Celebrate 30 years of Air Jordan with these icons of basketball - the best 7 hi top trainers you can get in 2015
2015 marks 30 years since Michael Jordan first laced up his signature black and red Nike hi tops. That particular pair got the legendary player in quite a bit of trouble due to the NBA’s strict laws on which colours could be worn. The greatest player to take the court continued to put on his special Nikes and through his unbelievable performances and nonchalance towards the fines he was punished with, created a legacy that makes Air Jordan shoes some of the most sought after footwear on the planet.
Fast forward 3 decades and Air Jordan is a still a staple on the court and in streetwear fashion, an empire that in 2013 net MJ a cool $90m. Not bad for a someone who hasn’t played since 2003.
Jordan’s legacy doesn’t just end with his distinct line of sneakers, J’s have been at the forefront of our love for hi top trainers for years. Many other brands have been influenced or even forced to revise their designs due to the popularity of the Jordan line. Competition has birthed a slew of iconic models, many of which are available today so if you have the itch for new kicks here are a number of hi top sneakers you can buy right now.
Converse CTAS hi
One of the most popular shoes ever sold and you probably didn’t even know it was once the best basketball shoe on the market. Converse’s Chuck Taylor All Star has been on sale since 1917 so the fact that it is still on the shelves of your favourite footwear store speaks volumes.
Originally just called the All Star before it became associated with basketball player Charles ‘Chuck’ Taylor who, as not just an athlete but a Converse salesman, made improvements to the shoe. The vulcanised sole was unprecedented at the time and the shoe provided ample support for ankles. Also coming in a low cut model, every pair is a piece of history.
Price: from £40.00
Older heads may be more familiar with the Pony brand which had its heyday in the mid-80s with linear designs and durable footwear worn by stars across almost every sport. Nowadays Pony is enjoying a small revival with fans of all things retro, the Topstar included.
The Topstar itself is an effortlessly cool-looking shoe, enjoying a simple design and coming in a number of colour combinations and materials. Pony’s chevron logo adorns the side and name is inscribed on the heels, if you’re after a low-key retro look, the Topstar is the pair for you.
Converse Pro Leather
Arguably Converse’s second greatest contribution to basketball is the Pro Leather model. Sporting that distinct ’70s silhouette also seen on classics such as Nike’s Blazer or Pony’s Topstar, the Pro Leather came at a time when style in the NBA was changing. Big hair, tall socks and short shorts were in – and the Pro Leather was leading the charge towards cool.
Still celebrated today, the Converse Pro Leather has seen many, many, many collaborative pairs and is available in a wide range of colours and styles that will keep this shoe in your rotation all year round.
Fun fact: During his college days, these were Michael Jordan’s shoe of choice, earning them the moniker of ‘the Jordan before the Jordans’.
Price: from £44.99
Nike Air Force 1
They don’t get much more iconic than this, a shoe that even the most clueless of footwear admirers will have at least seen 100 times before: the Nike Air Force 1. Possibly Nike’s magnum opus, the AF1 has been a hit on fashion runways, in offices, on basketball courts – people have even made songs declaring their love for this iconic model. The AF1 is so ubiquitous off court that people forget its chunky sole, tough upper and hi top strap make it perfect for shooting hoops.
Coming in low, mid or hi top options you’ll be spoilt for choice with colours for this shoe that is always in circulation. Over the years Nike has allowed people to make the shoe as crazy as possible with pony hair, polkadots, a plethora of leathers and floral prints available for the model via Nike iD, however you can’t beat a pair of all whites.
Price: from £70.00
Adidas Top Ten hi
Predating the first Air Jordan by 5 years, Adidas built the Top Ten to bridge the gap between on court performance and on-the-street style. Full grain leather, padded ankle support and a herringbone-pattern outsole made the hi top a favourite with fans and players alike throughout the 70s and 80s.
Revived in recent years thanks to high profile collaborations with rappers such as Big Sean and special custom pairs by the brand, the Top Ten is currently enjoying a second wind and goes straight back into any conversation about top 10 hi tops.
Price: from £70.00
The Nike Dunk debuted in 1985, intended to be a high performance basketball shoe with a versatile design. Carrying on the simplistic look of the already popular Air Force 1, the Dunk allowed for infinite colour combinations. 30 years down the line, the models available are near enough infinite.
Reintroduced by the Swoosh numerous times in hi top, lo top, mid level, as a casual shoe, a skateboarding shoe and even in high heel form, there’s a Dunk for everyone.
Price: from £80.00
Air Jordan 1
The shoe that changed everything from the way sneakers are marketed to the whole idea of celebrity/athlete endorsement, the Air Jordan 1 cemented its place in the sneaker hall of fame eons ago.
First produced for Michael Jordan in ’84, the original colourway was banned by the NBA for not having enough white on them and cost MJ $5,000 every time he wore them. Nike used this as a promotional tool implying that the shoes gave an unfair advantage to whoever wore them creating a badass persona for the shoe and the player.
Today the Jordan 1 is still a very respected shoe for being the first in the line of the world’s most famous basketball shoes. You can pick up a pair from a number of diverse colour and material options currently available but be warned, some of the more sought after colourways and older pairs can cost the price of a small car.
Price: from £95.00