Concurrent with the rise of sneaker conception, the market for ultra-rare sneakers on the auction block has absolutely exploded in the last three years alone — and in large part led by Air Jordans worn, signed, or both by MJ. In other words, as the masses have gained wider appreciation for re-releases of the sneakers Jordan wore throughout his career, the ultra-rich have started buying the actual shoes worn by the man himself.
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After recently publishing a list of the most expensive sneakers ever sold, Footwear News is now zooming in on Air Jordans. Air Jordan 1s from Michael’s rookie season are by far the most prevalent model on the list, and you’ll notice Olympic and “Last Dance” themes among the remaining outliers.
25. Air Jordan 7 “Olympic” — $114,000 (2023)
Although not pegged to any game, Jordan signed this pair of 7s and gave them to NBA public relations executive Brian McIntyre shortly after the Dream Team won the 1992 Olympics. McIntyre says he remembers seeing multi-color cereal on the floor, no doubt from Jordan’s then-infant children, and when he noticed matching crumbs later in the shoes’ outsoles, he never bothered to remove them.
24. Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” — $117,000 (2020)
By the end of this last, you may feel that you’ve seen every pair of the Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” that Michael ever wore. This particular one was worn by MJ during a March 1985 game against the Washington Bullets. Two young brothers went to Chicago Stadium’s player lot after watching the game and missed out on their chance to meet Jordan before he left — but they did witness him giving his sneakers to another fan. When the family saw the man walking down the street later, they were able to negotiate a price to acquire the Jordans for themselves.
23. Air Jordan 1 “Chicago — $117,000 (2020)
This pair of player samples was made for Jordan to wear in, but they were never actually used. Nearly two decades after the season in which Jordan would have worn them, a Nike exec contributed the two signed and deadstock sneakers along with the original box to an auction at the 2003 American Running Honors Gala. As is the case for all sneakers made for Jordan to play them, the left shoe is a size 13 and the right size 13 1/2.
22. Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” — $120,000 (2022)
Not much is known about this pair of the AJ1 “Chicago” with a signature on the right shoe’s medial strap, but the label coding does indicate the player sample was manufactured at some point between February and April 1985.
21. Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” — $122,000 (2023)
Courtesy of Goldin
These AJ1s were worn and signed by Jordan, but not much else is known about their provenance, including in which game they appeared.
20. Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” — $123,000 (2022)
Game-worn but not autographed, this pair was acquired by the owner of the Judge Cafe, a hotspot for Utah Jazz players. Jerry Sloan, then coaching for the Jazz but formerly a coach and player for the Bulls, used his connection with his old team to play middleman on the sneakers’ journey.
19. Air Jordan 8 “Playoffs” — $126,000 (2021)
Jordan signed and wore this pair of his eighth signature sneaker during the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals. When it went up for auction in 2021, it was only one of three pairs of shoes that had ever been photo-matched to a playoff game Jordan played in.
18. Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” — $127,000 (2023)
As yet another unworn player sample, the left shoe of this pair of Chicagos was verified to have been signed by Jordan during his camp in September 1998.
17. Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” — $152,000 (2021)
Game-worn but not autographed, these player samples were made in either January or February 1985 but have not been tied to a specific contest.
16. Air Jordan 11 “Space Jam” — $176,000 (2021)
In the original run of the Air Jordan 11, the “Space Jam” colorway never went on sale to the general public. The only pairs that existed were made for Jordan himself, and him wearing them while filming Space Jam generated enough fanfare for the brand to eventually release the sneaker in 2001. Jordan never wore this particular pair of the rare PEs, but he did sign them and a custom box was made for them later on.
15. Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” — $189,000 (2022)
This pair of unsigned, game-worn AJ1s went the same route as no. 21 on our list to the Utah cafe owner by way of Jerry Sloane. They were then given to her grandson before going up for auction in 2022.
14. Air Jordan 7 “Olympic” — $190,000 (2020)
Jordan wore this pair of Olympic-themed 7s in the Gold Medal game of the Tournament of the Americas leading up to the Dream Team’s iconic run at the 1992 Summer Olympics. A staffer for the team received the signed sneakers from Jordan directly after the game, in addition to pairs from Magic Johnson and Scottie Pippen.
13. Air Jordan 13 Low — $204,000 (2023)
Unlike a pair you’ll see later on in this list, this signed Air Jordan 13 Low hasn’t been pegged to a specific game. But because it’s confirmed to have been game-worn and was made between May and July 1998, it had to have appeared on Jordan’s feet at some point during that year’s playoffs, aka his “Last Dance.”
