It's impossible to single out one pair of Air Jordans as the rarest in the world. There's several one-offs, as well as a few mysterious samples that can't or haven't been explained. However, Kris Arnold can make the claim that he at least owns one of the rarest Air Jordans, and he stopped by Sole Collector's Full Size Run last week to share the story of how he obtained this likely unicorn.
During the early 90s, Arnold worked as an account executive at ProServ, a sports management firm that included Michael Jordan as one of its clients. Among the many projects ProServ worked on for Jordan was helping put together his Nike deal. Jordan had parted ways with the company a year early, prompting an office cleanout of gear that had been stored and displayed. When Arnold saw two Air Jordan sneakers on the verge of being tossed out, he asked if he could take them instead. The shoes were early production samples of the original "Chicago" and "Black Toe" Air Jordan 1s.
“I happened to be there in my office while it was happening and I said, 'No, I’ll take those.’” Arnold told us in a 2015 interview. “They were going to just throw them in the trash. That’s what they would’ve done hands down.”
At first glance, one may not notice the differences between Arnold's shoes and the pairs that actually released, but there are distinguishing features. For example, the overall shape of the samples is a bit more sleek, the cut is lower, the Swooshes are larger, the toebox cut is minimal and there's subtle differences on the outsole.
To date, Arnold has received big money offers for his Jordans, but not one that has seriously made him consider selling. With that said, he hasn't completely ruled out parting with the shoes.
See Arnold discuss his rare samples in the video above, which also includes segments on the new Spike Lee x Air Jordan 1, DJ Khaled x Air Jordan 3, Lonzo Ball x Foot Locker and more. Subscribe to Full Size Size Run on YouTube and iTunes for future episodes