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A Closer Look at the $31,000 Air Jordan II Original

What would make an old used pair of Air Jordan sneakers worth tens of thousands of dollars? This is a question that we had to ask when we learned that a 28 year old pair of worn Air Jordan 2 originals were auctioned off for a ridiculously high price. There were people who were bidding against each other for the privilege of ownership for a pair of shoes that had seen better days. They were definitely not in mint condition, but still, they went for an amazing $31,000 on an Ebay auction. This has prompted us to take a much closer look at these highly valuable shoes that the average person would likely walk by or pass on if they were offered at a yard sale. Here are the facts about the expensive $31K AJ2s.

Our first impression

The initial information that we uncovered about the $31K pair of Air Jordan 2 Originals revealed that they were not only in obviously used condition and older sneakers, but this particular model wasn't even one of the most popular. Neither sneaker lovers nor fans of the game of basketball were exceptionally hyped up about them. This made us even more intrigued and so we looked into the history of the sneaker further. If people were bidding this high, there had to be some reason why they were compelled to do so.

The History of the Air Jordan 2 OG

According to, Michael Jordan injured his foot prior to the end of the second season and he wasn't getting the necessary support that he needed to be his most effective on the court. He needed a redesigned shoe that would go one better than the Air Jordan 1 model. This is where Bruce Kilgore and Peter Moore stepped in. Kilgore took the lead in creating the Air Jordan II which would retail for $105 per pair. The new rubber cup sole and more intense cushioning were just the ticket to help Jordan to regain his agility on the court. It also meant a change in the Air Jordan line with the second generation which would move away from the traditional design and introduce something new to fans of the model. The shoes featured faux lizard skin. The Nike Swoosh was not included in the OG which was officieally released for 1986 and '87. Kilgore was the director of research and development for Nike and he approved the design and manufacture of the AJ 2 OG, one pair of which sold for $31k in 2014.

We learned that the shoe was first introduced in 1986 and was offered in three new colorways for the 1987 season. We're not sure why, but Nike did not allow Kilgore or Moore to design and more Air Jordan models after the creation of the AJ II, but it's possible that the cause is the low popularity among sneaker fans. All of the Air Jordan II models were made in Italy.

What makes these sneakers so valuable?

The significance of the Air Jordan II OG sneakers that were so highly prized is because they are in fact very rare. We learned from, that the mold that was used to create this particular sneaker disappeared and could not be found. There was no confirmation made about exactly what happened to it. It's possible that it was either stolen or destroyed, but whatever the fate of the mold, it made things more difficult for Nike when they decided to release a retro edition after the original, in 1994. They actually had to use a pair of the original OGs and tear them apart to copy the exact design for the retro release. Its unclear why they made the decision to do this as many of the $105 shoes ended up on clearance racks and sold for as low as $20 due to the lack of interest and sales of the sneakers, but they did decide that a new release was in order. At any rate, with the original mold gone and a limited number being produced, this made the Air Jordan II Original a rare sneaker.

A change of opinion

When we heard the back story behind these sneakers, it suddenly became clear why they were so highly prized by collectors. These are sneakers that are likely to end up in a sneaker museum because of their historical significance. Of the millions of sneakers produced throughout the world, there are few which have such an interesting history or story behind them. This brings them to the fore and it's the kind of attribute that collectors are looking for. Serious sneaker enthusiasts and collectors find value in examples which are set apart by some event in the history of the brand or of the persons who were in on the collaborations in their creation. In the case of the $31k Air Jordan II Original, there are several factors which combine to make it a highly prized collectible. The first is the rareness because of the missing mold, in addition to the fact that they were manufactured in Italy. This was the last version that Kilgore would design, adding another significant attribute to the shoes. Finally, with the story told about Michael Jordan's injury and the inspiration behind the design to begin with, it's not difficult to figure out that even though the model was not a big hit with the public, they certainly were the ideal choice for Jordan in his time of need.

Final thoughts

In our examination of the $31,000 Air Jordan II original sneakers we learned a great deal. The first is not to judge by appearances. The second is that it's vital to know the history to understand the significance of a particular model. Some of the most highly prized sneakers in the world today may not be a lot to look at, but this doesn't impune their worth.

Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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