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Air Jordan 1 Bred

When creating the Air Jordan 1 back in 1984, Peter Moore gave his new design a color palette based on Michael Jordan’s first NBA team, the Chicago Bulls. The fledgling high-top had a white midsole underpinned by a red outsole, while the upper combined powerful black tones around the forefoot, through the midfoot and up the collar with vivid red overlays in the heel and the same hue in the toe box. While its primary use of black and red earned the colorway the nickname Bred, its outer led to it being given another moniker – Banned – after it was prohibited by the NBA for contravening its rules on apparel. The defiance Nike and Jordan showed in persisting with the Jordan 1 Bred drew many fans to the basketball trainer on its release in 1985, but its popularity did not end there. In fact, the sneaker has only grown in stature over the decades and today sits as one of the most iconic amongst the dozens of AJ1 colorways that now exist. As a result, it has been worked and reworked into all sorts of updated versions and retro models, all of which have maintained the core aesthetic of the legendary original.

The first time the Air Jordan 1 Bred was re-released in an official retro was 1994 – the year after Jordan’s initial retirement from basketball. It looks just like the original, right down to the black Air Jordan Wings logo on the lateral ankle. The next came in 2001, the year Jordan returned from retirement for the second time. This one resembles the previous two, but was limited to 14884 pairs, with the specific number of each shoe written on the inside of the tongue. 2008 was when the Bred Jordan 1 got one of many adjustments to its design on the Jordan 1 High Strap Bred. As the name suggests, it has an ankle strap, but this model also features the Jumpman logo on the tongue in place of the Nike Air branding seen on the earlier Jordan 1 Breds.

In 2009, Jordan Brand honored the original again with the DMP Bred, which was part of a pack made to celebrate Jordan’s post-season scoring record of 63 points. As he achieved the feat in a playoff game against the Celtics in 1986, the Defining Moments Pack consisted of two colorways: a Celtics-themed one and the Chicago Bred. It is similar to the first Bred in many ways, but features Jumpman logos on the tongue and heel and the date of the record-breaking game on the inside of the tongue. Two years later, another retro came out, this time with the name Banned attached to it and novel elements such as a red cross on the heel and text on the insole telling the story of the ban. 2013 brought the next re-release of the Jordan 1 High Bred, its use of a polyurethane coating on the leather upper giving its red tones a slightly brighter tinge. A mid-top Bred with a red forefoot and eyestay along with black swooshes was released in the same year.

By this point, the Bred colorway was a global phenomenon, and Jordan Brand began to experiment more and more with the look and build of the sneaker. 2014 produced a low-top known as the Bred Elephant Print due to the memorable elephant skin graphic on its red leather panels. Without a high-cut collar to host the Air Jordan Wings, this Jordan 1 Low Bred has the logo embroidered into its heel counter instead. This became standard practice on the Low version of the Bred, including on the 2015 Jordan 1 Retro version. That same year, two more reworked Bred designs were launched. One was the Air Jordan 1.5 The Return, so named because its upper resembles the Jordan 1 Bred and its sole unit is that of the Jordan 2. The other was the Jordan 1 KO Bred, which has similar colors to the traditional Bred but comes with canvas material across the upper, a sole unit taken from the Nike Vandal and the distinctive AJKO Wings logo.

In 2016, the high-top Bred was retroed once more as part of Jordan Brand’s Remastered program, which seeks to bring back classic sneakers in their original form. As a result, the Jordan 1 OG Bred Banned was released in a design true to the 1985 edition, but with a contemporary leather of very high quality. Around the same time, the Satin Bred was revealed for the first time in a limited run of just 501 pairs. It is made of a velvety smooth satin material inspired by Michael’s collection of flight jackets, with the Wings logo appearing as a woven patch on the lateral collar, but otherwise having the classic Bred look. The AJ1 Ultra High was another version to introduce new materials to the Bred, including neoprene, canvas and wool. The textural variation then continued in 2017 with the release of the Flyknit Bred – another high-top in the image of the original but made using Nike’s lightweight but durable Flyknit weave – and the Bred Camo – a version with red suede overlays on top of a gray camo graphic on the leather parts of the upper.

2018 was a year that brought another retro design in the form of a new Jordan 1 Mid Bred that incorporates tumbled leather overlays in Gym Red alongside smooth black nubuck for a sleek update on the earlier models. The Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG Bred Toe came out that year as well. It combines the tones of the 1985 Bred with the color-blocking effects of another original AJ1 colorway – the Black Toe. It added a whole new dimension to the design and led to a run of other shoes based on the Bred Toe style. One year later, in 2019, the Bred was reimagined for the football field when it was given a custom moulded sole unit with studs on the TD Cleat. A kids shoe known as the Sky Jordan 1 was then released in Bred colors, its Velcro strap containing an eye-catching pair of white Jordan Wings.

Moving into the 2020s, Jordan Brand created more and more variations on the Bred, beginning a highly productive period for the beloved colorway. In 2020, the Air Jordan 1 Reverse Bred Low flipped the layout of earlier designs with a black toe box and midfoot alongside red overlays. A Mid edition followed two years later with its own take on the original. 2021 saw the release of another Reverse Bred with a predominantly Gym Red upper, before the Bred’s black and red tones were applied to two alternative Jordan 1 models, the first of which was the Jordan 1 Zoom CMFT. It comes with a few modifications, including red cutout swooshes in its otherwise black leather upper and Zoom Air branding on the tongue to indicate the use of the responsive cushioning in its midsole. The other version was the Patent Bred, which displays the classic color arrangement of the original, but is made from glossy patent leather, giving an eye-catching sheen to its black and Varsity Red upper. A Low Bred Toe was also released in 2021 in a continuation of the alternative look. 

Several more Bred Toes were created in 2022, including the Mid Bred Toe and a FlyEase model with Velcro straps and a zip around the heel to allow ease of access for those unable to put on shoes with a more traditional build. The Alternate Bred Toe also came out in both mid- and low-top styles alongside the standard Alternate Bred, each one featuring a slightly different variation of the white, black and red tones that unite all Bred sneakers. That year, two other models added new elements to the Bred. There was the women’s Jordan 1 Elevate Low SE Bred, with its lifted platform sole, unconventional Wings logo and reworked outsole, and the Bred Text, which is covered in the words “Black” and “Red”. Onto its white midsole, “Black + Red = Bred” has been printed in a bright red tone, paying homage to the colorway’s origins.

This incredible run of Bred releases continued into 2023, with a wider release of the Satin Bred and a low-top version of the Air Jordan 1 KO Bred. In the same year, yet another variation called the Bred Sail was crafted. A low-top with a mostly black leather upper and red highlights on the toe box, swooshes and Wings logo, it has an off-white midsole that evokes an aged look for even more retro vibes.

Although the Air Jordan 1 has been released in many different colorways over the years, the original Bred design still remains one of the most sought-after to this day. Its rebellious origins gave it a headstart, but its captivating color scheme and its range of updated models have kept the shoe going for many decades. As the story of the Jordan 1 Bred develops, producing more and more exciting sneakers, it will no doubt grow its adoring fanbase, thus continuing its remarkable legacy.

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