An In-Depth Look At the Air Jordan Reimagined Series

With more Reimagined colorways releasing soon, we examine the entire Air Jordan Reimagined catalog.

Jordan Brand officially introduced the Reimagined series in 2022. 

Unlike a standard retro, a “Reimagined” version aims to get the shape of the latest release as close to the original as possible, but also plays with new materials like patent leather, suede, and leather, in order to retell a different story of the silhouette.

We take a detailed look at each colorway of the Reimagined series from debut to changes throughout retros and what makes the Reimagined colorway different from its predecessors.

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Air Jordan 1 High OG “Patent Bred”

Release Date: December 30, 2021

The “Patent Bred” predates the official Reimagined series. Nonetheless, the use of an all-patent leather upper instead of the shoe’s traditional all-leather design deemed it worthy and memorable enough to include in this list as the shoe foreshadowed the Reimagined series that would become a franchise for Jordan Brand.

How We Got Here:

The Air Jordan 1 “Bred” colorway first released in 1985. Later referred to as the “Banned” Air Jordan 1 as the NBA reportedly fined Jordan and Nike for wearing the shoe as it didn’t uphold the league’s uniform policy since the shoe was not composed of 51% white in its design. The “Banned” story was born and the Air Jordan 1 “Bred” gained notoriety.

The Air Jordan 1 “Bred” returned in 1994 as Jordan Brand issued its first wave of retros, which also included the return of other Air Jordan 1 colorways and even the return of the “White Cement” Air Jordan 3 and others. Jordan Brand capitalized on what they thought could’ve been the end of Michael Jordan playing basketball as he announced his retirement in the fall of 1993 after the death of his father in the summer. The 1994 version also featured a new shape and issued a new box that included several pictures of Jordan, the Air Jordan 1-9, and other shots that made it a collector’s must-have.

Image via Reddit

It wasn’t until 2001 that the “Bred” concept was revisited on the Air Jordan 1. The shoe had a different collar and toe box. But that wasn’t all. The shade of the red on the AJ1 was more vibrant and strayed away from the darker shade of red that was used on the 1985 and 1994 releases.

Almost a decade later and the “Bred” Air Jordan 1 returned 2009 as a part of the Air Jordan “Defining Moments Pack” — dedicated collection that retold the marquee moments in Michael Jordan’s career such as his 63-point performance against the Boston Celtics in the 1986 playoffs. The commemorative release included a set of Air Jordan 1 colorways for $225: one “Bred” and one “Celtics” iteration (which was revisited and released with the Air Jordan 1 High OG “Lucky Green” in 2023). However, the 2009 “Bred” didn’t feature the signature “Nike Air” branding on the tongue and instead went with “Jumpman Air” branding, which took away from the lure of its pure “Bred”-ness. However, it did bring back a darker shade of red than the 2001 version although it wasn’t as close as the OG in comparison to the 1994 version.

Shortly after the “DMP” version of the “Bred” Air Jordan 1, Jordan Brand reintroduced black and red AJ1 by telling it through the “Banned” story. The 2011 “Banned” Air Jordan 1 referenced the “Banned” ad on the shoe’s liner and also included red “X” on the shoe’s heels. The darker shade of red, the shoe’s limited availability releasing only at outlets, and the premium leather utilized on the shoe made the “Banned” Air Jordan 1 a fan-favorite.

The “Bred” fervor reignited in 2013 with the latest iteration that would see the return of OG “Nike Air” branding on the tongue for the first time since 2001. Without any Jumpman or “Banned” branding in sight, the 2013 version was a purist’s dream come true with the latest colorway being as close to the original as the industry had seen since 1994. Additionally, the 2013 version made its way to traditional retailers making the shoe a little easier to get.

Finally, in 2016, Jordan Brand reissued the AJ1 line with the introduction of the Air Jordan 1 High OG silhouette–the brand’s closest version of the original 1985 pair at the time (the Air Jordan 1 High OG ‘85 was introduced in 2020). Though the shape was closer to the OG, the brand added tumbled leather that made consumers appreciate the colorway a lot more. With the shape and colors closer to the original, the 2016 AJ1 was dubbed as “Banned” as well.

Air Jordan 1 High OG “Chicago” Reimagined AKA “Lost and Found

Release Date: November 19, 2022

The first official Reimagined shoe started with the “Chicago” AKA “Lost and Found” Air Jordan 1. With aged details, the shoe’s story was centered around going into old stock rooms and mom-and-pop shops and finding deadstock for cheap. In the era of secondary marketplaces, the hunt has become digitized but, Jordan Brand called back to the era of going through back-stocked inventories storage basement to find hidden gems. Packaging also included an aged box with a “mismatched” top and a receipt with a discount price from a small-scale boutique.

How We Got Here:

The “Chicago” Air Jordan 1 High released in 1985 but didn’t carry controversy like its “Bred”/”Banned” counterpart. With a primarily white leather base, the shoe was seen on Michael Jordan during games more often than not due to the NBA’s dress code. Retailing for only $65 back in ‘85, the OG “Chicago” remains one of the culture’s favorite — and least revisited–AJ1 creations.

