Air Jordan XI: Can you say SPACE JAM?

Name: Air Jordan XI
Tinker Hatfield


The Air Jordan XIs…oh my…give me a moment to gather myself.  This is arguably one of the best sneakers ever made…YEAH I SAID IT…EVER! In fact if you look up in Sole Collector’s magazine list of greatest sneakers, it was voted the top shoe of all time. You can ask most and they will have the same feeling about this sneaker. One of the interesting things about this shoe was that at the time this sneaker was released you would have to have had a death wish to be caught wearing patent leather anything much less sneakers and here you had the Air Jordan XIs with the whole midsole surrounded by it.

First off the sneaker was designed to resemble a sock of sorts that just wrapped around Jordan’s foot. At first it wasn’t supposed to have any laces of any kind, but as we all know that design changed. Like most of the sneakers in the Air Jordan line this one had a full air sole in the bottom of it with a full-length carbon fiber plate on top of it. This was to add extra spring to the sneaker and it could all be seen through the translucent outsole so you could actually see the carbon fiber through it. On the midsole of the sneaker was the very shiny black patent leather covering around the whole of the shoe. It has been stated that the reason why patent leather was used is because of the fact that it is lighter then actual leather and does not stretch, which can help with the keeping the foot stable within the sneaker. The upper layer of the sneaker was composed of a polymer-coated, thin ballistic mesh material. The inner portion of the shoe had lots of padding for the utmost comfort. This has been known to be the lightest Air Jordan made.

a sneaker that could be worn with a tuxedo…

It is stated that Jordan liked the idea of having the patent leather look of the shoe because it showed a certain type of style that was unseen in sneakers at that time. He believed that this was a sneaker that could be worn with a tuxedo…and before you even think of laughing…that same year Boyz II Men performed wearing these very same sneakers on a major award shoe with suits on.

As discussed in the Air Jordan X posting, these sneakers were displayed at the NBA Playoffs of the 1995 season. It is stated that Tinker Hatfield and Nike had shown the Air Jordan XI to Michael and he liked them so much that he wanted to try them out, but they were not supposed to be tested on the world stage yet. So when Mr. Hatfield and Nike saw television sports personality Ahmad Rashad holding the sneakers in front of the cameras explaining to the world that “these” were the new Air Jordans they were far from impressed. Reason being that the shoe was not approved for production as yet, but now that they had been seen by the world, they had no choice. Aren’t you glad that Jordan forced their hand? I know that I am!

Space Jam

That same year Michael Jordan was not only a huge sports superstar, but he also became a movie star as well. Known for being able to make fun of himself through his ads as well as appearances on multiple television shows, Jordan now took on the silver screen. That year he teamed up with Warner Brothers and the Looney Tunes to release the box office smash Space Jam. This movie had everyone from comedic heavyweight Bill Murray to the timeless Looney Tune characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird and the rest of the Looney Tunes family. He also got some help from some of his NBA league mates for this great film. Now if you were like me you didn’t care if the movie had cartoon characters in it because…IT HAD JORDAN IN THE MOVIE!!! This was a no brainer, but you had to go and see it because it had the now classic “Space Jams” in it. These were the Jordan XIs, but they were ALL BLACK WITH A CLEAR LIGHT BLUE SOLEWOOOOOOOOO…I’m sorry give me a moment to gather myself again…*ALRIGHT*…now I can’t tell you how many times I had to rewind the tape (YES, I said “rewind the tape” back during those times VHS ruled all) to look at those sneakers over and over again because they were impossible to find in stores. What a thing of beauty! Say what you want, but I can name at least 30 people that were doing the same thing as me…

Special Moments

Now that Jordan was back in the league he just continued where he left off before his short retirement. That season he got his 4th NBA Championship with the Chicago Bulls, Finals MVP, NBA League MVP, voted on the All-Star team for the 10th time, All-Star MVP and his 8th Scoring Title or as Jordan made it look…a walk in the park! So it was safe to say his “Airness” was back and better then ever. Not only was Jordan back, but so was the buzz about his sneakers. This sneaker caused huge line ups as well as riots at the various places it was being released mainly due to the premature debut of the sneaker in the previous playoffs. Also to note, Jordan was fined again for $5,000 for wearing these sneakers because they did not adhere to uniform policies of the league. This was when he was wearing the all white and black sneakers, so Tinker made him a pair of ALL BLACK XIs WITH RED SOLES…*SIGH* is there really anymore reason why I need to explain why these were the BEST ones?

Air Jordan 11 Red

Get Involved

Have an idea for a topic or a suggestion for Sole Theory? Feel free to visit our contact page.

About Sole Theory

Sole Theory is a sneaker lifestyle guide that explores the social impact of the sneaker culture. Users can expect to gain insight on recent trends, historic brands and signature styles that have heavily influenced the shoe industry. Content will be driven by articles, interviews and reviews that will uncover interesting facts and stories that have rarely been told.