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First Impression: Air Jordan I (1) Retro High


March is just around the corner which means only one thing – for me at least – The Air Jordan Project is about to begin…

Hit the jump for more…

Before I get into the First Impression I just want to clear one thing up briefly; in the initial introduction video I stated that I would be playing in a pair of Air Jordan 1’s which were originally released in 1985. Some misinterpreted that, thinking I would be playing in an OG pair of AJ1’s which isn’t true.

The whole point of this project is to test the current – or the most current I can find – Retro products to see if those are as performance worthy as they once were. So with that being said, let’s get into the First Impression.


Traction – No herringbone, that’s for sure. However, the traction looks as if it will work out just fine. The entire outsole is covered in texture which will help create some friction between the foot and floor; FYI – the stars I consider texture as well.


Then you have thin rubber grooves going in a circular motion. The rubber itself is fairly flexible so from a front to back standpoint it should work out.


Now some of these aren’t extremely new as far as their release year is concerned so I will be testing out a new product while The Air Jordan Project is taking place. This new product is called Sneaker Grip – www.SneakerGrip.com for more information – and it is not a ‘magical grip giving liquid’. Instead, it is a rubber enhancer which is supposed to keep rubber soles flexible – which is where a lot of your grip comes from – and it’s also supposed to restore the flexibility in older rubber, hence using this alongside certain Air Jordan models.


Cushion – Well… this part scares me a bit. Originally there was an encapsulated Air Sole unit in the heel and nothing in the forefoot. I have never taken apart and Air Jordan 1 so I cannot confirm this but I will just have to trust that there is one in there. Even if there is an Air Sole within the heel… the entire outsole is made of solid rubber which is not nearly as forgiving as foam products such as Polyurethane, Phylon and EVA.

In case you didn’t know, Michael Jordan broke his foot wearing the Air Jordan 1… yippee! Yes, I said ‘yippee’… I’m white… that’s how we roll.


Now there have been some very slight modifications in these newer models. Under the insole is the same grey foam lining which is found in quite a few newer releases. This makes for a nice step in comfort feeling however, the midsole is still solid rubber so this won’t help too much at all.


Material & Fit – These fit true to size and the materials are very different than what was used back in 1985 and even 1994 – when the Air Jordan 1 was first made into a Retro. Obviously this isn’t surprising so I won’t complain too much and just cross my fingers that the leather breaks in quickly.


Ventilation – Perforations are found on the toe box. This is the only area in which heat will be able to escape other than the Nylon tongue. Nylon is fairly breathable and is still used today so ventilation will most likely perform similar to some of today’s performance models.


Support – There isn’t any… The height of the shoe is not support, just restriction for my ankles. In the midfoot there is no shank plate or arch support. One thing that I dislike on nearly every single pair of Air Jordan 1’s is the fact that the soles are always uneven which causes stress on the foot and arch.

In the image above you can see the left shoe (which is actually the right shoe) looks as if it’s tilted a bit… that’s because it is since the outsole was molded uneven. Yes, this can be painful when playing in them while casual use you can usually handle it for the day.


So that pretty much completes my First Impression on the Air Jordan 1. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t end up getting injured while testing out the very first shoe in the project.

Stay tuned as I will be posting Performance Teasers on the AJ1 throughout the process.

  1. You’re actually doing it man! was about to play in mine for a league game when my coach said ” you just came from a knee surgery,wanna have another one!” it forced me to use my 2010’s LOL, BTW I played in them in a pick-up game and traction was excellent (mine had gum insole), good luck man!

  2. I used to play in Nanyang (my school shoes, basically low top Chucks with herringbone ), Chucks and Air Force Ones back in middle and high school.
    (obviously those years have taken their toll on me)

    I guess AJ1 should feel identical to AF1, since they are almost the same shoes aside from the strap (which does nothing).

    Good luck for you, sir.

  3. This has nothing to do with what you are about to do but I’m going to say it anyways on this. I am no longer going to look else where when it comes to true reviews about shoes. You were 100% right on what you said with the 2011s, I should’ve gone a half a size smaller. 100% right on the Kobe 7s, even though I bought them before you’re review went up, they aren’t a very good ball shoe. And a 100% right on the Air Jordan 2012s, these are a performance beasts on courts. Props to you sir I admire your work.

  4. Shoot, you better not play too hard, we wanna at least see you continue the project into April, lol. Don’t hurt yourself!

  5. i played outdoors in chucks during high school, and i’m only going 22 this year. that time i thought i just try to get a good laugh from the people on court so i played in my black/red-yellow-flaming high chucks for 1 year until the soles were worn out. all i can say they were very very responsive… if you get what i mean. but the chucks may beat flywire and fuse for fit…

        1. The new Chuck Taylors are made by Nike since they bought Converse. They have rubber on the outsole along with a felt like material on every section that isnt part of the diamond pattern. Its a soft fuzzy material that wont grip to a hardwood court.

          1. oic. i kind of remember what it looks like. converse’s are made here in the philippines btw. and they still cost more than what you buy there. nike’s asia hub also is here and they cost more.

            i think you can find the AJ 1 too responsive too. keep safe

  6. this is crazy… love the idea of this project though… hope you don’t get injured while testing these retros

  7. all i know is aj1 got some insane traction even in a very dusty court they still grip to the floor with very loud squeaks

  8. This is really a great project. Sometimes I play in my retros too. 2’s are a very good shoe 3’s are just way too heavy never played in 4’s but I’m just gonna warn you about 5’s and 6’s.

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