Why Are Jordans So Expensive? A Detailed Guide

Are you wondering why are Jordans so expensive? If yes, you should click right here for the important things to understand about these shoes.


Unless you have been sleeping under a rock, most people know that the most coveted sneaker brand around is Air Jordan.

Whether they be seen on celebrities such as Will Smith and Mark Wahlberg or your friend on the block has copped a pair, these iconic pieces of footwear have a special hold over many of us. 

But anyone who even has a fleeting interest in the sneaker game would have noted one thing to be consistent about them – the price. They retail high and the resale prices can be astronomical.

So why are Jordans so expensive?

Let us break down the simple reasons and why you really shouldn’t be surprised.

His Airness

We can’t overstate the fact that much of the reason Jordans have made such a mark on our culture (and our wallets) come down to the man himself. 

Nike couldn’t have ever envisioned that signing a reluctant young rookie named Michael Jordan would become the best investment in their company’s history.

But what he did on the court saw the Black Cat’s market value go higher and higher.  

Famously when given the Air Ships in his first year, the NBA decided to ban them due to them violating the league’s uniform policy. Nike agreed to foot the $5,000 bill and in a piece of marketing wizardry quickly promoted the Air Jordan 1’s as the forbidden piece of footwear. 

So you have the brightest young star in the league with his own line of sneakers, and a forbidden aura around them (being made rookie of the year didn’t hurt either). That is a media storm that only generates 2 things.

Hype and sales. 

And sell they did. Although projected to make $3 million over 4 years with Jordan, his agent David Falk confirms that Nike made $126 million in year 1!

From the beginning, the exclusivity connected to the brand was reflected in the price. The Air Jordan 1’s retailed at $65 which works out in today’s money to $158.63. Not a cheap shoe for 1985. However, people were willing to pay because they wanted to be like Mike, even today. 

Need proof? The 1997 Flu Game.

He was obviously sick in a legendary game 5 against Utah Jazz but 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals later they won the game. The sneakers on his feet? 

Now the most expensive pair ever sold at $104,000 in 2013.

“The Shoes? It’s Gotta Be the Shoes!”

Even though Michael Jordan was a superstar from the beginning, that doesn’t explain why his product is still going top dollar, 17 years after he retired, right?

Another factor for their continued desirability was down to exceptional marketing during his playing years, whether it be intended or unintended.

A good example of great intended marketing was when the shrewd decision was made in 1985 to use a young director called Spike Lee to help with the release of the Air Jordan 3’s. The iconic ads generated a buzz as well as tapping into the other unintentional major factor that added longevity to the brand. 

Hip-hop culture. 

While it was still great to feel like you were connected to the superhuman abilities of Michael Jordan on the court, seeing your favorite rappers wearing his sneakers cemented their coolness for the ages. 

LL Cool J wore them on his Radio and Bad albums in ’85 and ’87. The Fresh Prince rocked a pair in the first series of the show and it hasn’t stopped since then. 

As MJ faded away from the public’s eye, hip-hop, and everything surrounding it exploded. If you needed any more confirmation of this today, the 2nd most expensive pair ever sold was the Jordan x Drake collab the Air Jordan 12 OVO’s that sold for $100,000 at auction.

Hip-hop culture is the biggest influencer on modern music and as long as that remains the same, so will Jordan’s reign at the top of the tree. 

Nike vs Reselling: The Modern Stock Market 

Taking all this into account, we have a product that has iconic value, maintained interest throughout the years, and has guaranteed desirability. 

Obviously, they hold their value very well making them the holy grail investment for a reseller, who are essentially operating as modern-day stockbrokers in a $6 billion global industry.

But resellers are not totally to blame for the high prices Jordan’s maintain. 

Nike in recent years has tapped into the resellers market. By re-releasing limited retro versions of OG sneakers they generated hype and the exclusivity of them pushes up prices.

The common phenomenon of people waiting in line for hours to get a pair when they dropped was created by the people at the top of the industry. Remember the majority of the people in these cues are not looking to add to their personal kicks collection. You don’t buy 5 pairs for that reason. It’s to resell.

When people complained that they were becoming too exclusive, Nike flooded the market with more pairs but raised the prices. Knowing that people are making money off their product makes it clear that if they were to sell at a higher price, people would buy them.  

Remember, the average sneaker doesn’t vary too much in the cost of manufacturing. But the reason why are jordans expensive essentially comes down to you and me. 

What they can sell them for depends on the value that we have given them, much like stocks and shares and the modern zeitgeist has determined that we love Jordans. 

So Why Are Jordans So Expensive?

Hopefully, now it is clear why are Jordans so expensive and why people are still so willing to pay big money for them. 

Hype, limited availability, and their impact on our culture mean that they will always be coveted, always be cool, and always be in the highest price range. But their foundation lies on one man’s shoulders. Michael Jordan.

If you want to keep up to speed with the latest in Air Jordans, whether they be retros or the latest designs check out our great and extensive collection. 


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