A Look Back: The Air Jordan XI Low

A Look Back: The Air Jordan XI Low

Few can deny the impact the Air Jordan XI has had on the sneaker community over the past 25 years. From the very first moments we saw Michael Jordan rocking the XI’s, we were mesmerized by them. Tinker Hatfield’s genius design made them look super-sharp on and off the court. The Air Jordan XI was one of the most popular sneakers MJ ever wore, to the point that Jordan Brand started retro’ing them just five years later beginning in the late fall of 2000. We just couldn’t get enough of that patent leather goodness. 

Although Jordan Brand did release a low-cut version of the XI back in ‘96 in both a white and black colorway, these silhouettes had a different design compared to the mid-cuts. The OG lows were meant more for off-court styling, with breathable mesh weaved into the upper. It almost seemed strange at the time that Jordan Brand and Nike didn’t drop a low-cut version with the patent leather mud guard. That all changed in the Spring of 2001.

 

Drew Hammell Look Back Jordan Retro XI Low

In April and May of 2001, Jordan Brand released low-cut patent leather and super-stylish snakeskin versions of the Air Jordan XI. These shoes were meant to be rocked right away for the warm summer months. They were flashy and looked great with shorts. This low-cut version featured the same full-length encapsulated Air-Sole unit and composite shank-plate, just like the mids. There were also matching Jordan Brand shorts, caps, tees, and beanies – because back in the early ‘00s, your whole fit had to be color-coordinated from head to toe. 

In April 2001, the white/silver colorway dropped for ladies, the white/columbia and white/red dropped for men, and the white/pink dropped for girls. Then in May ‘01, the white/pink snakeskin dropped for women, and the white/navy snakeskin dropped for men. There was also a white/citrus and white/zen grey version.  

Though Michael Jordan was famous for rocking the AJ XI mids, he also wore the lows with patent leather as well. During the NBA Finals versus the Sonics in ‘96, he briefly wore the low-cut “Bred” colorway. He also rocked a low-cut patent leather “Concord” colorway during the trophy ceremony after the Bulls defeated the Sonics that year. It would have made sense for Jordan Brand to bring these classic colorways back in low-cut versions right off the bat, but we had to wait years for them to finally release to the public. 

While the holidays have always been about the AJ XI mid releases each year, the summer belongs to the lows. This spring, Jordan Brand is bringing back the white/citrus colorway, along with a low-cut version of the classic “Legend Blue”. The love for the XI’s is not going away anytime soon, so once again these models will be instant sell outs.

The Jordan Retro XI Low drops 5/7 on eastbay.com

Drew Hammell A Look Back

Drew is the creator of @nikestories on Instagram. Growing up in the ’90s, Drew loved playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and even dabbled in cross country running. He ended up focusing on tennis in high school and helped lead his team to multiple state titles. His favorite athletes growing up include Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Andre Agassi, and Ken Griffey, Jr. He was smart enough to save all his old Eastbay catalogs from the ’90s and loves sharing them with the sneaker community. Follow him at @nikestories

Air Jordan Retro 1 Cleat: The Iconic Sneaker Takes The Field

Air Jordan Retro 1 Cleat: The Iconic Sneaker Takes The Field

In 1984, a 21-year-old rookie by the name of Michael Jordan first stepped foot on a professional basketball court. Little did the public know, he would change the game of basketball and modern sneaker culture forever.

After failing to secure a couple of key endorsement deals, His Airness finally got the call from Nike offering him a $2.5 million-dollar check and his own signature shoe. It was then that the iconic Air Jordan 1 was born.

The original Air Jordan was an updated version of designer Peter Moore’s Nike Air Ship model but included the addition of the now-retro Wings logo. Wearing the first shoe with multiple colors in league history, the newly-minted and unproven MJ already stood out on the court with less than a full season under his belt.

The stylish and colorful shoe immediately caught the attention of the league, and they issued a ban of the Air Jordan 1 for not meeting the stringent policy on uniforms and colors. Realizing they were in a unique position to market this historic sneaker, Nike cleverly rolled out a “banned” advertising campaign and floated the cash to pay the $5000 per game fine so that Jordan could continue to rock the shoe.

From there, the rest is history. The “banned” marketing campaign jumpstarted a new era of performance sneakers worn as must-have fashion statements. The Air Jordan 1 became a staple in streetwear culture, worn by popular musicians, movie stars, and skaters.

And now, 35 years later, the Jordan Brand is introducing another audience to the Air Jordan 1’s versatile portfolio. The Air Jordan 1 Football Cleats are now available for purchase at eastbay.com. Check out our slideshow of colorways available below and make sure to grab a pair today!

A Look Back: The Air Jordan 3 ‘Black Cement’

A Look Back: The Air Jordan 3 ‘Black Cement’

In the sneaker world, terms like “iconic” and “GOAT” are tossed around a lot these days. Name an Air Jordan shoe from the `80s or `90s, and there will usually be a cadre of hardcore fans who will argue that it is the greatest Jordan of all time. There is one model, however, that stands out above the rest; a model so timeless, so classic, so smooth that sneakerheads of all ages tend to agree that it is most definitely the GOAT. That model is the Air Jordan 3 “Black Cement.” It’s a shoe that the man himself, Michael Jordan, only laced up once in the NBA — and it wasn’t even a regular-season game. MJ broke out the Black Cements for the 1988 NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 7, 1988 – held appropriately enough in Chicago. In front of 18,403 fans, MJ dazzled the home crowd with 40 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals.

The Jordan ‘Be Like Mike’ Collection

The Jordan ‘Be Like Mike’ Collection

Gatorade’s ‘Be Like Mike’ campaign first aired over 25 years ago, and went on to become one of the most iconic commercials of all time. The spot debuted in the summer of 1991, just after Michael Jordan won his first championship. His Airness was at the very beginning of what would become a historic title run and on the cusp of becoming a global icon.

The commercial showed kids looking up the world’s greatest basketball player and featured a catchy song that people still get stuck in their head today. Fun fact: The now-famous song almost never happened. Negotiations for the rights to use a different song fell through, forcing the team to create the original song at the last minute. After the commercial, the final scene read: “Be Like Mike. Drink Gatorade.” And the rest is history.