Extremely rare Michael Jordan shoe from 1984, possibly the first Air Jordan sample ever made for Jordan. After 20 years in storage, it has been unearthed for the first time, and available for purchase exclusively on eBay.
The original Air Jordan was a game-changer for Nike. A milestone in sneaker history that single-handedly sparked the rise of the sneaker culture in 1985 and greatly impacted the sports marketing, advertising, and fashion worlds. The Air Jordan line remains stronger than ever 30 years later.
In the past few years, rare Air Jordans have commanded over six figures, and the Air Jordan line remains the best-selling athletic shoe in history.
In the fall of 1984, Michael Jordan was just an NBA rookie, and the shoe that bears his name was still just a prototype. Jordan wouldn't wear the iconic Air Jordan 1 until November 17, 1984. As late as November, with the NBA season underway, Nike was still tweaking the shoe. Thirty years later, Kris Arnold, a former employee of sports agency ProServ, brings one of those early prototypes to light--possibly the first player sample made for Michael Jordan in 1984, complete with wings logo. The shoe hadn't seen the light of day until recently, and the sneaker blogs, sports memorabilia collectors, and fashion websites have taken notice.
More about the shoes
This rare Air Jordan 1 player sample has many differences compared to the model released to the public in 1985, including: a "black toe" color way with a black tongue (released pair had a white tongue), an enlarged pointy Nike swoosh of fine leather, a higher-quality textured leather upper, a low toe box, a different arrangement of lace holes, a tilted Nike logo on the sole housed in a different-shaped indented area than the released shoe, and the Air Jordan wings logo on the ankle appears to be hand-pressed, rather than machine-stamped like the production model.
"It’s got a sleeker look that makes other pairs look downright bulbous by comparison."
- Sole Collector
But what really sets this shoe apart is the factory sticker inside the shoe. On the insole is a production sample form sticker from the Tong Yang factory in Korea with model, code, patent, last, mould, size, color, date, and remark printed in blue. The corresponding information is typed on the sticker, including a date of "NOV 14.'84" and remark "JORDAN PRO BB". The sticker reads "MENS 13" but the shoe is a size 13 1/2, further proof the shoe was made for Jordan (it is widely known MJ wore size 13 on his left foot and 13 1/2 on the right).
In the 90's, Arnold was in his office at ProServ, the sports marketing firm that represented Michael Jordan and negotiated the historic shoe deal with Nike, when someone was cleaning out a storage closet nearby. About to be discarded was an old Nike shoebox with only one shoe in it, but Arnold saw it was an Air Jordan, and being from Chicago and a huge Jordan fan Arnold said, "Wait. I'll take that." As soon as he looked at the shoe, he knew it was special. It featured a much higher quality leather than the shoe released in 1985, a rare colorway, and the factory sticker on the insole.
Peter Moore, who designed the shoe and came up with the name "Air Jordan," was able to shed some light on the earliest days of the shoe's creation noting that the "black toe" version was his favorite because "it looked dressy up front and exciting in the back" . The Air Jordan 1 is undeniably the most important sneaker ever, and the Air Jordan line remains the best-selling athletic shoe in history.
A portion of the proceeds benefit Best Buddies Intl.
Best Buddies International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The IDD community that Best Buddies serves includes, but is not limited to, people with Down syndrome, autism, Fragile X, Williams syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and other undiagnosed disabilities.
Best Buddies is the world’s largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with IDD. For individuals within this community, Best Buddies helps them form meaningful friendships with their peers, secure successful jobs, live independently, improve public speaking, self-advocacy and communications skills, and feel valued by society. For more information visit