After 1986, the Jordan 1 was shelved for almost a decade, but before that sabbatical came a short mysterious chapter. Around the same time that the Jordan 1 released for the first time, the Air Jordan K.O. released as well. Known as the “AJKO,” the shoe features the same colorways as the Jordan 1, with almost exactly the same upper, but made of canvas and given a couple tweaks. There’s almost no contemporaneous documentation of why Nike created the shoe, who the target market was, or even an official word on what “K.O.” stands for. Most assume it means “Knock Out,” but there’s no primary source to offer clarity. Unless there are still hidden secrets in the Nike vault, we may never know. The AJKOs were retired along with the classic leather version, and that seemed to be the end of the shoe.
As the world followed Michael Jordan’s career, they also followed what was on his feet. And each year, with the release of a new game shoe, there was a new sneaker to buy. Back then the Air Jordan 1 wasn’t called “The Air Jordan 1.” None of the shoes were numbered. They were all merely “Air Jordans” and what you got was what was in stores. But in 1994, eight years after the last produced Air Jordan 1, Jordan Brand had the crazy idea of bringing back a piece of history. So they re-released some colorways, mainly the “Banned” and “Chicago” colorways. Surprisingly, it was pretty much a dud.