As this year marks the release of Michael Jordan's 30th signature sneaker, there have been more efforts than usual to rank the entirety of his Air Jordan line. The problem with these rankings are that they've been been done so many times already that it's nearly impossible to get rankings that aren't influenced by lists that came before them. How is each Air Jordan received when presented to someone with no preconceived notions of "classics," or someone who doesn't even know who Tinker Hatfield's is? To try and figure this out, we're enlisting people who know nothing about sneakers to rank all 30 Air Jordan signature shoes. They don't know which models Jordan himself actually played in, they don't know which ones sell for more money at Flight Club, and their opinions aren't influenced by years of blog posts building up the same couple of silhouettes and brand communications designating classics. Our first contributor for this series is Kristen Yoonsoo Kim, a pop culture/film writer at Complex who, as you'll find out below, doesn't have a clue as to what's going on in the world of sneakers. Read her rankings below.
Disclaimer: I only own one pair of sneakers. Okay actually MAYBE two but only one pair that I can confidently call “sneakers.” (They’re these cute silvery blue Nikes that I purchased in the Hamptons one time ‘cause I was feeling bougie, which, I KNOW, douchey.) I’ve always been more of a boot collector, if you will. What I’m trying to say is, I know absolutely nothing about sneakers. However, I have a great eye for aesthetic, which is why I think I’m a perfectly authoritative figure to judge some Air Jordans. I have NO idea which ones are cool or special or “fire kicks” or even new or old (even though I use words like “classic” and “vintage”), but I know my hots from my uglies. Some of these shoes disturbed me to my core, while others made me feel like maybe I could really “get” “into” sneakers. Who knows, maybe after this I could become a professional sneakerhead. (Just kidding, I already know y’all are gonna drag me in the comments already.) So without further ado, here is a complete ranking of all the Air Jordans based solely on my gut feeling with zero sneaker knowledge whatsoever.