We round up all the best Air Jordan 1s of the glossy variety.
There’s an ironic thing happening in sneakers. As time marches on and the memory of Michael Jordan’s time with the Chicago Bulls becomes less vivid, the more popular his signature Air Jordan 1 seems to become. Nostalgia no doubt plays a role in keeping the vintage basketball shoe at the forefront of culture. But Jordan Brand also deserves credit for preserving the Jordan 1’s legacy. In recent years, the brand has kept the silhouette fresh by releasing it in premium patent leather—one of the more unique materials to grace the shoe.
Indeed, colorways like the Air Jordan 1 High OG “Bred Patent,” which released at the end of last December and mirrors the iconic look of the original “Bred” colorway, are telling a new story. They’re also giving sneaker collectors a chance to make their own memories with the shoe, whether they saw Jordan hoop in the original version or not. The sentiment holds true on another Jordan 1 in patent leather, the Air Jordan 1 High OG “Shattered Backboard 3.0,” which plays into Jordan’s heritage by honoring an early career highlight.
Clearly, the Air Jordan 1 patent leather collection isn’t just built on flash. There’s real substance behind the theme. Whether you choose to wear an Air Jordan 1 in a patent leather colorway to show your allegiance to Jordan, or simply because they look cool, there’s no right or wrong answer here.
From February 2019, the Women’s Air Jordan 1 High OG “UNC Patent” is another version of the classic basketball shoe in a patent leather design that pays tribute to an original Jordan 1 colorway, this time the popular “UNC” style.
Jordan 1 – Low – “Gold Toe”
Like its high-top counterpart, the Air Jordan 1 Low “Gold Toe” brings a luxurious look to the retro basketball shoe with its black patent leather overlays juxtaposed with Metallic Gold leather panels.
The original Air Jordan 1 “Bred,” the shoe Michael Jordan wore during the 1985 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, and never again in the NBA, is the inspiration for the Jordan 1 High OG “Bred Patent.” The modern version of the black-and-red shoe replaces its original leather construction with glossy patent leather for a premium look.
Women’s Jordan 1 – Mid – “Navy/White/Red Patent”
For whatever reason, Jordan Brand has refrained from releasing a dedicated “USA” or “Dream Team” Air Jordan 1, but that doesn’t mean the shoe has never appeared in a red, white, and blue colorway. The Women’s Air Jordan 1 Mid “Navy/White/Red Patent” loosely references the basketball team Jordan helped lead to Olympic Gold at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
Where the first two Air Jordan 1 “Shattered Backboard” colorways kept things relatively straightforward from a design standpoint, the third edition, the “Shattered Backboard 3.0” leans into an entirely new vibe with its crinkled patent leather panels in black and orange.
Women’s Jordan 1 – Mid – “Pomegranate”
If Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake’s incredibly rare, unreleased Air Jordan 1 “Legends of Summer” colorway has eluded you, and understandably so, you can still evoke the shoe’s Big Red Energy by wearing the Women’s Air Jordan 1 Mid “Pomegranate.” High praise for the latter, indeed.
Perhaps the most limited Air Jordan 1 patent leather colorway yet, the Air Jordan 1 High OG “Gold Top 3” was released in limited quantities at Union LA in celebration of ComplexCon 2017.
Women’s Jordan 1 – Mid – “Multicolor Patent”
Air Jordan 1s in patent leather are flashy enough, but when you add mismatching panels, that’s when things really get interesting. An array of colors, including orange, blue, red, and green are found in one place or another on the head-turning Women’s Air Jordan 1 Mid SE “Multicolor Patent.”
There’s a bit of a lineage to the Air Jordan 1 High OG “Black/Metallic Gold.” Before its recent release in November 2020, the colorway was trotted out in 2003 on the Air Jordan 1 Retro silhouette. Both of those versions are actually predated by an extremely rare, unreleased Friends & Family version of the shoe that existed back in 1985.