A new take on the AJ1 is thiiiiis close to the OG colorway.
Most retro reissues of Air Jordans fall into one of two categories: a modernized version that is essentially a carbon copy of the original, or a new-ish sneaker that plays with existing colors, patterns, and materials from deep in the Jordan vault. The new Air Jordan 1 “Game Royal,” the latest release from Jordan Brand, opts for a little bit of both, mixing and mashing some classic Jordan motifs and colors from the first run of the now-iconic shoe. To start, it takes the instantly recognizable color blocking from the the 1985 “Chicago” sneaker, but trades the Bulls red for a deep royal blue.
As far as modern updates, the sneaker is constructed with rich, full-grain leather and features a distinct high-top cut. (The Jordan re-releases of the early 2000s are more like mid-height sneakers, but when it comes to a Jordan 1, you want a true high-top.) Usually, a mash-up sneaker can only hope to look fine—that’s what happens when you try to fix something that isn’t broken. These, though, much like last month’s “Bred Toe” Jordan, are genuinely stylish—the sort of shoe that will manage the tricky feat of appealing to OG Jordan-heads and newcomers alike. And for sneakerheads, these are essentially a consolation prize to those who missed out on the Nike Air Jordan 1 x “Fragment Design” collaboration back in 2014. (Which, considering their rarity, was almost everyone.)
Nike’s ability to re-release retros and remix new iterations of the Air Jordan 1—and the fact that sneaker fans will still go crazy for just about all of them—is further proof of the shoe’s status as one of the most iconic sneakers of all time, even some 33 years after its initial release. While the black-and-red Air Jordan 1s might have been the colorway that started it all, this white-and-blue pair proves that even a classic can be modernized.
$160, available March 24 via Nike SNKRS and Footlocker.
Everything You Need to Know About the Air Jordan 1 Royal