The glue between Jordan and his favorite son — The Jordan XI


“It’s like saying which of your kids you like the most,” said Michael Jordan while ranking his favorite Jordans in a video by B/R Kicks back in 2014. “XIs are my favorite. IIIs are my next favorite. Probably XII or XIII comes in third.”

The Jordan XI’s unique shiny, wraparound patent leather differs from other famous Jordan lineages. It doesn’t have the technical intricacy of the IV and the V and the articulated blocking of the I and the III.

Tinker Hatfield, the designer of numerous Jordan models, revealed that the eye-catching patent leather rand was requested by Jordan, who had asked about the possibility of a shiny leather basketball shoe.

Hatfield put more thought, technology and innovation into the shoe idea, which brings two unique features: Full-length Nike Air cushioning, a carbon-fiber plate and a striking patent-leather band to complete the design.

The Jordan XI’s art director and product designer, Ken Black, collaborated with Hatfield and other designers and producers of clothes and footwear.

Black told END, “We weren’t designing a shoe, we were creating a story about the greatest player to ever set foot on the court and the style he brings to the game and the world, in the form of a shoe.”

Michael Jordan

The first time the Jordan XI was seen was in 1995 when Jordan faced the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

The fact that Jordan wore the Concord colorway during the Chicago Bulls’ historic 72-10 season helped raise awareness of the 11. Jordan rocked the Breds — a pair of his iconic black, red and white signature — throughout the 1996 postseason. The Bulls’ championship game was the last time he laced them on.

Later that year, the Jordan XI appeared on the big screen in Space Jam. This was a defining moment in a culture that affected how a generation overall saw Jordan and the Air Jordan shoes. A brand new colorway of Jordan XI debuted based on Space Jam.

Today, Nike Air Jordan XI is one of the most collectible basketball shoes, decades after it first appeared. Currently, there are 37 colorways of Jordan XI, and in the last few years, Nike has brought back the retro version of the Bred, Concord and Space Jam.

Jordan continues to help impact sneaker culture and make sneakers a fashion object. Nowadays, people wear sneakers on the basketball court and on the street.