It’s been a holiday tradition for 10 years. Sneakerheads wait with bated breath to see which colorway of the iconic Air Jordan XI will drop in December, but Santa came early this year. Much to the surprise of many sneakerheads, the Air Jordan XI Black/Red (bred) colorway secretly dropped on Nike’s SNKRS app today and sold out in minutes.
It’s the first time Nike (NKE) and Jordan brand have released the iconic style in the “bred” colorway since 2012.
The Jordan XI has not only been immortalized by his Airness Michael Jordan on the hardwood but also on TV and in film. The shoe was prominently featured in the 1996 classic “Space Jam,” starring Jordan himself.
Though the shoe is known throughout the sneaker community as the Jordan XI “breds,” in reality, the design is the playoff version of the shoe MJ wore during the historic Chicago Bulls 1995-96 NBA championship run.
Not only did the Bulls go 72-10, a record which stood for 20 years, but Jordan also won league MVP, All-Star MVP, and Finals MVP wearing the shoe. It may sound like folklore, but ask any sneakerhead who was around during MJ’s career, and they will tell that when MJ donned the breds he was on a different level. As Spike Lee put it in the iconic 1989 Nike commercial: “It’s gotta be the shoes!”
Gentry Humphrey, VP Jordan Footwear, spoke to Yahoo Finance about the legacy of the 11th shoe of the Jordan signature line. “The Retro 11s changed the way people looked at sneakers. When you look at the details from the patent leather to the carbon fiber plate, its design was and still is so unique. With this colorway, we saw MJ win his first championship after coming back to basketball. That started its legacy and it was the community who took that and made it iconic off the court.”
For those who were not lucky enough to snag a pair today, the Air Jordan XI drops on December 14 and will retail for $220.
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.