In October 2023, one of the most sought-after variations of one of the most popular rare sneaker silhouettes is back, and sneakerheads are getting exceptionally hyped up for it.
Much like MJ’s legendary 1995 fax that proclaimed his return to the NBA, the return of the “Satin Bred” variation of the famous Air Jordan 1 OGs has captivated so many people who missed the exceptionally rare shoes the first time around.
The reason for this can be told through two stories, 32 years apart, one which created the legacy of the Air Jordan brand and the aura of the Air Jordan 1 silhouette in particular, and another about a variation that within days sold for ten times its price on reseller websites.
The Bred colourway was originally known as the “Banned” colourway, and there is an exceptionally literal reason for this that relates to one of the most nonsensical rules in a sport filled with them.
Whilst since around 2018 the NBA has significantly relaxed their rules on sneaker colours and designs outside of third-party logos, for a very long time there were strict rules on what players could and could not wear, designed for a time when people almost invariably wore Converse.
The rule was that shoes needed to match the team’s uniforms as well as the shoes their teammates were wearing, which was typically enforced by requiring any basketball shoes to have at least 51 per cent of its colourway be white, with the rest being in the team’s colours.
By 1984, when a certain brash, transcendental superstar by the name of Michael Jordan was drafted to the Chicago Bulls, that was simply not going to work. He was working with Nike on the biggest signature shoe since Chuck Taylor and would not be denied any chance to express himself.
On 18th October 1984, before the legendary Air Jordan 1 was even finalised, Michael Jordan wore a somewhat unusual set of the similarly designed Nike Air Ship for his pre-season game against the New York Knicks.
They featured a primarily black colourway with red highlights, prompting a very angry letter from the office of then-NBA executive vice president Russ Granik on orders from head David Stern, effectively banning the sneakers.
There are some revisions to this history on Nike’s part; he never wore them during a game so he was never fined $5000 per game and opted for still striking and influential red and black “Chicago” colourway for the 1984-85 season.
Regardless, it is still seen as a landmark moment that birthed sneaker culture as we know it.
Over three decades later, the “Banned” colourway was largely renamed “Bred” and started to appear more widely in retros and in materials besides the traditional leather.
Satin Bred was inspired by Michael Jordan’s huge collection of satin flight jackets and immediately drew interest from collectors, the overwhelming majority of which almost immediately missed out on the 501 pairs that were released.
The 2023 rerelease is set to release with much more availability, although exactly how much and whether there will be another run on the Satin Breds will remain to be seen.