Initial Impressions, Nike / Jordan, Sneakers

Jordan 11 Cool Grey: Wizard’s Magic Trick

Price: $225 [Check eBay for Current Prices]

Why Should You Buy?

The Jordan 11 Cool Grey is a surprisingly well made sneaker, and was worn by Jordan himself

Why Stay Away?

$225 is a lot of money for a sneaker.


ModelJordan 11
ColorwayCool Grey
Weight570 g / 1 lb 4.1 oz



Jordan 11 Cool Grey
Jordan 11 Cool Grey

I think it’s fair to say that a lot of younger sneakerheads might remember the Jordan 14 as the last pair Jordan wore in his NBA career. There is even this famous (and visually stunning) photo, which gave the bread colorway of the 14s their nick name. However, while that is a great story, it’s just not true. Jordan came back again, this time in a new city but sporting an older shoe. The Jordan 11 Cool Grey.

It’s probably not surprising. While he isn’t always consistent, more often than not when asked what his favorite pair to play in was, Jordan says the 11. It makes sense. The Jordan line was supposed to end with the 10. That’s why all the accomplishments for his career are on the sole. When he decided to come back with the 11, Tinker needed to come up with something to justify the return.

While not one of the original colorways, since he did play in them so regularly, the Jordan 11 Cool Grey is often treated as such. Being one of the only OG colorways to release in 2021, there is a lot of hype building up around them. Is the hype worth it? Should you pick up one of the rumored 1 million pairs to be releasing? Let’s take a look at this pair and find out.




Jordan 11 Cool Grey
Interior of the shoe, note that comfy ankle cutout

As the name suggests, the upper of the Jordan 11 Cool Grey is made up of (surprisingly warm-toned) shades of grey. Starting at the bottom, it’s classic Jordan 11, with the patent leather panel running the length of the shoe. Traditionalists will be happy with this pair – it features the lower cut of recent Jordan 11s.  

Moving up, things change a bit from the traditional formula. On the mid panel, where you’d normally find ballistic mesh, this shoe features a nice matte finished leather. Along the back of the shoe, a nubuck panel keeps everything in place. Accents include a sewn jump man on the ¾ area, printed “23” at the ankle, and white laces. Of course, the sideways jumpman print is still on the tongue.

Speaking of the tounge, it has an extremely similar material to the upper. It feels great. Inside, the shoe is lined with an incredibly soft grey fabric, with a white jumpman on the insole.

Mid- and Outsole:

Jordan 11 jumpman sideways
That bar actually says “Jumpman Jordan” sideways

The midsole on the Jordan 11 Cool Grey is classic 11. White foam with the woven print. It’s tried and true and it works. Underneath the midsole, Jordan brand opted to use the translucent blue rubber that we often see on 11s. It’s always sad when it inevitably turns yellow, but out of the box it is always so nice.

Tucked inside of the translucent blue rubber are two grey rubber pads. These pads, which feature a herringbone pattern, are grey and will provide better grip than the translucent stuff.


Between the out- and midsole, the shoe features a visible carbon plate. I’ve always found the painted on carbon fiber weave to be a bit disingenuous, but we only started to have visible carbon plates again this year on Adidas’ running shoes. Hard to blame the innovator.

Take Away:

Jordan 11 Cool Grey
Jordan 11 Cool Grey

The Jordan 11 Cool Grey is a pretty simple design – but on a shoe that features patent leather that isn’t such a bad thing. Patent leather can be really gaudy if not done right. Sorry Fearless UNC/Chicago owners, but trying to wear them is almost impossible. The addition of the matte panels and the basic colorway mean that this shoe avoids a lot of that over-the-top risk that patent leather can have.

Where last year’s model had a bit of the “black Air Force 1” vibe to them, these are much more approachable. I’m not sure I’d call any 11 a “grown up” sneaker, but this iteration is definitely easier for us older sneakerheads to pull off.

Fit & Comfort:


Jordan 11 comfort
Soft tongue, lining, and more

The Jordan 11 Cool Grey has a typical Nike fit. That means long and narrow for a given size. If you’ve never had a chance to try an 11 before, I’d suggest taking the same size as your Jordan 1. The patent leather is not super forgiving, but should break in over time if you have a mild hot spot.

