J2: Air Jordan 2011 Preview (Tinker is back!)

Since the Air Jordan XX3, Jordan Brand took a huge turn in direction of the Air Jordan line. Being it a milestone for the brand (the last numbered Air Jordan in the series and commemorating MJ's jersey number), I wasn't looking forward to what the future held for Jordan. Especially after the Air Jordan 2009, falling way short in the design department, both aesthetically and on the technology side.

This year, however, is something some can look forward to. The design of the Air Jordan is an acquired taste for people. Some may say gimmicky, some may say "above it's time", and some just say "it's wack". The Air Jordan 2011, as always, is along those lines. This year, legendary Tinker Hatfield and senior footwear designer Tom Luedecke, team up to bring you a shoe unlike any other. And today was the unveiling:

Like every other Jordan in the brands history, the initial designs weren't too appealing at first site. But upon the unveiling, it's now starting to grow on me more and more. I say that every year, actually (with the exception of the 2009). This year, more than ever, combines style and performance.

The Air Jordan 2011 combines an all leather upper and a plain phylon midsole for a simple, sleek, and clean design. Another part of the upper is the first ever patina leather overlay. A special leather material never before used on an Air Jordan. Each sneaker is hand-burnished creating a design pattern that is distinctive to each pair. The right tongue is embossed with a Jumpman logo and the MJ Motorsports "23" on the other. The  cosmetic package is completed with a Jumpman on the heel.

In the performance department, the 2011 features a fully perforated upper with a vented tongue for breathability and easy-tight lacing system. The uppers act as a shell for the inner booty, seen on many classic Air Jordans and Nikes in the past (Air Jordan VII, Air Jordan VIII, Huarache Trainer, Air Zoom Kobe II etc.). The most notable feature of the 2011, which is a first in sneaker history is the interchangeable midsole. The midsole houses the cushioning for the sneaker which can be switched out, depending on the users game and preference. 

For the quick cutting guards who slash to the basket. The "Quick" midsole offers heel and forefoot Zoom for fast acting response. Most will ask, "why not full length Zoom?". Separating the Zoom into 2 components acts as independent suspension for the foot for easy heel to toe transition, as opposed to full length. For the smaller, faster guys, this is the ride for you. 

For players requiring a softer ride and more ample cushioning, the "Explosive" midsole would fit your game. The misole offers a 3/4 length Nike Air unit for higher impact cushioning and providing a less harsher ride than the Zoom. For the bigger forwards, big dunkers, this may be it for you. 

Finally, the sneaker sits on top of the first ever "green" rubber. Laid out with the iconic elephant print for traction, the Air Jordan 2011 is set and ready for wear on the hardwood for a $170 price tag. There's the preview, take it for what it's worth. There's one thing left- try 'em on. The question is: Is it all just a gimmick? Will it become a popular shoe, or will it succumb to the harsh reality of sitting on the outlet shelves?

The Air Jordan 2011 Commercial

For more information of how it came to be, click here.

Picture/video source: Nike Inc./Jordan Brand

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