Why Are Jordans So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons) (2023)

Why Are Jordans So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons) (1)

One of the famous brands of sneakers in the history of shoes is Air Jordans.

Partnered with famous basketball star, Michael Jordan, Nike and their Air Jordans shook up the sneaker world.

While buying a new pair of Air Jordans today is pricier than other standard basketball shoes, it’s the reselling of older versions where the shoes really become expensive.

Here are 10 reasons Jordans are so expensive.

Why Are Jordans So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)

1. History

Why Are Jordans So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons) (2)

Any expensive product usually includes some sort of story.

No one has an interest in an overpriced shoe if it doesn’t have a story to go along with it.

The Air Jordans do.

Nike first signed Michael Jordan to the brand when he was starting to play in the NBA.

They sensed he had it in him to become a star, but he hadn’t proven himself just yet.

They managed to snare him in the brand with a pricey partnership deal.

They made the first pair of sneakers and changed the upper part of the shoe from a white color to black color.

At the time, this went against the NBA’s uniform policy.

When Nike arrived with their shoes, the NBA kicked them out.

Jordan wore the sneakers anyway.

He’d end up wearing them to every game he played in.

This brought an incredible amount of attention to the pair of shoes.

They became symbols of rebellion.

Other people became interested in the shoe and the demand for them increased.

Nike saw its unique opportunity at marketing and seized it.

The fact that people had an interest in this shoe over other sneakers changed the sneaker industry at its core.

It showed sneaker companies that people were willing to buy more expensive pairs of sneakers if they had a good story behind them.

Without this history behind the shoe, the Air Jordans wouldn’t be nearly as successful or as expensive as they are today.

2. Michael Jordan

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Perhaps one of the biggest reasons Jordans are expensive is who they’re named after.

Nike already spent a lot of money in acquiring Jordan for its brand.

It’s also a costly venture to keep him as their spokesperson.

Michael Jordan is a successful celebrity and basketball star.

People naturally trust or desire a brand more when their favorite celebrity is associated with it.

That’s the case with the Air Jordans.

Michael Jordan also has a lot of say in the design and appearance of the shoe.

That kind of celebrity touch makes the sneakers immediate gold.

People want the shoes that Jordan personally endorses.

Some do so because they’re fans.

Others do so because they believe that by buying and using Air Jordans, they can also improve their own game.

Since Jordan wore them during his games, they clearly helped his performance.

Others may wish to replicate that experience.

Since these shoes have a star quality about them, and since they’re associated with Michael Jordan, they’re expensive.

3. Air Max Technology

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Another reason Jordans are so expensive is its use of Air Max technology.

After the cool release of their second pair of Air Jordans, Nike knew they needed to change something.

Michael Jordan had also suffered a foot injury which ended his season prematurely.

He wasn’t happy, and there were even rumors that he may be switching to Adidas shoes.

To keep him and to ensure that they could deliver on a unique, quality, pair of sneakers, Nike acquired Tinker Hatfield.

Hatfield is best known for his Air Max technology.

He had brought it to a few pairs of sneakers before, but Nike allowed him free rein to do what he wanted with them.

Air Max brought the Air Jordan brand to a whole new level.

The Air Max technology brought a new type of cushioning to the shoe that helped support the foot on hard landings.

It was rigid enough to keep its shape, but still soft enough to provide comfort.

Michael Jordan was a fan of it.

Nike included Air Max technology in their Air Jordan 3 series, and it became a hit.

You can find Air Max included in today’s Air Jordans, too.

The reason they’re expensive is that Air Max requires more materials and better engineering than standard shoes with standard cushioning.

Nike also needs to pay for Hatfield’s design.

Since Air Max technology requires more work in the factory, it adds to the overall cost of Air Jordans.

4. Marketing

Why Are Jordans So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons) (5)

Every company sets a certain budget for its marketing.

Sometimes, if the budget is large, then the price for the product is also increased to support the marketing budget.

Nike often pulls expensive marketing campaigns.

They started doing so by hiring Michael Jordan.

However, throughout the history of Air Jordans, their marketing campaigns often include other celebrities.

