Whilst designing the shoe, Michael Jordan made it clear to Tinker Hatfield that he wanted the new Air Jordan sneakers to have a wider appeal than simply as a basketball shoe. Thus, the magnificent Air Jordan 11 model—often considered the most adored of all Air Jordan models—was initially introduced to the globe in 1995. Hatfield took a masterpiece and encased it in patent leather before topping it with ballistic mesh.
These are the Jordans that Michael wore during the 1996 NBA season, as he led the Chicago Bulls to another NBA title. If you’re a die-hard MJ fan, you might also recall the Air Jordan 11 as the shoe he wore in Space Jam. Considering all of that, it’s no wonder that Jordan 11 continues to be a favorite among sneakerheads today. Naturally, the footwear giant doing all in its power to capitalize on the cash cow that the model has become over the years.
Every year, Jordan Brand rewards its rabid fan base by releasing new iterations of the iconic Air Jordan sneaker. To celebrate, we rounded up some of the best colorways to date.
Air Jordan 11 Retro Bred
The 2019 iteration of the Air Jordan 11 Retro “Bred” revisits a design that debuted in 1995. This Tinker Hatfield-created model was inspired by the NBA team the Chicago Bulls, and it has a black mesh upper and patent leather outsole.
Michael Jordan donned a pair of shoes with the same white midsole and transparent Varsity Red outsole during his run to the 1996 NBA Finals. These retros launched in December 2019 and pay homage to the originals with high-top patent leather, trademark Jumpman logo, and MJ’s number 23 embossed into the heel.
Air Jordan 11 Retro Concord
Michael Jordan’s comeback to basketball after his initial retirement is commemorated in the 2018 release of the Air Jordan 11 Retro “Concord” with the number “45” being imprinted on the shoe’s black heel tab. Signature elements, such as the white ballistic mesh upper, black patent leather overlays, and ice transparent outsole, are all present and accounted for in this iteration of the shoe’s design.
Air Jordan 11 Retro Space Jam
In honor of the film’s 20th anniversary, Jordan Brand released the Air Jordan 11 Retro “Space Jam.” The classic, which Michael Jordan wore in the film and the 1995 NBA Playoffs as a player exclusive, became Nike’s biggest and most successful shoe launch in the company’s history. In comparison to the 2000 and 2009 retros, this shoe from 2016 is a truer reflection of the original PE.
Air Jordan 11 Retro Cool Grey
Towards the year’s end in 2022, the Air Jordan 11 “Cool Grey” colorway emerged once more. This re-release of a classic Air Jordan model celebrates the 20th anniversary of this particular colorway. The silhouette has a grey nubuck upper complemented by a grey patent leather mudguard, a white foam midsole, and a blue rubber outsole to complete the color scheme. The Air-Sole unit provides lightweight cushioning, while the carbon fiber components improve the shoe’s stability.
Air Jordan 11 Retro Low Legend Blue
Michael Jordan first debuted this colorway at the 1996 NBA All-Star Game, and now you can rock a low-top version of the shoe with the Air Jordan 11 Retro Low “Legend Blue.” The white leather upper, matching patent leather mudguard, and ballistic mesh tongue are all nods to the iconic mid-top design.
Both the blue embroidered Jumpman at the heel, honoring Michael’s alma institution, and the “25” stamped on the sockliner, celebrating the shoe’s 25th anniversary since its first release, are references to the significance of this milestone in the history of sneaker culture.
Air Jordan 11 Retro Low UNC
The 2001 Air Jordan 11 Retro Low “Columbia” served as inspiration for the “UNC” colorway. The design is reminiscent of the North Carolina Tar Heels, with a white mesh upper, university blue leather overlays, and a transparent ice blue outsole. In contrast to the 2001 release, the 2017 version was released in a convenient full family run—check out the GS pair here.
Air Jordan 11 Retro Gamma Blue
The 2013 Christmas season saw the debut of the Air Jordan 11 Retro “Gamma Blue,” Jordan Brand’s standard AJ11 launch. The upper of this non-original colorway is a sleek black throughout, and it is made from a combination of ballistic mesh and slick patent leather. The shoe’s branding hits, like as the turquoise Jumpman and the number “23” in Varsity Maize on the heel tab, provide contrasting blasts of color.
A carbon fiber plate provides stability for the shoe’s cushioned Phylon midsole, which is augmented with a top-loaded full-length Air unit. The herringbone traction pods in the outsole of a shoe made of transparent rubber provide excellent traction.
Air Jordan 11 Retro Win Like ’96
Those who follow the Chicago Bulls will understand the importance of the Air Jordan 11 Retro “Win Like 96” immediately. During the regular season of 1996, the Bulls won a record 72 games and went on to win their fourth NBA championship in six years. Michael donned the Jordan 11 during that historic playoff run, and this December 2017 drop pays tribute to the 1996 team that won every game they played in by donning a bright red colorway.
Air Jordan 11 Retro Cherry
The Air Jordan 11 “Cherry” made its debut during the holiday season of 2022. A low-top version of the AJ 11 in a “Cherry” hue was released by Jordan Brand in 2016; this new iteration takes the shoe’s color scheme and converts it to a mid-top silhouette.
Much like its predecessor heavenly sheen coats the mesh underlay and the leather heel overlays. The patent leather mudguards, Jumpman emblems, internal liners, and padded heel panels all include the standard “23” marking, but it’s the varsity red accents that steal the show. The typical ice-tinted outsoles are affixed to white midsole bits.
Air Jordan 11 Retro Low Bright Citrus
Jordan Brand has brought back another retro model for the ladies: the Air Jordan 11 Low “Citrus.” The colorway’s two-tone design, based upon contrasting outsoles, has been a fan favorite since its 2001 introduction.
The top of the shoe is constructed from a white mesh-nylon base with orange branding on the tongue and heel. Meanwhile, the patterned insoles and orange transparent rubber soles provide the finishing touch to the contrast design.
Air Jordan 11 Retro Premium Heiress
2017 saw the release of the girls-only Air Jordan 11 Retro Premium GS ‘Heiress,’ which featured a contemporary take on the classic design. The upper of this style is constructed from black suede, and it is embellished with metallic embellishments that give it a glamorous appearance. Every step you take will be glittering thanks to a leather mudguard. The shoes include Michael Jordan’s jersey number and a gold embroidered logo. Furthermore, the supportive cushioning of the white midsole is partly encased by a black, semi-translucent outsole.
Air Jordan 11 Retro Low Closing Ceremony
The 2016 Rio Summer Olympics inspired this gold-themed hue of the Air Jordan 11 Retro Low “Closing Ceremony.” With a white mesh top, gold patent leather overlays, black embellishments on the tongue and lining, and a transparent ice blue outsole, this design is sure to turn heads.
Air Jordan 11 Retro Low Navy Gum
The “Navy Gum” Air Jordan 11 Retro Low is a low-top version of the classic sneaker in a muted hue but with all the same trademark features of the silhouette. Featuring a ballistic mesh top with a patent leather overlay in a sleek midnight navy colorway, these shoes are both durable and fashionable. The lightweight Phylon midsole has a full-length Air unit for further cushioning, while the gum rubber outsole features herringbone traction pods at the forefoot and heel for grip.