When Jordan Brand transitioned away from using a numbered system (ie. Jordan I, II, III etc.) many fans started to dismiss the brand. It’s common knowledge within the sneaker community that “cherished” Jordans do not exist beyond the XIV (the last shoe worn by MJ in a Bulls jersey) – lets call the I-XIV “traditional Jordans”. XV-23 were hit or miss with successful silhouettes like the XVI, XVII and 23 and less favorable designs like the XV, XXI and XXII. We’ll save our ranking of the best Jordans from XIV-23 for another MJ Monday, but what we need to take away from this is the fact that Jordan Brand tried for years to deliver a classic on the level of a Jordan III or VI.

Once JB hit number 23 they decided to take their premier annual release into another direction. The numbering system switched from numbers to years (ie. Air Jordan 2010, 2011, etc.) and they sought to make Dwyane Wade the face of this transition. The first release was the Air Jordan 2010 and it’s… a polarizing shoe (that window isn’t for everybody). But the AJ 2010 did set the tone for what was to come – JB really focused on designing the perfect basketball shoe for basketball. Past Jordans looked great on and off the court but the annual Jordans were explicitly performance basketball shoes. With that said, lets bring this all full circle and take a look at the one annual Jordan that was both aesthetically pleasing and a beast on the court…

The Air Jordan 2011 had it all and still gets slept on! First of all, these Jays had a beastly amount of tech jammed into every inch of the shoe. The shoe’s designers Tom Leudecke and Tinker Hatfiled brought modularity to the Jordan line with the introduction of interchangeable sockliners/insoles; QUICK featured forefoot & heel Zoom Air units and EXPLOSIVE utilized Full-length Air. Sitting on-top of all that Air is one of the most comfortable lacing system Jordan Brand has ever used. Seatbelt like webbing eyelets run all the way to the base of the shoe providing a killer lockdown feel. The 2011 draws inspiration from the AJ XI and it can be seen in the shoe’s mudguard and use of contrasting leather. The similarities are really felt when comparing the AJ XI Concord and the 2011 white/black colorways. Today’s pictures will focus on Wade’s wearing of the 2011 but we need to note that Ray Allen also rocked the 2011. Checkout some pics of the shoe in action and some OG colorways, enjoy!

Year of the Rabbit 2011 in a beautiful white/ iron/ red/ gold colorway.

 

 

The sadly forgotten Warrior Pack 2011’s highlighted by this ghoulish black/green colorway (looks a lot like the Paranorman Foamposites).

Jordan Brand Classic East and West – clean right? right! We’d happily take a retro of these badboys.

The Cherry colorway was used in this GR edition of the 2011. Here we can see the use of a heel Jumpman that looks a lot like the AJ X’s.

Now-a-days this would be called Stealth but Black Cat would be just as fitting. The 2011 came in both patent and traditional leather – here the patent really makes the shoe pop.

D-Wade diving for a loose ball in the Cherry 2011’s.

Finna dunk on Lamar Odom in a Heat Away colorway.

All-Star say in the All-Star 2011.