One of the most memorable is teaming Michael Jordan up with Spike Lee.

The result was one of the most memorable commercials in sneaker history.

There have been plenty of other expensive marketing campaigns, too.

While these campaigns were successful in bringing in new customers and selling their shoes, they also came with a cost.

These days, Nike doesn’t need to promote their Air Jordans as much.

Their quality coincides with their brand.

People see a new release of an Air Jordan and expect that it’s going to be high-quality.

That said, they do put a lot of effort into their reveals.

The heavy price of their reveals is included in the overall price of the shoe.

The more that they spend hyping up the product, the more expensive it’s going to be.

5. Luxury

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Air Jordans correlate with luxury.

They’re considered a luxury brand.

That’s because they technically qualify as designer shoes.

They’re not mass-produced court sneakers.

A lot of thought and engineering goes into every release.

Each release is different from the other.

Some buyers even have their shoes custom-made for them.

Because a lot of thought goes into the details and engineering, it naturally becomes a more expensive process.

Nike hires some of the best shoe engineers and designers in the market to work on their shoes.

They also include Michael Jordan and pay for his advice.

These add to the price of the shoe.

Since they’re marketed as a luxury pair of sneakers, they can also carry the luxury price and get away with it.

Consumers expect anything considered to be luxurious to also be expensive.

6. Status Symbol

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The reputation and “cool factor” behind the shoes also make them a status symbol.

They’re expensive, and anyone who owns a pair uses them as a status symbol.

Not only does it give them some legitimacy on the court, but it also represents their expertise and “fan status” in basketball.

Some may even see it as a way to prove that they’re the ultimate Michael Jordan fan.

Regardless of the reason behind it, Air Jordans are a status symbol.

In the 1990s, during their initial release, murders were even committed over them.

Kids in lower-income neighborhoods were at risk.

They bought Air Jordans with what money they had only to find themselves robbed or murdered for them.

There was such a demand for them, particularly in low-income neighborhoods, that they became even more of a status symbol.

For lower-income households, having a pair of Air Jordans meant that you belonged to a different class than anyone else.

Even outside of lower-income households, they’re a status symbol.

That makes them more expensive all on their own.

7. Collectible

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One of the driving forces behind their price is the fact that Air Jordans are collectible.

They only release a new pair of sneakers every now and then.

Every design is different.

Each one receives an endorsement from Michael Jordan.

They also differ enough in their appearance that those who already have a pair of Jordans will want to have a new pair.

The design of them alone is worth collecting for some sneaker enthusiasts.

Because of their history in basketball and their association with Michael Jordan, they’re also a sports collectible.

With two competitive collectible markets like sneakers and sports, it’s no wonder that Air Jordans are often sold out.

It’s also the reason reselling Jordans can lead to high prices.

Older Jordans are highly prized, particularly the ones that saw their release during Michael Jordan’s basketball career.

These are the shoes with a lot of history and stories behind them.

An iconic shoe can resell at double, if not triple, its value.

Since it appeals to various collectible markets, many people want to get their hands on them.

With only a few available at a time, it drives the price up even more.

That goes for new releases, too.

Everyone wants to get their hands on a new release because it might be the next big collectible a few years down the line.

Those who don’t plan on reselling the shoe still contribute to the high price of Air Jordans.

They see them as works of art and something to hold onto and admire.

They’re just as eager to get their hands on new releases to add to their collections.

Since Jordans are a collector’s item, they’re expensive.

8. Low Supply

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One of the reasons consumers want Jordans so much is that they’re limited.

Nike only produces a few sneakers of particular versions.

The demand for them is always high, but the supply never rises to meet it.

That’s part of being a luxury brand.

They’re not out to make sneakers for everyone.

They’re out to make sneakers for those who want them the most.

That philosophy adds to the price of the Jordans.

Since only a few can get their hands on it, but the demand for it is high, then they can increase their price.

Nike purposefully limits their supply to create this shortage.

They believe it encourages those who were unable to buy the current edition of the Jordans to go for the next year’s edition of Jordans instead.

In that way, it also helps with their marketing.

The brand pulls consumers to it on its own.

Because they’re in limited supply, it creates a natural desire to want a piece of the limited selection.

