by Jack Strong
Let's rewind things back to a year ago when we were all eagerly anticipating the release of the Air Jordan 1 High OG Chicago "Lost & Found." Dubbed by many as the sneaker of the year, the launch of the "Chicago" combined with the release of Netflix’s The Last Dance series saw the Air Jordan 1 reach new-found levels of superstardom.
So, with that said, we have to ask - what happened? Those paying close attention to the sneaker industry will know where we're going with this, but there has undoubtedly been a decline in interest when it comes to the Air Jordan 1 silhouette. Now, while you can attribute some of this to the natural ebb and flow of the industry, there are certainly more factors in play relating to the shoe's downfall.
Depending on who you ask, you might hear some attribute the AJ1's downfall to the over-saturation of the silhouette. For years, the majority of Air Jordan 1 colourways sold like hotcakes, but as Nike sought to meet the increased demand, the introduction of more general releases flooded the market.
Naturally, with many of us expressing the intrinsic urge to seek only that which is hard to obtain, many of these general-release silhouettes were often left to take up residence in the sale section of Nike's website. As a result of this, Nike even announced a reshuffle in leadership earlier this year in a direct quest for innovation.
Innovation aside, you simply can't ignore the underlying factor all of us are facing. Just like every other industry, the cost of living crisis has seen sneakers skyrocket in price, and much to our dismay, Jordan Brand is no exception to the rule. With AJ1 retail prices now soaring as high as £175 in 2023, Jordans are gradually becoming less and less affordable for the average sneakerhead.
With a vast majority of sneakerheads looking to spend less money, it's worth acknowledging what people are now willing to spend their hard-earned cash on. Given the ongoing trend and its more appealing price point, many Nike diehards are turning to embrace both the Dunk and SB Dunk. When comparing Q3 2022 vs Q3 2023, The Sole Supplier has witnessed a 5% increase in traffic to Dunk pages, proving last year's demand is still firmly in place.
Though 5% is impressive, it is not quite comparable to the rise the adidas Samba has witnessed during the same time period. When comparing Q3 2022 vs Q3 2023, the Samba has seen a 300% increase in traffic, making it one of the highest-surging footwear silhouettes on the market.
While we can't attribute this surge in popularity solely to the shoe's price point, it does suggest a notable trend among the broader sneakerhead community. Not only are enthusiasts increasingly open to embracing more budget-friendly styles, but they are also showing a growing interest in diverse brands and even general-release pairs.