There are few sneakers in the world as instantly recognisable as the Air Jordan 11. Designed by Tinker Hatfield, the Jordan 11 was one of the first sneakers Michael Jordan wore on his return to the NBA. As time has gone on, the lasting legacy linked to the Jordan 11 has given it a huge sense of fame in the sneaker world. Even now, two decades later, the AJ11 has remained a key silhouette in the history of Jordan Brand.
Released in 1996, the Jordan 11 was first spotted a year prior in the film Space Jam. It quickly became as hyped as the film itself. Fast forward almost 25 years and the silhouette has remained a firm favourite of sneakerheads and Michael Jordan. As you would expect, there have been a number of Air Jordan 11s released. With the recent airing of The Last Dance, we thought it about time to pick 11 of the best Air Jordan 11s out there.
We’ll be taking a look at all Jordan 11 colourways and picking out a selection of our favourites. Without further delay, let’s take a look at the best Air Jordan 11s of all time.
Disclaimer: this list is not in order!
Air Jordan XI “Blackout Sample” (2011)
When it comes to Air Jordan 11 samples, fewer are as mythical as the “Blackout.” Using a triple black approach, the Blackout Air Jordan 11 features a black mesh and black patent leather. A set of black laces works together with an all-black midsole and outsole. Even the Jumpman logo on the ankle and the “23” on the heel are black for good measure. This stealthy silhouette is one of the most elusive Jordan 11s of all time.
Originally manufactured in 2011, the Blackout Air Jordan 11 was set to be retail release for that same year. However, it was pulled at the last minute. With only three to six pairs reported to be in existence, the Blackout Jordan 11 is one of the rarest Jordan 11s of all time. Of course, the beauty of the sneaker lies in its simplicity. Pairs do not come up at all but when they do, they tend to sell for an awful lot of money.
Air Jordan XI “Cool Grey” (2001)
In 2001, Michael Jordan was nearing the age of 40. He had the left the Chicago Bulls and became a player for the Washington Wizards. Though he may have been ageing, that didn’t seem to stop him beating players half his age. During his time at the Wizards, MJ broke out a never before seen pair of Air Jordan 11s. Dubbed the “Cool Greys” the sneaker was a tonal approach to the otherwise bold sneaker.
Featuring a muted grey colour throughout, the Cool Grey Air Jordan 11s featured grey mesh and patent leather. A contrasting white midsole was paired with a translucent sole unit, giving the six-year-old sneaker a fresh start. The white accents when paired against the grey upper also helped the sneaker to stand out. Though these have been one of the last Air Jordan 11s that Jordan played in, they have certainly had an effect on Jordan Brand.
Air Jordan XI “Concord” (1996)
When Michael Jordan announced his return to the NBA the sporting world exploded with excitement. After a brief semi-professional baseball career with the Barons, Jordan returned with a simple message: “I’m back.” With Jordan absent from basketball, Tinker Hatfield was left without a muse to create for. Now, he had Jordan back. The “Concord” Air Jordan 11 would go on to be one of the most iconic Jordan 11 colourways of all time, and for good reason.
Featuring a white mesh and black patent leather, the Concord Jordan 11s were like nothing seen before. The sneaker was everything that embodied Michael Jordan. Flashy yet elegant, the sneaker was an instant hit within the sneaker community. Jordan was back and his first signature model upon his return had remained a classic. Not only did the Concord 11s see some of Jordan’s greatest performances, but they were also key in his second run with the Chicago Bulls.
Air Jordan XI Low “Citrus” (2001)
As one of the very few colourways of the Air Jordan 11 Low to make this list, the “Citrus” is a firm favourite amongst sneakerheads. Originally released as part of a two-part pack in 2001, the “Citrus” Jordan 11s were a women’s only release. Of course, that didn’t stop nearly all male sneakerheads from wanting a pair.
A completely white upper was contrasted by Citrus accents on the tongue, heel and the sole. The eye-catching sole is what really made these Jordan 11s one of the best Jordan 11 Low colours of all time. Sometimes less is more. Over the past 19 years, the Citrus Air Jordan 11s have reissued a couple of times, giving newer sneakerheads the opportunity to own a piece of history.
Air Jordan XI “Derek Jeter” (2017)
This is arguably the most premium Air Jordan 11 of all time. In 2017, Derek Jeter announced that he would be leaving the New York Yankees. After 19 years, the time had come for Jeter to retire. As one of the greatest Yankees of all time, the city of New York knew that it would be losing a huge part of the team. With Jeter being a Jordan Brand athlete, it wanted to commemorate the sad occasion by creating a rare Jordan 11.
Featuring luscious navy suede and leather rope laces, the Derek Jeter Jordan 11 is one of the most luxurious Jordans ever made. A debossed Jumpman was present on the ankle, with a white “2” stitched into the heel. Finishing the shoe off was a crisp white midsole and white outsole. Only five pairs were created, with attendees of a commemorative store having to scratch a ticket to win. With a resale price of $40,000, this is one of the rarest and most expensive Jordan 11s of all time.
Air Jordan XI “Space Jam” (1995)
Back in 1995, Michael Jordan starred in Space Jam; an animated film featuring the Warner Bros. cartoon cast. In the film, the Looney Tunes recruit Michael Jordan to help them win a game of basketball to protect their home planet from the Monstars. The film has remained a favourite of sneakerheads, and for good reason. The image above is arguably one of the most iconic sneaker movie moments in history.
