by Steve Jaconetta
images by Steve Jaconetta & Nike

The Air Jordan I has been released in various forms, cuts and materials. Today we take a look at the lineage of the Air Jordan I KO.

The Air Jordan I ditched leather for canvas in 1986. Named the Air Jordan KO, they feature ‘AJKO’ on the wings logos instead of ‘Air Jordan’. The reasoning as to why this change was made or, the naming of the shoe the Air Jordan K.O. is still unknown to this day. While the original Air Jordan I is highly coveted, sought after and hard-to-find, the AJKO is all that, and then some. While we know that at least four colorways were originally released in ’86, every now and then we stumble upon another pair we practically know nothing about.

If you do enough research, you can find about ten original colorways of the Air Jordan I KO. But, at the end of the day, many are samples that never actually released to the public. Another difference between the AJI and the AJKO is the outsole. For the ‘Silver Anniversary’ of the Air Jordan in 2010, Jordan Brand retroed the KO’s for the first time. Two colorways of the Air Jordan 1 Retro KO High dropped, both original. They featured a ‘vintage’ look to them with yellowed midsoles, ‘powdered outsoles and some yellowing on the uppers as well. The original style outsole was also replaced with the regular AJI version.

One year later, in 2011, the Air Jordan 1 Retro KO High would return. This time around, they featured an entirely different look, with premium leather uppers instead of the traditional canvas. Three colorways dropped and to date, are the only AJKO’s to release with a canvas upper. In 2012 they made another appearance. Three colorways released during this short run, which included the original black/red and ‘Black Toes’ as well as a new Barcelona-inspired pair, which was a part of the ‘Road to the Gold’ Collection.

In 2013, Jordan Brand debuted the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG. A version featuring original ‘Nike’ branding, just like the versions released in 1985. One year later, the Air Jordan 1 Retro KO High got the ‘OG’ treatment, complete with its original outsole and packaged in an orange Nike box. The original white, red and black colorway returned for its second time, sans the ‘vintage’ look. A limited edition ‘Rivalry’ Pack was also released, featuring two colorways, one representing ‘UNC’ and the other, ‘Georgetown’. The original black/royal AJI was converted to an AJKO for the first time and ditched the royal shade for a new sport blue scheme.

At this time, no other Air Jordan 1 Retro KO Highs are officially set to release. However, that could always change. For now, let’s take a look at the history of the Air Jordan I KO from its first release up to the most recent retro below.

 

Air Jordan I KO
9701 White/Black-Red
1986

 

Air Jordan I KO
4261 Black/Red
1986

 

Air Jordan I KO
White/Red
1986

 

Air Jordan I KO
White/Natural Grey
1986

 

Air Jordan 1 Retro KO High ‘Vintage’
402297-161 White/Varsity Red
03/27/2010

 

Air Jordan 1 Retro KO High ‘Vintage’
402297-101 White/Black-Varsity Red
03/27/2010

 

Air Jordan 1 Retro KO High Premium
503539-200 Dark Cinder/Black-Varsity Red
11/15/2011

 

Air Jordan 1 Retro KO High Premium
503539-001 Light Graphite/Black-Varsity Red
11/15/2011

 

Air Jordan 1 Retro KO High Premium
503539-002 Black/Anthracite-Varsity Red
11/15/2011

 

Air Jordan 1 Retro KO High
402297-001 Black/Varsity Red-White
06/02/2012

 

Air Jordan 1 Retro KO High ‘Black Toe’
402297-110 White/Black-Varsity Red
06/02/2012

 

Air Jordan 1 Retro KO High RTTG ‘Barcelona’
539541-035 Stealth/Sunburst-University Blue-White
07/22/2012

 

Air Jordan 1 Retro KO High OG
638471-101 White/Gym Red-Black
03/15/2014

 

Air Jordan 1 Retro KO High OG ‘UNC’
638471-107 White/University Blue
03/15/2014

 

Air Jordan 1 Retro KO High OG ‘Georgetown’
638471-006 Wolf Grey/Midnight Navy-White
03/15/2014

 

Air Jordan 1 Retro KO High OG ‘Sport Blue’
638471-007 Black/Black-Sport Blue
08/23/2014

 

Steve Jaconetta is the Release Dates & Archive Editor of Sole Collector and you can follow him on Twitter here.