The Air Jordan XI arrived on the scene in 1996, when three colorways of the high-top were introduced, alongside two colorways of a low-cut version known as the “IE.” In 2000, Jordan fans were treated to the XI’s first-ever retro edition, while women’s editions also made their way to market. Rumor has it that the XI was also the reason why Air Jordan Retro releases were moved to Saturdays, as kids often skipped school and cut class to get their hands on a pair.
Designed by Tinker Hatfield, the XI was conceived in part by a suggestion from Michael Jordan – who wanted to use patent leather on one of his shoes. Hatfield cooked up the original 1995-96’s Air Jordan XIs as a response, thought of by many Jumpman fans as the best in the Jordan range.
Here are the seven quintessential Air Jordan XI models you need to know about.
Air Jordan XI “Bred”
Sneakerheads know this black/white/red OG makeup as the “Bred,” and Jordan himself was often seen rocking these during games when they were introduced, as the colorway matched nicely with the Bulls’ away uniforms. The sneaker market has since been flooded with bootleg versions of this fan-favorite XI, and the “Bred” colorway has also appeared on the Air Jordan I, IV, XII and XIII
Air Jordan XI “Concord”
The 2011 AJXI “Concord” Retro release caused mayhem all over the USA. The 16-year-old shoe – an OG colorway worn by Jordan himself – had already been reissued twice at that point, and is still one of the most coveted Jordan makeups of all time.
The full extent of the uproar – not limited to stabbings and pepper spray – has since been embedded in sneaker folklore, and you can read about it here.
Air Jordan XI “Columbia”
The “Columbia” was originally released in 1996 and was one of the OG Air Jordan XI drops. The shoe was re-issued later in 2001 and then again in 2014 when Nike swapped its original moniker in favor of “Legend Blue.” Although Jordan only wore them on the court once – during the 1996 All-Star Game – the hype around this sneaker release makes it an irrefutable need-to-know article of Jordan history.
Air Jordan XI “Space Jam”
Inspired by the movie release of the same name, the Air Jordan XI “Space Jam” originally appeared in the film, and was later debuted against Orlando Magic in the 1995 NBA Playoffs. In 2000, a run of the “Space Jam” XIs come in a box that reads ‘AIR JORDNA 11.’ due to an accident at the factory.
Air Jordan XI “Cool Grey”
One of the most popular (and the first) non-OG Air Jordan XI colorways, the “Cool Grey” version dropped in 2001. At the time, Jordan was no longer playing in the NBA – although he’d return later to wear the shoes while playing for the Washington Wizards.
The pared-down colorway was re-relased in 2010, and has since been re-appropriated and used on a range of other Swoosh releases including Roshe and Janoski sneakers.
Air Jordan XI “DMP” (Defining Moments Package)
This Jumpman makeup was the first-ever instance of a Jordan “pack” and was released alongside an Air Jordan VI in 2006. The pack was a tribute to two of Jordan’s NBA Championship wins: first in 1991 when the Chicago Bulls triumphed over the Los Angeles Lakers, and his fourth in 1996, when the Seattle SuperSonics caved to the Bulls.
Air Jordan XI “72-10”
Inspired by the Chicago Bulls’ record-setting ’95-’96 season, the “72-10” XI was named after the Bulls’ jaw-dropping win-loss tally that year, which remains the best regular season record ever in the NBA. Watch for this XI edition to drop tomorrow (that’s December 12, 2015 – for anyone reading this from the future) from select Jumpman retailers including Livestock.
Make sure to keep tabs on all the new Jordan releases by checking What Drops Now.
- Lead Image: Wish Atlanta