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Our 7 Favourite UNC Inspired kicks of All Time

Our 7 Favourite UNC Inspired kicks of All Time

clock-circular-outline Posted July 14, 2023
We countdown our favourite 'UNC' inspired kicks
Air Jordan 1 High OG UNC

Now, if you were lucky enough to cop the Jordan 1 ‘UNC Toe’ in the shock drop last week, then I’m sure you’ll know that the UNC colourway is actually a pretty big deal. Although it had never graced the courts throughout Michael Jordan’s 13-season reign, it still holds weight as one of the most coveted colourways of all time.

Released in 1985 amongst 15 fresh colourways that presented the beginnings of the Jordan lineage, the ‘UNC’ colourway stood out for its accentuated and crisp white and blue palette that offered a new feel to many of those sneaker enthusiasts out there.

Inspired by the team colourings of North Carolina’s very own Alma Mater college, where MJ played Division I basketball in 1981, the renowned ‘UNC’ palette has been one that has followed Jordan throughout his career and continues to make a statement on our streets, courts and everything in between.

Now you know a little bit about the backstory of this notorious colourway, we’re going to take you through our top 7 ‘UNC' inspired kicks of all time.

1. Air Jordan 1 High ‘UNC’ (1985)

Air Jordan 1 High OG 'UNC'
Image courtesy of Quest website

Nothing beats the classics. It wouldn’t be a ‘UNC’ appreciation without the shoe that started it all. The titular shades of blue and white, its high-rising profile, Swoosh branding occupies the sidewall and the inaugural wing branding sits blissfully along the collar - what’s there not to like? The Air Jordan 1 High ‘UNC’ returned to our rotations in 2015 as a retro, boasting a slightly higher sculpt, a less contoured midsole and thicker stitching throughout.

If you’re one of those luckier sneakerheads that own a pair of these OG’s, why not keep them smelling fresh with Our Crep Protect Pill. Choose from 3 levels of freshness to eliminate any of those unwanted odours.

2. Nike Air More Uptempo ‘ University Blue’ (2017)

Nike Air More Uptempo 'UNC'
Image courtesy of GOAT website

Turning heads since its inception in ‘96, the Nike Air More Uptempo complimented the ‘90s with its larger-than-life design. Premiered on the feet of Scottie Pippen throughout the ‘95- ‘96 season of the Chicago Bulls, the fit also made waves on our hardwood floors.

The ‘University Blue’ rendition adopted similar tooling to its early predecessors; Air-appliqued sidewalls are cladded in white , which all lie on a blue perforated leather base for an instant nod to the colourway’s collegiate roots. The aforementioned tones run through to the Air-induced midsole for that court-certified comfort throughout.

Did you know that our Crep Protect wipes also work magic on your leather kicks, why not try them out yourself?

3. Air Jordan 11 ‘Columbia’ (1996)

Air Jordan 11 'Columbia'

Released as one of the OG colourways, the Air Jordan 11 ‘Columbia’ stands as one of the most sought-after models to date. Worn by MJ during the ‘96 NBA all-star game in San Antonia, as well as landing on the feet of Will Smith during his 6 season stint on the family sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - the Air Jordan 11 ‘Columbia’ is a shoe that does it all.

Leather uppers are dressed up in a white leather, casted with patent overlays, plus there’s extra Jordan branded cues posited throughout the heel and tongue, which takes on the famed ‘Columbia’ blue colour scheme. With the shoe first retroed in 2001, 5 years after its debut and then returned to our rotations in 2014 in a newly revamped ‘Legend Blue’ colour scheme.

4. Off-White x Air Jordan 1 ‘UNC’ (2018)

Air Jordan 1 x Off White 'UNC' Image courtesy of @pairofoffwhitejordan1s via Instagram

When it comes to collaborations, the Jordan brand certainly knows a thing or two, and its creative venture with Off-White on the Jordan 1 ‘UNC’ is nothing short of an icon. Gaining traction on our shelves in 2018 as the third edition of the Jordan 1 x Off-White series, the fit arrives in a sleek white and blue leather combination, coupled with Virgil Abloh’s signature vibrant orange stitch, black coated wordmark and a red zip tie - a duo that certainly never misses.

Give your Off-White x Air Jordan 1 ‘UNC’s the ultimate personalisation with our easy-to-use Crep Protect Mark On Pen. Available in black and white, and perfect for designing your own custom patterns.

5. New Balance 550 ‘UNC’ (2022)

New Balance 550 'UNC'
Image courtesy of via Instagram

Even Though the New Balance 550 is most commonly known for its avid lifestyle appeal, the fit actually originated on our basketball courts in the ‘80s and this ‘UNC’ inspired colour scheme is an ultimate homage to its hardwood heydays. For this one Steven Smith’s iconic design takes on a relatively minimal white leather set-up, joining its ‘University Blue’ overlays on the ‘N’ logo, heel and tongue for a college-inspired feel throughout.

6. Air Jordan 10 ‘Powder Blue (1994)

Jordan 10 'Powder Blue'
Image courtesy of GOAT website

Released the same year as MJ’s short-lived retirement from basketball to join the Birmingham Batons in 1994, the Air Jordan 10 ‘Powder Blue’ was one that stemmed back to Michael Jordan’s love for Alma Mater College. Designer Tinker Hatfield wanted to commemorate Jordan’s 10-year accomplishments (so far) by also incorporating these milestones on the striped rubber outsole. White full grain leather made up the majority of the shoe, while accents of ‘Powder Blue’ also offered a pop of colour to the heel collar. The colourway was then retroed 20 years after its debut in 2014.

7. Nike Air Force 1 Low ‘UNC’ (2021)

Nike Air Force 1 Low 'UNC'
Image Courtesy via Sneaker News Website

Nike’s ‘82 inner city grail has also been one of the later subjects of the ‘UNC’ colourways. Even Though this subcultural icon has taken on a lengthy span of colourways throughout its 41-year lineage, its ‘UNC’ colouring is one of many that continues to turn heads. Vibrant touches of blue dress up the leather uppers, while crisp accents of white add a clean feel to the Swoosh, heel and midsole for a conventional, colour-blocked finish.

If you want to find out how to clean your Air Force 1’s, we’ve got you covered! Head over to our ‘How To’ page here.

With our top 7 ‘UNC’ colourways unveiled, let us know what your favourite ‘UNC’ inspired kicks are in the comments.

In other news, the Jordan 4 x Travis Scott is rumoured to drop holiday season 2023

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