January 26, 2011 BY Aaron Kr.
Earlier today, Sneaker News had the very special privilege of checking out the official unveiling of the Air Jordan 2011 in New York City. We’ve already brought you a number of preview looks at this year’s anticipated new Air Jordan model, but as any sneakerhead knows, sometimes you really can’t get a full appreciation for a shoe until you see it in person, and the Air Jordan 2011 no doubt falls into this category. You’re never going to please everyone with a new Jordan model, but this time around, the JB design team seems to have made great strides in terms of better understanding what contemporary consumers want in terms of both style and performance.
Aesthetically, the Air Jordan 2011 immediately stands out as being perhaps the simplest silhouette ever seen on an Air Jordan legacy model. At a quick glance, there doesn’t seem to be much involved with the basic two-section upper, but a closer look will reveal the type of thoughtful touches that can always be counted on from MJ’s signature shoes. The most notable visual feature of the 2011 is without a doubt the depressed graphic pattern that appears on the overlay section of the upper. Inspired by the basketball warrior mindset of Michael Jordan himself, the abstract design not only helps tell another aspect of MJ’s story, but provides the otherwise minimal design with a nice touch of depth and contrast within the indented grooves of the graphic.
As you’d expect, aside from the look of the shoe, the Air Jordan 2011 also continues to push the performance/technology envelope. In addition to being incredibly lightweight and breathable, the functional highlight of the 2011 is the newly introduced option of two sets of swappable insoles, featuring two different types of cushioning engineered to meet different on-court needs depending on body type and style of play. Consumers are encouraged to figure out whether the “Quick” (Zoom Air) or “Explosive” (Max Air) is a better fit and feel for them, marking the first time that a singular basketball shoe has offered the opportunity to explore both of these different possibilities.
Both sets of insoles come with their own individual bag, housed along with the shoe in an all new white box sporting a large black Jumpman on the top and a “Choose Your Flight” invitation printed inside the box top. Whether it be the intriguing insole options or streamline look, take it from us that the Air Jordan 2011 is worth a look when it hits retail next month. Jordan may have missed the mark for some with recent releases, but with its tastefully minimalist aesthetics and anticipated performance potential, the AJ 2011 is looking like a definite step in the right direction for JB. Keep reading for a detailed look at the first four colorways, as well as some dismantled sample pieces and original Tinker Hatfield sketches, and stay tuned tomorrow for our in-depth interview with Air Jordan 2011 co-designer Tom Luedecke.