As “Bred” returned in 1994 for its first-ever retro, so did the “Chicago” colorway. The shape of the tongue, the Swoosh’s thinness, and collar height varied from the OG to the 1994 version. Nevertheless, fans still rave about the 1994 version for its quality, shape, and overall wearability. And, of course, the special box added another layer of storytelling.

Image via Reddit

The “Chicago” Air Jordan 1 would become unseen in the industry for nearly 20 years until the 2013 retro of the Air Jordan 1 brought back the colorway. However, the shoe didn’t include the OG design specs of the “Nike Air” tongue branding. Instead, the Jumpman was found on the tongue of the shoe as well as the heel–a design choice that was common on AJ1s at the time. But despite that, the rarity of the “Chicago” AJ1 made the Jumpman-infused colorway an instant sellout and a must-have for collectors.

Finally, just two years later, the Air Jordan 1 High “Chicago” was seen with original “Nike Air” branding for the first time since 1994. With no Jumpman branding in sight, collectors were finally able to get their hands on a nearly 1-to-1 recreation of Michael Jordan’s most worn AJ1 during his time as a Chicago Bull.

Air Jordan 3 OG “White Cement” Reimagined

Release Date: March 11, 2023

The second issue of the Reimagined series revisited the iconic Air Jordan 3 “White Cement” colorway. With its original “Nike Air” branding, the shoe also featured new details such as an aged boxed, off-white details on the heel tab, midsole that was already pre-aged, and a pamphlet with OG tech specs like the 1988 version had.

How We Got Here:

While the Air Jordan 1 will always remain as a fan favorite, the Air Jordan 3 is arguably one of the most legendary sneakers of all-time. Tinker Hatfield’s first creation with Nike for Michael Jordan took things to a new level with the use of elephant print, the “Nike Air” license plate-esque heel tab, and the debut of the Jumpman logo on the tongue.

During the 1988 All-Star Weekend in Chicago, Michael Jordan participated in the Dunk Contest and delivered the iconic free throw line dunk in the “White Cement” Air Jordan 3. The shoe became cemented in basketball history and became a marquee shoe for collectors because of that moment.

In 1994, as the Air Jordan 1 received the retro treatment, the Air Jordan 3 “White Cement” reappeared in 1994 with the signature special box highlighting MJ’s career. The thin elephant print, the “Nike Air” branding and the shape of the ‘94 version became a classic after the fact as most of the 1994 retros didn’t commercially do well since the retro concept was new for consumers. Nonetheless, the shoe became grail-worthy for collectors as time passed with a pair reselling for $1,600+ as recent as 2021.

The AJ3 “White Cement” returned in 2003. The slight differences on the second- retro of the colorway included variation in the elephant print design as well as the hue of the print itself being lighter on the 2003 version. The main difference, however, was the shoe’s use of the “Jumpman Air” branding on the heel. 

In 2011, it returned again. Not only was the shape of the tongue and toe box different, but the elephant print was more pronounced on this one, much like the original. Despite having thicker lines on the print, the darker hue appeased fans a lot more than the 2003 version. However, the 2011 “White Cement” Air Jordan 3 marked the first time consumers wanted the OG “Nike Air” branding instead of the “Jumpman Air” on the heel tab.

Jordan Brand celebrated the 25th anniversary of the iconic free throw line dunk with a remastered Air Jordan 3 “White Cement” that included the “Nike Air” heel branding for the first time since 1994. The shape was closer to the original than its predecessors and included even darker and thicker elephant print design.

In 2018, the 30th anniversary of the silhouette and the dunk were celebrated in Los Angeles for the 2018 All-Star Weekend as Jordan Brand retold the free throw line dunk like never before. The colorway featured “3:51” on the back pull tab to commemorate the moment Jordan took flight and “147” on the tongue to reference his final dunk score. However, an icy blue outsole and a red stripe on one of the outsoles to reference the free throw line dunk made it more of a commemoration than it did fulfill the originality that purists were yearning for.

Air Jordan 1 High OG “Royal” Reimagined

Release Date: November 4, 2023

The Reimagined series continues on the Air Jordan 1 High OG as the “Royal” colorway gets its third retro. Instead of its signature all-leather upper, the shoe is constructed in an all-suede look with a vibrant royal blue and black hue. The shoe is also packaged in a matching box instead of the traditional black and red AJ1 packaging.

How We Got Here:

While black, red, and white are tied most to the Air Jordan line, “Royal” is one of the few non-Bulls color themes that has become ingrained into the Jordan legacy.

It released in 1985 and despite Michael Jordan not wearing it in-game, the Air Jordan 1 High “Royal” remains high on the list for sneakerheads due to its originality and cultural moments such as the matching flight suits, original ads, and even wearing them during a pick-up game with a cruise ship crew. 

Image via Complex

However, the shoe wouldn’t be brought back until 2001. The shape was drastically different from the OG with a shortened collar and a rounder toe box and the shades of blue and black were darker as well. Nonetheless, the 2001 version still had the “Nike Air” branding and brought back the perfect amount of nostalgia for fans.