If you don’t have enough volume, the midsole will compress with time. Just know that won’t add to the length or width. I take these in a size 13, which is the same as my Jordan 1 and Ultraboost size. I’m a size 12.5 in Stan Smiths. For a full list of sizing in all of the shoes we’ve reviewed, click here.



Jordan 11 carbon plate
The fake pattern is a bit much, but there is undeniable support

Jordan brand was really getting into their swing with the 11 when it comes to comfort. With a full-length air unit and beefy midsole, the Cool Grey 11s are comfortable. And I don’t mean comfortable for a mid-90’s sneaker, but comfortable in 2021.

One part of the 11s that I always appreciate is the fabric cut out around your achilles. It allows for full movement, without any pressure here. This is the type of thing that people celebrated about Adidas with the Ultraboost, but Jordan brand was doing it decades before.

If you’ve never owned a pair of 11s, you should be aware there is some break in on these. The carbon plate on the sole is incredibly stiff out of the box. Don’t worry though, with time they break in and provide actual support – something rare in the sneaker world.

Materials & Construction:

Jordan 11 icy outsole
Icy outsole with a carbon plate

It’s been well documented that I think Nike material quality is, more often than not, hot garbage. Typically, they go with the absolute cheapest option. That’s why its all the more frustrating when we get something like the Jordan 11 Cool Grey. The materials here aren’t just acceptable, they are actually good!

The patent leather is fake, which is pretty typical for that kind of material, but elsewhere actual cows gave their life for this sneaker. The heel panel and tongue in particular are incredibly soft and supple.


Underfoot, the midsole is polyurethane, with a drop in full length air unit. The outsole is rubber, with harder rubber pads in high wear areas. Inside, the lining on the Jordan 11 Cool Grey is a thick-enough polyester weave.

Really, the only part of the shoe that lets me down is the laces. These are made with a softer material than normal 11 laces. This goes with the soft material vibe of the shoe, but when you pull on them, they stretch and lose their shape. Over time these could look pretty beat.

The shoe is made with a cemented construction. In short, that means the midsole and the outsole are held together with contact cement. While this isn’t the most durable construction, it is light weight and flexible. It’s also pretty much the standard on any sneaker designed after 1991.

Ease of Care:

Jordan 11 toe
Mixture of materials – nubuck, (fake) patent leather, foam, rubber, and more

The soft supple upper of the Jordan 11 Cool Grey is great from a materials standpoint, but for a winter sneaker they are not ideal. You’ll want to keep them as clean as possible as this material will stain from things like mud or road salt. Spraying them with a suede and nubuck protector will go a long way in keeping them fresh. Just make sure to clean any off the patent leather.

Speaking of the patent leather, while all shoes benefit from shoe trees, it’s especially important in 11s. Patent leather is known for getting deep, ugly creasing and shoe trees will help prevent that. Everyone should just pick up a few shoe trees. They don’t go bad, and they will help keep your shoes looking good longer.


Pricing & Value:

Jordan 11 Pricing
Pricing now at $225

The Jordan 11 Cool Grey cost $225 at release, or $5 more than last year’s model. While this review is going up before the full drop, I think it’s safe to say they will sell out immediately. At time of writing, resale ranges from around $300 to around $400. I expect that once the drop happens, they will go down significantly from there. This puts them in line with other Jordan 11 releases and resale.

If you’re looking to pick up a pair for resale, I always recommend checking out eBay over StockX or Goat [ebay link for Cool Grey 11s here]. Ebay doesn’t have any fees for their authentication service, and actually doesn’t charge any fees at all to the seller. This drives prices down there, and can save you a lot over the other services.

$225 (or more at resale) is obviously a lot for a sneaker. From a pure materials standpoint, Nike is obviously making huge profits on them. That being said, from a value perspective, you’re getting a lot more value in a pair of these for $225 compared to a typical pair of 1s for $170. Style is obviously subjective, but these are so much more comfortable and have some actual care put into their design.

Unlike most Nike sneakers, I think these might actually represent a good value.

Wrap Up:

Jordan 11 Cool Grey
Jordan 11 Cool Grey

The Jordan 11 Cool Grey of those rare pairs of Nikes/Jordans that really ticks all the boxes. Its an (almost) OG colorway, using good materials, and with stock numbers high enough that you might actually be able to get a pair. Or, at least get a pair for a reasonable price for resale.


This is one of my favorite releases from Jordan brand this year. If you have the money, and you’re a Jordan 11 fan, this is a no brainer.

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