Michael Jordan dribbling a basketball for the Chicago Bulls next to a superimposed pair of Air Jordan 1 "Chicago" sneakers
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SNEAKERS & FASHION

Air Jordan 1 ‘Chicago’ Set for a Long-awaited Comeback

The shoe that started it all is reportedly set to return after almost a decade in the vault with a release date targeted for Oct. 29.

NBA All-Star Weekend is in the rearview. The 2022 NBA Playoffs loom on the horizon. But sneakerheads are already circling a certain Saturday in October on their calendars.

Why? Because reports Tuesday stemming from leaked line sheets suggest that a “reimagined” Air Jordan 1 High “Chicago” will be making a long-awaited return to retail.

For those keeping track at home, the Air Jordan 1 High “Chicago” debuted on the feet of Michael Jordan during his inaugural NBA season. MJ’s 1984-85 Rookie of the Year campaign was highlighted by his haughty high tops, though his personal pairs were mids, with the NBA famously banishing the Black/Red rendition due to Commissioner David Stern’s rules on uniformity.

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Becoming a symbol for rebellion and individuality, the Air Jordan 1 High absolutely ascended at retail once released in April 1985, moving units to the tune of $55 million in sales and between three-to-four million pairs. Not bad for the first signature shoe Peter Moore designed for Michael Jordan, and equally impressive for scorching stores in its first nine months of availability.

Even all these years later, the legend endures.

’85 ’til Infinity

Where sneaker culture in 2022 is concerned, the Air Jordan 1 High and its original home-based “Chicago” colorway are the end-all, be-all.

Since hitting the hardwood in the 1980s, the “Chicago” AJ1 has returned in various iterations in each subsequent decade. Famously, Virgil Abloh deconstructed the court classic when releasing “The Ten” in 2017.

While the last decade has seen the Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” revised in canvas construction, low top form, and even Spider-Man styling, the true-to-form leather high top hasn’t hit stores since 2015. The 2022 take is being dubbed as “Reimagined,” making fans wonder just how this notation will influence shape and spirit.

Currently, collectors crave archival products as authentic to the original as possible. Perhaps Jordan Brand will feed this fever — or perhaps they’ll fan the flame by something slightly left of center.

Comeback Season

Fans flocking for a pair of “Chicago” AJ1s have time to save money and strategize.

Reports from @zSneakerHeadz peg the reimagined version of the Air Jordan 1 High “Chicago” coming out on Oct. 29, 2022. This is a Saturday, which is relevant because that is the typical launch date for a revered retro model. It also happens to come right ahead of the holiday season.

Additionally, the source states that the variation “will have an aged/vintage look to it” as well as “a closer shape to the ‘85s.” Details deemed vintage is said to influence the shape of the toe box as well as the packaging.

Historically, an Air Jordan 11 Retro release resides as the crown jewel of December with another Air Jordan of the vintage variety and rich history hitting on Black Friday.

For 2022, most assume that the Air Jordan 3 “Fire Red” — the inspiration for Eminem’s Super Bowl LVI sneakers — will launch on that shopping holiday. Reports also suggest that a new Air Jordan 11 “Cherry” will debut at retailers in the final month of 2022.

With that said, shipping delays and production issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic still persist. It’s also worth noting that the Air Jordan 1 has leap-frogged the Air Jordan 3 and Air Jordan 11 in relative popularity, ranking as the most-traded silhouette on StockX in 2021.

Because of its alluring appeal and logistic complications, it’s fair to say the launch date could change.

What’s less likely to waver is the fanfare.

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