x Union LA “Blue Toe”

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  • Year Released: 2018

The Union x Jordan linkup has by far been one of their most notable, and an argument can very well be made that the Air Jordan I x Union LA "Blue Toe" is the best to come from their collaborations thus far. Released in November 2018, this model was instantly beloved by sneakerheads, and featured a white leather upper complimented by blue accents, blue Nike "Swoosh", cream midsole, and a blue sole. There's a reason why the asking price for this colorway remains so high...


13. Air Jordan 1 “Chicago”

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  • Year Released: 1985

The Air Jordan 1 "Chicago" was originally released in April 1985, and has been updated multiple times throughout the decades including the 2015 Nike Jordan 1 Retro Chicago ($1,195), the Jordan 1 Retro High Trophy Room Chicago ($1,180), and the latest iteration—Nike Jordan 1 Retro High OG Lost and Found (which is the one we have pictured above) that came out in 2022. The "Chicago" has a lengthy spanning almost forty years, so we highly doubt that 2022 release is the last we'll see of it.


14. Paris Saint-Germain x Air Jordan 1 "Zoom"

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  • Year Released: 2021

PSG's work with Jordan is a bit young compared to some of the others we've listed on here, but you can't deny its impact as one of the best recent Jordan 1 shoes at least. While the design isn't super over the top, the PSG x Jordans are still unique in the sense that they don't like quite like any other Jordan 1 colorway. The shoe comes with pink and violet overlays, a deconstructed collar, a suede upper, and all of the signature Jordan branding.


15. Air Jordan 1 High OG “Shadow”

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  • Year Released: 1985

First released in 1985, the "Shadow" is the Jordan 1 that keeps on giving as well as it too has had its fair share of updates over the years (2013, 2015, and 2018 being the most recent). The last update in 2018 was a re-release of the original 1985 version, and featured the OG Nike Air branding alongside a black and grey leather upper. Our calculations show it's about time for another re-release, but perhaps the 2018 release is the last because it included all the original features.


16. Fragment x Air Jordan 1 High OG

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  • Year Released: 2014

Not to make this list too collaboration heavy, but we can't leave out Fragment x Air Jordan—we just can't. You want to talk about coveted? Apparently these shoes were designed by Hiroshi Fuijwara to reference one of the two original AJ1 samples produced back in 1984—samples that were originally unseen up to that point. Just looking at the price these are selling for—that tells you everything you need to know about their value.


17. Air Jordan 1 David Letterman

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  • Year Released: 1986

Trivia time. Are these shoes in reference to an actual letterman jacket, or David Letterman himself. If you guessed David Letterman you are correct. Created to commemorate Jordan's appearance on the David Letterman talk show in 1986, what you get here is a bright orange shoe with some blue laces—an unusual color combination for a Jordan 1, but it works dammit!


18. Air Jordan 1 High "Shattered Backboard"

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  • Year Released: 2019

Another interesting shoe in the land of Jordan 1s. The inspiration behind this one? The orange and black jersey MJ wore when he shattered the background in a 1986 exhibition game in Italy. Any epic moment like that deserve a shoe in its honor, and that's really all that needs to be said here people.


19. Air Jordan 1 Retro High "University Blue"

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  • Year Released: 2021

This is self explanatory right? Before Jordan was drafted by the Bulls he play UNC. The team colors for UNC are baby blue and cloud white—hence a baby blue and cloud white shoe. The black laces provide a nice contrast, but you can do a lace swap for some white laces and have the shoe looking even more "UNC." Like we said—self explanatory.


20. Air Jordan Retro High OG

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  • Year Released: 2023

The Black and White Air Jordan 1 has had different iterations, so you can add them to the list of some of the others we've listed. Regardless of which iteration you're going with, the Black and White joints is and will always be a bonafide classic sneaker that will transcend the test of time.


FAQs about Jordan 1 colorways:

Here are some frequently asked questions about Jordan 1s:

What are the most popular Jordan 1s?

Popularity is subjective here, but the "Chicago" Jordan 1s we listed above seem to be the most popular/most historic Jordan 1 model that has withstood the test of time.

What is the rarest Jordan 1?

According to Sotheby's, the Colette Air Jordan (which was originally created only for Colette store employees) is considered to be one of if not the rarest Jordan 1 sneaker ever made due to the fact that it was never released at retail.

Are Jordan 1 Lows cool?

Most people prefer the Jordan 1 hi tops are over the lows, but there are plenty of cool Jordan 1 Lows out there that have had great sales. We listed a couple above that you can check out for yourselves.

What's the best colorway of the Air Jordan 1 Low?

To our knowledge, there hasn't been data taken in on the Jordan 1 Lows the way there's been with the Hi Tops, but the Air Jordan 1 Low "White/Varsity" Red has proven to be a consistent seller on various different websites because they are essentially a low top version of the original 1985 hi top shoe.

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