As this year winds down, we’ve recapped its highlights to bring you the best of 2018 in fashion, sneakers, music, movies and more.
It’s been a big year for sneakers, and with 2018 drawing to a close, it’s time to assess the best kicks Jordan Brand had to offer.
Although the year might still have one or two big drops to come from the footwear brands we cover here at Highsnobiety, we’ve included a handful of sneakers that we feel are in the running for the title of “Best Sneaker of 2018” in our soon-to-be-announced Highsnobiety Crowns.
Keep an eye out for our final Crowns choice, but in the meantime, check out our selection of the best Jordan Brand drops of the year below, including collaborations with Levi’s, OFF-WHITE, Travis Scott, and French football giant Paris Saint-Germain.
And, of course, feel free to tell us about your favorite Jordan releases of 2018 in the comments at the bottom.
Levi’s x Nike Air Jordan 4
It’s not the first time these two iconic American companies have linked up, but Levi’s and Nike put their heads together to rework the Air Jordan 4 in January. The mid-top basketball silhouette was reworked entirely in denim, right down to the shoe’s cage, sole insert, and laces. Usually found on the waistband of Levi’s jeans, the classic “Levi Strauss & Co.” label appears on the sneaker’s tongue with a Jumpman logo in place of Levi’s Two Horse logo.
Nike Air Jordan 3 “Black Cement”
Other than the original Air Jordan 1, the “Black Cement” Air Jordan 3 is surely the second most impactful silhouette in the Jordan franchise. The first basketball sneaker to feature a visible Air bubble, the now iconic Jumpman logo, and the classic cement print, Tinker Hatfield’s Air Jordan 3 design essentially saved the range, convincing Michael Jordan to stay with Nike instead of departing for adidas.
While this colorway first came out in 1988, the iconic kick was treated to a retro release in February, featuring the OG Nike Air logo on the heel rather than the Jumpman logo as with some previous retros.
Nike Air Jordan 1 “Bred Toe”
Following the considerable success of non-OG Air Jordan 1 colorways such as the “Top 3 Gold” and “Shattered Backboard,” Jordan Brand introduced the “Bred Toe” colorway for 2018. This mashup of the original “Black Toe” and “Bred” color schemes featured a red forefoot wrapped in black around the toe.
Virgil Abloh c/o OFF-WHITE x Nike Air Jordan 1 “White”
After Virgil Abloh and Nike’s 2017 “Chicago” edition Air Jordan 1, an all-white version arrived in March 2018 as a European exclusive, leaving sneakerheads elsewhere in the world yearning for a pair. First debuting on the OFF-WHITE runway at Paris Fashion Week, the ultra-clean rendition featured the same well-appointed details as the first, simply boasting a more pared-down colorway that created almost the same levels of buzz as the first release.
Nike Air Jordan 1 “Shadow”
Red and royal blue are essential parts of the Air Jordan 1’s colorway legacy, but even as Michael Jordan’s signature footwear collection was still emerging and making its mark in the industry, the Air Jordan 1 was decked out in gray. The “Shadow” colorway was released in 1985, the same year the model debuted. The “Shadow” Air Jordan 1 keeps things simple, allowing the materials of Jordan Brand’s “Remastered Series” to come to the forefront.
Nike Air Jordan 1 “Shattered Backboard Satin”
This satin version of the “Shattered Backboard” colorway in women’s sizing dropped in early May. Previously, the illustrious satin-edition Air Jordan 1s were highly limited, reselling for more than $1,000 in the “Royal” and “Banned”/”Bred” colorways. This orange and black version, however, was given a wider release just in time for summer.
Nike Air Jordan 13 “He Got Game”
This particular Air Jordan 13 colorway was worn by Denzel Washington’s character Jake Shuttlesworth in Spike Lee’s 1998 film He Got Game, giving the shoe its nickname. Done up in an OG white, black, and red colorway with a signature quilted leather upper, this model was worn by Michael Jordan in the 1997-98 NBA season and returned in 2018 after a four-year absence, following a previous retro in 2014.
Travis Scott x Nike Air Jordan 4 “Cactus Jack”
Rapper Travis Scott dropped his “Cactus Jack” Jordan 4s in June. This monumental team-up between one of hip-hop’s brightest stars and Jordan Brand resulted in a light blue color scheme that paid homage to Houston’s defunct football team, the Oilers. Branding from Scott’s Cactus Jack Records was added throughout, including on the sole insert and the left heel in place of the Jumpman.
Nigel Sylvester x Nike Air Jordan 1
After appearing in Nike’s Sport Pack campaign, BMX sensation Nigel Sylvester partnered with Jordan Brand for a collaborative take on the Air Jordan 1. His Airness’ first signature sneaker is Sylvester’s go-to kick of choice while riding, amassing heavy distress marks during the trial and error part of mastering tricks. This look was simulated on the collab via hand-made distressing on a discolored sail upper. A reflective medial Swoosh, deconstructed lateral Swoosh, and mini Swoosh on the forefoot added to the design’s originality.
Nike Air Jordan 5 “PSG”
Not simply of note due to the groundbreaking cross-category partnership between Jordan Brand and football club Paris Saint-Germain, this Air Jordan 5 added uncommon details sneakerheads might expect from such a big collaboration. Similar to Supreme’s 2015 Air Jordan 5 with “Supreme” text beneath the netting on the upper, PSG’s version features underlaid “PARIS” text, plus a nod to the city’s 75 zip code embroidered on the heel. Finally, “ICI C’EST PARIS” text replaced the standard Air Jordan label under the tongue, with the PSG club crest stamped on the heel.
Nike Air Jordan 4 “Raptors”
Initially rumored to be for Drake and OVO as part of the rapper’s (now possibly defunct) collaborative Jordan range, this black, purple, and red colorway can be easily recognized by NBA fans as a nod to the Toronto Raptors. While the colorway wasn’t presented as a collaboration in the end, this particular “homage” Jordan was certainly one of the strongest general releases to come from the Jumpman camp in 2018 thanks to its smart color-blocking and low-key NBA references.
Union x Nike Air Jordan 1
Los Angeles retailer Union and its owner Chris Gibbs reworked the Air Jordan 1 in late 2018, producing two colorways. The shoes originally made their debut at a Rose Bowl flea market stand, where some were skeptical about their authenticity. Mashing up OG colorways, the leather Union “Black Toe” and “Storm Blue” were punctuated with worn-in details, Union LA tags, and exposed stitching.
Nike Air Jordan 3 “Seoul”
Cooked up by Nike legend Tinker Hatfield and Dan Sunwoo, director of innovation strategy at Nike’s NXT Space Kitchen, this super-exclusive Air Jordan 3 colorway paid homage to Seoul and its role as host of the 1988 Olympics. The shoe retained its original cement detailing, with the predominant color hits on the upper taken from South Korea’s flag, known as the Taegukgi, which also appears on the tongue of the right shoe. In OG fashion, this Air Jordan 3 featured a classic Nike Air badge on the heel.
To stay updated on everything happening in the sneaker world, follow @Highsnobietysneakers on Instagram, check our sneaker release date calendar, and subscribe to our sneaker chatbot on Facebook to receive lightning quick updates to your inbox.
- Main & Featured Image: BSTN