It would be more than a decade for the “Royal” Air Jordan 1 to return. The 2013 Air Jordan 1 High “Royal” featured the brightest shade of blue on a “Royal” to date and still included the “Nike Air” branding. Much like the “Bred” Air Jordan 1 from 2013, the “Royal” was just as popular and well-received.

Shortly after, the Air Jordan 1 High “Royal” was released in 2017 and was the closest in design since the 2001 version. Not only was the “Royal” hue more aligned with the original, the Swoosh shape was thinner as well.

Air Jordan 11 “DMP” / “Gratitude”

Release Date: December 9, 2023

Although not an original Air Jordan 11 colorway, the Air Jordan 11 “DMP” will receive the Reimagined treatment in 2023 and will be renamed as “Gratitude” colorway. Additionally, the shoe’s signature ballistic mesh upper will be substituted for a tumbled leather upper instead. Its gold details, milky white outsole, and signature patent leather will remain the same.

How We Got Here:

The Air Jordan 11 is a legend in its own right. Its patent leather, translucent outsole, ballistic mesh, and its tuxedo-inspired look elevated the Air Jordan line due to Tinker’s forward-thinking design. 

The Air Jordan 11 made its debut during the 1995 playoffs as the Chicago Bulls faced Orlando Magic and its dynamic duo of Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal. Though the Bulls were bested by the Magic, all eyes were on Jordan. The early prototype of what would become the Air Jordan 11 stole the show during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Both the “Concord” and “Space Jam” colorways would make their on-court debut during the series and teed up one of the most iconic seasons as the 1995-1996 Bulls went onto a 72-10 season and secured their fourth NBA championship during the Michael Jordan era.

Due to its design and the Bulls’ historic season, the shoe became etched in basketball and sneaker history. 

In 2000, the Air Jordan 11 would retro for the first time and its release marked a new era in sneaker culture as campouts would soon become the norm – especially with the “Space Jam” colorway releasing for the first time. As the years went by and sneaker culture grew, the Air Jordan 11 became a holiday tradition that resulted in one of the most coveted releases of the year. Unfortunately, its hype, demand, and lack of supply resulted in violence throughout the country and implicitly started the shift to online releases due to the chaotic release of the 2011 Air Jordan 11 “Concord” colorway. 

But before the unprecedented hype of the Air Jordan, Jordan Brand released the Air Jordan 6 and the Air Jordan 11 in 2006 as a part of a two-shoe combination called the Defining Moments Pack. Retailing for $296, the shoes commemorated Michael Jordan’s first championship shoes from each respective three-peat–the AJ6 in 1991 and the AJ11 in 1996. The shoe added gold onto the “Concord”-inspired Air Jordan 11 “DMP” with the 23 heel branding and Jumpman logo on the collar, giving the AJ11 a new level of luxury as the OG patent leather was accentuated with the metallic gold details. The pair also came with a golden dog tag that was etched with the details of the importance of the AJ11 as it was his first championship after his first retirement.

Air Jordan 11 "DMP" rumored for Holiday 2023
Air Jordan 6/11 “DMP”

Air Jordan 4 “Bred” Reimagined

Release Date: February 17, 2024
Air Jordan 4 “Bred” Reimagined FV5029-006

First seen in 1989, the “Bred” Air Jordan 4 will receive the Reimagined treatment and will feature a leather upper instead of the shoe’s signature nubuck. With “Nike Air” heel branding, the AJ4 “Bred” will make its return in new form for the first time since 2019.

How We Got Here:

Tinker Hatfield’s second creation for Michael Jordan was the Air Jordan 4. With a more prominent heel tab that carried over “Nike Air” branding like the AJ3, the fourth signature shoe also included panel netting for breathability, wings for lockdown stability, and came in either a leather or nubuck upper depending on the colorway.

Referred interchangeably as “Bred” or “Black Cement,” the Air Jordan 4 made its debut in 1989 and is remembered best for “the Shot” as Michael Jordan and the Bulls eliminated the Cleveland Cavaliers with a buzzer beater in the 1989 NBA Playoffs.

However, the Air Jordan 4 “Bred” has been revisited the least despite being a memorable OG colorway. The colorway made its retro debut in 2012. The shape of the silhouette wasn’t as sleek as the original and also featured the Jumpman logo on the heel. Nonetheless, the shoe’s disappearance for 23 years mattered more than OG design specs for consumers.

In 2019, Jordan Brand celebrated the 30th anniversary of the silhouette and delivered the closest shape and design of the OG with the Air Jordan 4 “Bred” that included “Nike Air” heel branding. Its slimmer shape, especially on the toe box, was great for enthusiasts. And while the shoe did sell out, it wasn’t until the last few years were the price of the “Bred” 4s shot up with the shoe spiking at nearly $600 in late 2021. 

Don’t forget to text KICKS to 23123 to stay on top of the latest Air Jordan releases and news. 

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