In today's Old School Design, we take a look back to the mid 1980's when the basketball shoe market was set to take off in popularity. The Air Jordan 1 had hit the scene and an entire nation of basketball crazy youth had to get their hands on this revolutionary shoe. The Air Jordan 1 created an entirely new shoe market that had not previously existed and the other major shoe brands from that time period did their best to catch the wave created by the Air Jordan 1. Here is a look at the actual hangtags from the Air Jordan 1 and some of the other companies who tried to capitalize on its success.
The hang tag from the Air Jordan 1 contains one of the most recognizable images in sports design history. The image of Michael Jordan flying over the skyline with his arms stretched out eventually became the basis for the Air Jordan logo that you still see today. It is definitely one of the most iconic images in sports history. This image features Michael Jordan in the must-have basketball gear of the day and the shoes in the image feature the black toe colorway, which was very rare. Also on the tag is the original winged Air Jordan logo, which is still one of my favorite logos of all-time. (click on the images for a larger view)
The inside of the hang tag has all of the information on the technology behind the Nike Air-Wedge System and all of the other technological innovations in the shoe. It tells the story of Michael Jordan being pro basketball's hottest new star. The technology in the shoe was innovative for its time, but it was the colorways and design that made this shoe the phenomenon that it was.
In order to get in the game with Nike, Pony introduced its own version of the multi-colored paneled basketball shoe, the City Wing.The City Wing was an obvious attempt by Pony International to catch some of the buzz created by Nike and the Air Jordan 1. The front of the hangtag from the Pony CIty WIng features an illustration of the shoe flying through the clouds. The City Wing came in many different colorways, and is one of the lesser known shoes from the mid 1980's, but definitley a classic.
The inside of the Pony City Wings hang tag features an illustration of the classic shoe along with its technological innovations. It also contains the slogan "Cleared for takeoff and ready to fly". The City Wing logo at the top has a somewhat NASCAR feel to it. The tag also features the Pony chevron logo. Though the City WIng was one of the more obscure shoes of the time, it was definitely one of my favorites.
Even Converse found it necessary to try and jump on the multi-colored shoe bandwagon with their two top stars, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. The creation that Converse came up with was the Weapon. The Weapon was a bit of an unusual design, featuring classic Converse looks with multi-colored panels. The Magic Johnson version was definitely one of the more interesting colorways from the time period. The front of the hang tag features the ad campaign for the shoe, "Choose Your Weapon".
The inside of the Converse Weapon hang tag took a bit of a different approach than the Air Jordan 1 and the Pony City Wing. There is no fancy illustration of the shoe pointing out the technical aspects, just some copy bullet pointed by stars. The other side of the tag tells the story of the rivalry between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.The Converse Weapon was late to the game and it seemed a bit out of place on Magic and Larry, but was definitely a player in the shoe wars of the 1980's.