Back in the ‘80s, it's entirely possible that nobody, not even Nike, would know the substantial impact of signing the then-rookie Michael Jordan to the Nike brand. In 1984, the entire world was at the edge of their seats, delighted to watch Jordan begin his career as the Chicago Bulls’ third overall pick in the NBA draft. Not only did the NBA and basketball fans worldwide see the young basketball player’s potential, but so did Nike. It's hard to believe that Michael Jordan wasn’t immediately interested in signing with Nike. Still, he reasoned that Nike sneakers were too uncomfortable for the court, so he preferred sporting a pair of Converse instead (cue the foreshadowing of Nike acquiring Converse almost two decades later).
Around the time that Nike signed Michael Jordan, the brand was primarily known for its running shoes, so the concept of them transitioning into basketball received substantial public criticism. But this criticism didn’t last long when the perfect storm arrived: Michael Jordan’s massive success as a rookie and the overwhelmingly positive response to the Air Jordan 1’s arrival as the debut Air Jordan sneaker.
With that, three years after the Air Jordan 1’s debut in 1985, Nike was ready to introduce the third sneaker in the iconic Air Jordan line—the Air Jordan 3. The Air Jordan 3 was released in 1988 and is considered one of the most popular Air Jordan models in the entire line. Setting a new standard for fashion and design thanks to its premium blend of elevation, style, and technology, this silhouette was quite a departure from the previous two models. The Air Jordan 3 was actually the first model to feature the iconic Jumpman. Legendary sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield also designed the design (think the Air Max 1 and Air Trainer 1). Additionally, there was a visible air unit at the heel and new materials like the elephant print overlays at the toe and heel. The sneaker was first worn by Michael Jordan during his return from a foot injury in the 1987-1988 season and the 1988 All-Star Game.
The Air Jordan 3’s debut arrived in four original colorways: ‘White Cement,’ ‘Black Cement,’ ‘Fire Red,’ and ‘True Blue.’ Although all four of these colorways made an impression and are still considered some of the most iconic color combinations in the Air Jordan line, ‘True Blue’ stands out in its own way. Although Michael didn’t wear the Air Jordan 3 ‘True Blue’ sneakers during his time with the Chicago Bulls, the sneaker got plenty of wear while he played for the Washington Wizards. The sneaker was also seen on the feet of the late Kobe Bryant during the 2003 NBA All-Star Game. Making an ever-lasting impression on the sneaker industry, this colorway has only been re-released a handful of times since its initial debut.
Sneaker colorways are meant to be jarring by design, as Nike is well-versed in straddling the line between core colors and unique experimentation. Colorways can truly make or break a sneaker, and any sneakers’ popularity typically comes down to one factor—it's color. And the Jordan Brand is no stranger to taking colorways from one sneaker model and applying it to another. This act has been done to the Air Jordan 12 ‘Taxi’-inspired Air Jordan 1s, the Air Jordan 13-inspired ‘Court Purple’ 1s, and many more. With that, the Jordan Brand continues this approach with the ‘True Blue’ colorway on the Air Jordan 1 High. This classic colorway is highly sought-after, maintaining an important place in sneaker culture thanks to its well-designed and attractive aesthetic. Just in time for the Air Jordan 3’s 35th anniversary, the Air Jordan 1 ‘True Blue’ arrives in men’s, grade school, preschool, and toddler sizing.
Dressed in familiar hues borrowed from this OG colorway of the Air Jordan 3, the Air Jordan 1 ‘True Blue’ takes on a smooth leather upper contrasted by additional leather overlays and a crisp white midsole. True Blue hits can be seen at the forefoot overlay, Swoosh, and eyestay. Cement Grey can be found at the heel and collar overlay, while the signature retro Jordan Wings branding is stamped at the ankle. A Nike Air tongue tag is woven into the nylon tongue, and the lightweight cushioning is supported by the encapsulated Air-sole unit. The rubber cupsole supports the remainder of the premium sneaker. Along with the sneaker itself, the shoe arrives in a fresh OG-style Nike Air shoebox that nods to the history of the ‘True Blue’ colorway.
The FEATURE Release Draw for the Air Jordan 1 ‘True Blue’ (DZ5485-410) ends Friday, 1/13, at 4 p.m. PST.
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