Beginning with Nike’s signing of Michael Jordan in 1984 and the appearance of the first Air Jordan the following year, Air Jordans have revolutionized the sneaker industry. Their colors, innovative style, and cultural significance changed the way people look at athletic shoes. Each release of new Air Jordans is anxiously awaited, and shoes in the series form the core of many sneaker collections. In fact, the eagerly anticipated Air Jordan XXX will be released on February 12, 2016.
Sneaker collectors bring a passion and dedication to their pursuits seen in more traditional areas of men’s consumption, such as baseball cards, cars, or fine wines. With systematic precision and clearly articulated objectives, many have amassed collections that provide important historical records of the shifts in sneaker design.
Most of the Air Jordans I–XX3 featured in Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture were collected by Rick Kosow who, as his passion for sneakers grew, recognized their importance and developed a strategy for acquiring and preserving them. His Boston-based Kosow Sneaker Museum houses over a thousand shoes, eight hundred of which are Air Jordans. Although Air Jordans continue to be released, sneaker aficionados consider I–XX3 to be canonical—in honor of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls jersey number, 23.