The Air Jordan franchise was the birthplace of the sneakerhead movement and the collector culture. It was also the shoe that bonded the place of the ‘pro model’ trainer in sportswear. The Jordan ‘Jumpman’ logo is currently as famous as Nike’s Swoosh or Adidas Trefoil. 

Anyone might think that the brand’s story began with Michael Jordan’s first pro model: 1985’s Air Jordan I, but it was a different shoe that paved the way for the hype – the Nike Air Ship, a precursor to the first official Jordan sneaker. The model is surrounded by myths and legends. The story says that in the 80’s Michael Jordan was frequently being fined for wearing a certain pair of black and red basketball shoes during games. The unusual shoes broke NBA’s ‘uniform of uniformity’ rule but legend has it Jordan continued to wear them anyways, with Nike paying the $5,000-fine per game.

It’s usually mistakenly understood that this model was the Air Jordan I, but in fact it was the Air Ship. However, the mistake didn’t harm the Air Jordan I success – it became the first sneaker in a 33-year chain of annual releases. It was the first time there was all the buzz because of a pair of sneakers. 

It’s hard to state the impact the brand has had on sportswear. A lot of the shoes’ success can be related to the fact they were created for a purpose. Design came second place, with many of the models being considered as timeless shoes. There was also a luxurious element too – shoes were often made from suede and tumbled leather. Jordans were and still are some of the most famous desired sneakers in the world.

But which are the best Jordans out there? Here’s our list of favorite models.