Air Jordan XI. His Airness. 23. 4th Ring. 'I'm Back'
- Nike Air Jordan
- Iridescent Black High Patent Leather Upper
- Cordura Nylon Laceguard & Sidewall
- Carbon Fiber Midsole Shanks
- Translucent Outsole
- White Midsole
- Black Interior Lining
- Speed Lacing - Nylon Webbing Loops
Dressed in iridescent black with a white midsole and an icy white translucent outsole, the Baron XI has a clean finish. They are - reportedly - an ode to MJ's time at the Birmingham Barons in Minor League Baseball.
Silhouette Explored — History
"I'm Back" (with a bang, no less)
Created by Tinker Hatfield as Jordan's return shoe in 1995, the XI marked the start of a second period of dominance for 23.
The Jordan XI debuted in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals match-up against Penny & Shaq's Orlando Magic. MJ took to the hardwood in a pair of new threads and a new number to boot, his signature No.23 was replaced by the No.45. The Bulls eventually lost the series in 6 games, and a memorable moment occurred when guard Nick Anderson stole the ball from Jordan to secure Game 1 and was quoted after the game saying that "No. 45 doesn’t explode like No. 23 used to". A year later, Jordan would set a then NBA record of 72 wins, go on to win his 4th of six rings (and the 1st in his second 3-peat), the regular season and finals MVP, the regular season scoring title and be included in the NBA 1st team. Jordan's '96 championship was won on Father's Day, his first since his father's untimely murder in 1993 and prompted an extremely emotional response.
Silhouette Explored — History
The design of the XI deviated from the existing models on the hardwood, being the first basketball shoe to introduce high patent leather across the upper, the XI is earmarked as having an element luxury to it. Tinker referenced a convertible automobile as a partial inspiration behind the silhouettes design, with the patent rand (or vamp) representing the metallic body and the nylon upper reflecting an open roof. The Cordura nylon laceguard and sidewall was unique in relation to material components, with many shoes at the time simply using leather, canvas or suede. As a performance mechanic, Cordura was known to be flexible, breathable and lightweight - key tools that would help elevate the game of the man known to defy gravity.
Another key performance enhancement that the XI introduced was carbon fibre shank plates in the outsole; they were built to help deliver seamless transitions between lateral and medial foot movement. Carbon fibre was not only durable but it was lighter than previous midsole anchors. Aesthetically, the outsole is perhaps best known for its icy translucent look that was privy to an array of coloured tints, which Hatfield highlighted as going against the grain in regard to NBA uniform policy. Like some of the previous Jordan iterations, Tinker Hatfield refined the lacing system, forgoing the use of traditional eyelets for 5 nylon webbing loop panels that house rope laces, for a 'speed lace'.
Notable Games & Events featuring the Jordan XI