Official images and news regarding the highly anticipated Air Jordan 2011 went out today and upon seeing them, I was genuinely impressed by the shoe’s appearance and features. Seeing them in pictures and seeing them in person are different stories though. I was able to sit in on a special preview of the shoe where we were able to hear from the shoe’s co-designer, Tom Luedecke, about the intricacies and nuances.

As far as details and quality go, this stays true to the higher standards put forth by Jordan Brand and the shoe that started it all, the Air Jordan. A high grade patina leather that was hand burnished to give each a distinct appearance is used on the upper and if you look a little deeper, you can see a perforated pattern meant to emulate star patterns. The significance is this is to create a pattern similar to what warriors of yore utilized to seek guidance when going to battle.

Moving on to the logos, two can be found on each tongue: the Jumpman and a ’23’. The ’23’ was designed to represent his Jordan Motorsports team and you all know what the Jumpman means. But speaking of Jumpman, the one located on the heel is really something to marvel at. It is easily the most detailed Jumpman I have ever seen. It resembles an actual sculpture that was created with a real keen eye for detail — it adds a really nice and subtle touch.

Although the Air Jordan 2011 has a really wearable design, it is a basketball shoe first and foremost. The Jordan Brand really raised the bar with this one by offering two different insoles that serve different in game purposes. The blue sole is designed to be lighter in weight with air units placed in the heel and forefoot, and to be more responsive on the court by being built with a firmer foam. The red is designed to enable the wearer to be a bit more explosive with a softer foam and 3/4 air unit and cushioned midsole.