It allows the consumer to say that they have something that few other people also have.

When consumers buy Air Jordans, they’re also buying the experience of owning something that’s limited in the world.

Thanks to Nike’s low-supply approach, Air Jordans are expensive.

9. Materials

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When it comes to manufacturing the Air Jordan, it uses a lot more materials than other sneakers.

This was especially true when Air Jordans were first released.

Compared to other sneakers, Jordans used significantly more materials in their makeup.

That’s because the shoe was bigger, offered more support, and had more cushion compared to other sneakers.

Those materials come with a price.

Not only do they need more of them, but they also need high-quality materials.

Air Jordans have a reputation for withstanding the abuse of the basketball court.

Michael Jordan proved that by using them during his games.

Low-quality materials won’t provide that durability.

Considering how often Jordan played, if his sneakers used low-quality materials, then he would have ripped them up a long time ago.

High-quality materials are also expensive.

They require further processing and come from limited sources.

It takes more time and money to manufacture products with high-quality materials than it does with low-quality materials.

Since Air Jordans use a lot of those materials, it becomes an expensive shoe.

Nike needs to price the shoes high enough to cover the cost of making them.

Air Jordans are expensive because they use luxury-grade materials in their production.

10. Shipping Tariffs

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Air Jordans are not made in the United States.

They’re made in China.

That brings with it an extra cost.

While labor costs in China are low, shipping costs are high.

That’s because there are tariffs in place that make importing from China expensive.

Tariffs are taxes placed on imported goods.

They’re often put in place to help the United States earn some money they’re losing out on since the business is taking place in a foreign country.

Tariffs are also sometimes used to punish a foreign country.

Regardless of the reason, tariffs make products more expensive.

That’s because the consumer ends up paying for them.

It’s included in the shipping price for companies, which they then add to the retail price of their products.

In so doing, they can cover the cost of the tariff and earn a profit.

At some point, the price of the product may become too expensive for its target market.

It can push some businesses out of the market as a result.

In the case of Air Jordans, because they’re a luxury product, consumers already expect them to be expensive.

If Nike needs to increase its price because of a higher tariff on Chinese products, then consumers won’t bat an eye at it.

Tariffs fluctuate.

Shipping from China may be cheap one year and extremely expensive the next.

The cost of shipping Air Jordans to the United States is always going to factor into the expensive price of the sneakers.

How To Save Money On Air Jordans

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Considering the high price of Air Jordans, you may wonder how you can get your hands on a pair without emptying your wallet.

Here are a few tips you can use to save money on Air Jordans.

1. Buy On Release

The cheapest time you can buy new Air Jordans is when they’re first released.

You can expect resellers to drive up the price significantly as time goes on.

To get a pair of new Jordans, you’ll want to follow its release schedule closely.

Keep in mind that several people are going to want to buy them.

It’s a race of who gets there first.

You may have better luck buying them at your local shoe store than you will online.

Arrive early on its release date and know exactly where you need to go to get your hands on a pair.

2. Skip Retro Releases

Nike knows that people are reselling their older versions of shoes for ridiculous prices.

They want a piece of that pie.

In so doing, they often release retro versions of previous shoes.

These are sneakers that mimic the look or design of an earlier release, but they’re also often updated or changed in some way to stand out.

You can expect these pairs of sneakers to be more expensive than other versions.

That’s because Nike knows that nostalgia sells.

Skip these retro versions and focus on new releases to save money.

Eventually, the new release may become a retro version, too.

3. Buy Used

The idea of buying used sneakers may turn some people away, but that’s exactly why you’ll save money.

Air Jordans are going to be expensive whether they’re used or not.

Some people are willing to negotiate the price, however.

By searching thrift stores, online markets, and collector groups, you may find a gem.


Why Are Jordans So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons) (13)

Air Jordans have a tantalizing history and reputation for rebellion and luxury.

With its patented Air Max technology and Jordan-inspired design, everyone from sports collectors to sneaker collectors wants a piece of them.

Consider the reasons above to understand why Air Jordans are so expensive and follow our tips to save some money on them.

NEXT:Why Are Rolls-Royce So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)

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