12. Air Jordan 6 “Infrared” — $216,000 (2021)
The “Infrared” Air Jordan 6 holds a special place in the hearts of sneakerheads for being the shoe Jordan wore while winning his first NBA title. Jordan signed both sneakers in this pair, which he wore in game four of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. Sonny Vaccaro, the executive who signed Jordan to Nike, received the sneakers as a gift from Michael.
11. Air Jordan 13 “He Got Game” — $375,000 (2021)
These Air Jordan 13s, appearing in a colorway nicknamed for the Spike Lee film He Got Game in which they were worn, appeared on the feet of Jordan during his last-ever regular season game for the Bulls, which pitted him against the longtime rival New York Knicks. Jordan gave them to another former rival, Isiah Thomas, who went on to become a commentator for that game.
10. Air Jordan 13 Low — $378,000 (2022)
These signed AJ13 Lows are more valuable than their lookalikes from above because they’re confirmed to have been worn by Jordan during the first half of Game 5 in the 1998 NBA Finals. They can even be seen in The Last Dance documentary, as Jordan holds them while telling his team, “You go out there and play hard tonight and we win, you don’t have to hear from me no more, ever again.” The Jazz went on to win, meaning his teammates did in fact have to hear from him again.
9. Air Jordan 7 “Olympic” — $420,000 (2023)
This pair of signed Air Jordan 7s was worn in the same pre-Olympic tournament as the one up above, but additional intrigue comes from what happened after. Jordan gave the sneakers to Dream Team teammate Karl Malone, who then displayed them along with many other Dream Team collectables at his Utah car dealership.
8. Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” — $422,000 (2022)
Widely believed to be the last regular Air Jordan 1s worn by Michael during a game, this pair has the ignominious association of being worn when he broke his foot during his second NBA season. When he returned from injury, Jordan played in modified AJ1s featuring sole units from either the Nike Dunk or Air Jordan 2, as well as added straps.
7. Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” — $486,000 (2022)
Former Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls trainer Mark Pfeil said Jordan gave him this pair of dual-signed, game-worn AJ1s to go up for auction at a fundraiser in 1985. The shoes are believed to have been worn at some point during the spring of that year. Two years prior to this auction, these same sneakers sold for $369,000, which would be 12th on this list.
6. Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” — $560,000 (2020)
As the final episode of The Last Dance aired in May 2020, the auction ended for these signed, game-worn Air Jordan 1s. There’s no doubt the buzz generated by the documentary helped boost the price on these kicks.
4. (Tie) Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” — $615,000 (2021)
Jordan signed this pair of game-worn AJ1s on two separate occasions. The first time was upon giving them to Gene Banks, who joined the Bulls for the ’85-’86 season after playing for the San Antonio Spurs. Banks then gifted them to his friend Rick Lozano, a sportscaster in San Antonio who later interviewed Jordan during the ’91 NBA Finals. Jordan signed the sneakers once again while adding the notation, “1st pair.”
4. (Tie) Air Jordan 1 “Shattered Backboard” — $615,000 (2020)
While the “Shattered Backboard” Air Jordan 1s that went on sale in 2015 appear in orange, white, and black, the actual pair that informed then was just another set of Chicagos. Michael wore this very pair during a 1985 exhibition game in Italy in which he broke the backboard. After the game, he gave the sneakers to the captain of the opposing team, the colors of which inspired the Js that released 30 years later.
3. Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” — $675,000 (2022)
This 1986 pair of signed Air Jordan 1s was worn by Jordan after he returned from injury and thus features the sole from the Nike Dunk, gave a softer and wider base. The sneakers wore worn in a road loss to the Bucks.
2. Air Jordan 12 “Flu Game” — $1.38 million (2023)
Jordan’s 38-point performance while battling illness in a Game 5 win during the 1997 NBA Finals is among the most legendary, if not the most, performances of his career. It’s no wonder that the shoes he wore for the feat sold for so much.
1. Air Jordan 13 “Bred” — $2.2 million (2023)
Jordan signed this pair of 13s after wearing them in Game 2 of the 1998 NBA Finals, making them the latest pair from his Bulls career to ever go on sale. That series went to six games, calumniating in an iconic game-winner by Jordan, which leaves open the door for an even later pair to arise and potentially set a new record.
About the Author:
Ian Servantes is a Senior Trending News Editor for Footwear News specializing in sneaker coverage. He’s previously reported on streetwear and sneakers at Input and Highsnobiety after beginning his career on the pop culture beat. He subscribes to the idea that “ball is life” and doesn’t fuss over his kicks getting dirty.
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