Stepping onto the court in a never before seen sneaker, the Space Jam Air Jordan 11 was a truly “wow” moment. The black patent sneaker had not yet been unveiled by Nike, so when it appeared on screen, it was truly the first time that people saw it. It would take another year for the Concord 11s to debut, but it would take a further five years for the Space Jam Jordan 11s to release. This is without a doubt one of the greatest sneakers of all time, and for good reason.
Air Jordan 11 “Drake Snakeskin Samples” (2017)
Ok, so technically this is cheating, but you can’t pick which is better out of these. When you’re the biggest artist on the planet, you tend to get a lot of love from big brands. As a member of the Jordan Brand family since 2014, Drake has always had his fair share of exclusive sneakers. From unreleased Air Jordan 3s to custom Air Jordan 8s, Drake’s OVO x Jordan collabs have been crazy. In 2017, he blew the sneaker community’s mind when he unveiled a set of “Snakeskin” Air Jordan 11s.
Featuring a white mesh base, the Air Jordan 11 Snakeskin pack features both a pink and white faux snakeskin leather. Replacing the traditional patent leather is a big deal, yet somehow these seem to work. Referencing the snakeskin Jordan 11 Lows of 2001, the OVO Jordan 11s have remained a serious collector’s piece. In 2019, the set was available to buy in a EU44 (UK9.5) for $25,000. If you’ve got deep pockets, these are the rare Jordan 11s for you.
Air Jordan XI “Columbia” (1996)
The NBA All-Star Weekend is one of the most important weekends in the sneaker calendar. The yearly event takes place in a host city and sees the greatest players from the Eastern and Western conference divisions play each other. In recent years, ASW has seen some of the most hyped sneakers of all time drop. However, back in 1996, it was a rarity to see players create exclusive colourways for just one match. Although MJ did it back in 1993 with Air Jordan 8 “Aqua”, it had not been seen since until the GOAT stepped out on the court in the “Columbia” 11s.
Featuring a white patent leather base, the sneaker was certainly eye-catching. Light blue accents on the ankle as well as a black patch at the back meant that the Columbia Air Jordan 11s matched the Eastern Conference All-Stars. Soon after, the sneaker saw a retail release, one of the first times a PE had made it into production. 24 years later and the Columbia Jordan 11s have remained a favourite amongst OG collectors.
Air Jordan XI “DMP” (2006)
Celebratory packs have become a big part of the Jordan Brand philosophy in recent years, but back in 2006, that wasn’t the case. To commemorate Michael Jordan’s achievements, Jordan Brand launched an exclusive “Defining Moments Pack.” Featuring the Air Jordan 6 and the Air Jordan 11, the shoes were respective of Jordans first and fourth NBA Championships with the Chicago Bulls, marking both threepeats.
Using the Air Jordan 11 Concord as the base, the DMP Jordan 11s featured white mesh and black patent leather. However, it was the gold accents on the Jumpman and heel that made these shoes stand out. Retailing for €295, the Air Jordan DMP Pack quickly sold out. Though the Air Jordan 6 DMP made a return earlier this year, we are still waiting for the Air Jordan 11 to do the same. Any chance of this happening soon, Mike?
Air Jordan XI “Gamma” (2013)
New Jordan 11s standing up against old Jordan 11s is tough to get right, yet somehow the “Gammas” do just that. Released in 2013, the Air Jordan 11 “Gamma” was as close to the “Blackout” 11s that many would get. However, it was a shoe that had its own personality and story. Dropping alongside an Air Jordan 12 with the same colouring, the Gamma Jordan 11s are a serious sneaker.
Featuring largely all-black construction, the Gamma Air Jordan 11s featured black mesh and black patent leather. Gamma Blue accents on the Jumpman and sole, as well as gold on the heel and tongue, set the shoe apart. The Gamma 11s quickly sold out on release day and have remained one of the best new Jordan 11 colourways to ever release.
Air Jordan XI “Bred/Playoffs” (1996)
Simply put, this is one of the most iconic Jordan sneakers of all time. Upon his return to the Bulls, Michael Jordan was hungry to prove that he wasn’t past it. In his first full season back, the Chicago Bulls were unstoppable, getting all the way to the NBA Finals. When Michael Jordan got there, Tinker Hatfield knew that he needed a Jordan 11 that would immortalise his time there. Insert the “Bred” Air Jordan 11s.
Featuring the Chicago Bulls colours, the Bred (or Playoff Air Jordan 11s) were instantly recognisable. They featured a black mesh upper and were contrasted by a black patent leather. Pops of red on the sole, ankle and heel gave this shoe personality, as well as a white midsole balancing the colours out. Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls would eventually win their fourth NBA Championship together, starting off the second threepeat and cementing Jordan as one of the greatest players of all time.
Recently reissued, the Bred Air Jordan 11s are a piece of Jordan and sneaker history.
We hope that you enjoyed our list of the best Jordan 11s of all time. With the Air Jordan 11 playing such an important role in sneaker history, we knew that we had to celebrate its legacy properly. As you can imagine, picking 11 Jordan 11s from all Air Jordan 11 colourways was tough, but we know we picked the best. If you’re looking for a new pair of Jordan 11s, or just want to check out some classic Jordan 11 colourways, then head over to the KLEKT store!