Can we talk about the Dior Jordan 1?

Browse By

 

Dior and Jordan Brand’s collaborative “Air Dior” collection is set to release soon after being announced December last year and delayed earlier this year. The highlight of the collection is of course the Air Jordan 1 high. I’ve got to say, the Dior Jordan 1 is not a bad shoe. The quality is great, and the design is adequate, if a bit boring. I do like the embroidery on the tongue though, and I’m always a fan of icy soles. Here’s my problem:  

They cost £1,700. 

 

Image via Highsnobiety/Manual NYC

Needless to say, this is a very high price for a pair of shoes, and especially for a pair of Jordan 1’s. People have paid more for other Jordan 1’s however—how is this any different? The difference is that this retails at £1,700.  Sure, some have payed upwards of £2,400 for the Fragment Jordan 1, but that’s on the resale market. Those sales are from person to person, someone who has the pair to someone who wants the pair, and so the prices are all based on whatever the people decide the shoes are worth. In this case however, the manufacturers themselves have decided that the value of these Jordan 1’s is £1,700. I can only imagine how much these will resell for… 

Hundreds of Jordan 1’s have released since they debuted in 1985 and (almost) every pair has been sold by Nike at under £170, ten times less than Christian’s costly crepes over here, so what gives?  

Firstly, these are designer shoes. The Jordan 1 is one of, if not the most sought-after silhouette, but more importantly, that Dior branding isn’t free either. Whether we like it or not, adding a Dior logo to something will inevitably increase its valueThe question of whether designer brands should be able to charge more for their flagship products simply because of their brand name is a different discussion entirely and I won’t get into that here, but briefly, I am fine with Dior charging high prices for their products. Dior’s a designer brand, so it costs more, that’s just how it works. My problem here is that these shoes are also a Jordan product.  

The Jordan 1 is a basketball shoe, one that’s deeply ingrained in sneaker culture due to its long history, heralded into the spotlight by Michael Jordan himself. Because of that history as well as the great design, it’s one of the most popular shoes ever. As I’ve mentioned before, every Jordan 1 has retailed for under £170, including even the Off-White Jordan 1’s released in 2017/18. Sure, those are not as high quality as the Dior pair, but the Off-White branding sure holds a lot more value than Dior’s, especially back in 2017/18. Off-White‘s global influence was at incredible heights a few years ago due to Virgil Abloh’s great direction and marketing, stemming from his connections he gained by working as an art director for a multitude of big names in music. The price of the Jordan 1 silhouette has been set at £135-165 by way of countless releases over a 35 year period, including collaborations with names that are just as, if not more valued than Dior’s, and so Dior should not be able to charge extra for their branding in this case. 

Travis Scott wearing the Air Jordan 1 High Dior at Dior’s Miami Pre-Fall 2020 show. Image via Nike

Secondly, being a Dior product, the quality of the shoe is much higher than any Jordan 1 before it. This pair is made with fine calf leather—pretty quality stuff, so some increase in price is definitely justifiable. In 2015, four Jordan 1’s featuring premium leather were released under the “pinnacle” name, retailing at £320 a pair, which, again, is completely fine as long as the quality really is there. Taking a look at other calfskin shoes, the most expensive pair on Dior’s flagship website is currently a calfskin ankle boot sold at £1,250, while similar, hand-made calfskin shoes can be found for no more than £650 from artisan shoemakers like Carmina. So, there’s an undeniable increase in price between the Dior 1’s and other shoes of similar or better quality, and there’s even a substantial increase from other Dior shoes made with what I assume are the same materials as our Jordan 1. While some increase in price is fine, a £1,500 increase seems a tad bit excessive. 

Each pair of the Dior Jordan 1 is numbered on the inside of the socklinerand as we can see from this unboxing video that Daniel Arsham posted on Instagram about two weeks ago, the production number is 8,500 pairs worldwide. It’s very rare for a shoe to advertise its production numbers, that data is usually not available to the public. Sometimes though, very exclusive shoes, often those not released to the public (e.g. friends and family pairs, auction-only pairs, or physical-only releases at places like Art Basel Miami) can be numbered, showing off their rarity as a sort of collector’s itemTo me, the numbered pairs makes it very clear that this collaborative Jordan 1 is really trying to present itself as exclusive and premium, drawing enough attention to itself and creating enough hype (customer interest) to justify the hefty price tag. 

This is not good practice. Exclusivity is fine, I understand that Nike needs its shoes to be popular for its business to stay booming and I understand that exclusivity is the best way to do that, but increasing the price of the product is not the right way to increase revenueBefore now Nike has not profited on the hype surrounding their shoes. That hype has instead been used by Nike to keep growing the people’s interest in their products, while the resale market is the one transforming that interest directly into cash. In this case however, it seems that Nike anticipated the hype around this shoe and priced it higher than usual, with a possible revenue of £1,445,000 in sight. 

Dior oblique embroidery on the tongue. Image via Nike

Making the already difficult to acquire Jordan 1 even more exclusive is not what the general customers want to see, but I can’t argue that there isn’t a market for exclusivity, I just think that the people appealing to that high-end market shouldn’t be making Jordan 1’s. Either way, this pair’s price tais still too high for what it is, but hey, there are plenty of worse ways to spend your money.