Jordan 11 Jubilee: Out of the Box
- Price: $220 Retail [No Longer Available]
- Pros: Great Specs for a 25-year-old Shoe, Classic Design
- Cons: High MSRP, Fake Leather
Most people would put the Jordan 11 among the best Jordans ever released, right up there with the 1s, 3s, and 4s. However, while we typically get 5 or more releases of those models every year (and in the case of the 1s that many in a month) the Jordan 11 is much rarer. Typically only releasing around the holiday season, this gets one colorway per year in the high. This year, the single Jordan 11 release was the 25th anniversary edition: The Jordan 11 Jubilee.
Considered Jordan’s favorite, the 11s marked his first full year return and his 4th championship. It’s also the beginning of the Jordan line becoming heavily focused on tech. While it isn’t common, it’s entirely possible to play in these in 2020. Even for professionals.
It has more features than a lot of modern shoes. Of course, it costs more than a lot of modern shoes too.
Famously, the Jordan 11 was pitched to Michael Jordan as the tuxedo of sneakers. On first look it’s pretty clear to see why. The very first thing you see on this, and most pairs of 11s, is the patent leather panel that runs along the bottom of the upper. Taking inspiration from patent leather men’s pumps, this panel is cut higher than most of the retros of the last 10 years. Not only does that mean it’s closer to the OG, it also gives the shoe a chunkier vibe which I prefer.
Moving up the upper, the midfoot features black mesh, with six black straps sewn on holding the laces. This shoe breaks from the traditional Jordan 11 mold here, with JORDAN spelled out in silver plastic along the straps. I’ve seen a few people suggest this is a nod to the Reebok Question, but Tinker Hatfield actually had this on his original design. Looped through the straps are thick rope laces, crossing over a nylon tongue.
Around the back, the shoe features a matte, leather-looking panel with a real metal Jump Man attached. The interior of the shoe spills over to the middle of the back, with a plastic 23 attached.
At the bottom, the outsole – which has a woven pattern molded in – is a bright white. Underneath, a milky, translucent outsole has the classic Jordan 11 wave pattern, broken up by gray rubber panels with herringbone traction. Just peaking through, the carbon plate is visible on the arch and through the translucent rubber.
Inside, the shoe is fairly standard Jordan 11. That means soft, black lining.
Fit & Comfort:
The Jordan 11 fits like most Nikes, that means long and narrow, and the Jordan 11 Jubilee is no exception. If you’ve never had a chance to try one on before, it fits extremely similar to the Jordan 1 in length and width.
From a comfort perspective, the shoes are OK out of the box. The midsole is soft, and gives room for the full-length air unit to expand. On the other hand, the carbon plate is extremely stiff out of the box. This should break in with time – keep an eye out for a long term review – but were focusing on initial impressions here.
The upper of the 11 is very comfortable as long as you get your sizing correct. The lining is incredibly soft. Even better, Jordan Brand leaves the area just behind the achilles tendon completely unstructured. This means that you can have a fairly high cut shoe, but without the pressure on your ankle.
Unfortunately, if you don’t size properly, you’re in for some pain. The patent leather has almost no stretch to it at all. A slightly too large shoe will crush your foot, and a slightly too large shoe will crease in a way that isn’t great. Make sure you nail your sizing as best you can.
The Jordan 11 Jubilee doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the materials used. At least, as long as you go in with the right expectations.
From a visual perspective, everything looks great. There are no clear imperfections, and everything seems extremely robust. I have no doubt that these shoes will stand the test of time. The woven nylon on the upper in particular seems to be almost too thick – they shoes could probably be just as long lasting and more comfortable with a thinner choice here.
The outsole has grippy rubber, with harder rubber contact patches giving extra traction and durability. Someone playing in these on an outdoor court might wear through them, but for casual wear these should more than stand up to what you throw at them.
Inside, the shoe features a carbon plate, full length air, EVA foam, and a soft insole. I plan on wearing these to see how they hold up, but you can see a deconstructed pair here. That’s a lot of tech for a 25-year-old sneaker.
The little touches are nice as well. The metal Jump Man is cold to the touch. While that doesn’t sound like much, it makes the shoe more of an experience to open up and put on. The JORDAN letters and 23 numbers are a bit thinner than I would like, but that is probably a tradeoff for flexibility.
The one part that does let the shoe down is that the leather is either entirely fake, or covered with so much plastic that it doesn’t matter if it’s real. Both the patent leather and the back leather are soft to the touch, but a bit of pressure shows that it’s plastic there. It’s hard to complain too much, they look great, but it’s worth noting.
Ease of Care:
Keeping the Jordan 11 clean is generally a fairly easy task. The upside of using so much plastic over the leather is that it will wipe off easily with just a bit of water. The nylon will hold dirt a little bit more, but it’s built tough enough that some light scrubbing with a brush will get it all off. In white you’ll never get it completely clean, but in black here it’s nothing to worry about. The only part that’s likely to show wear quickly is the bright white midsole. With the pattern that is pressed in, dirt will get imbedded.
The Jordan 11 does have a few areas outside of dirt that are tougher to keep up. In particular, the translucent outsoles will yellow over time. There are options to restore the original color, but the process takes some time and effort.
Originally priced at $220, the Jordan 11 Jubilee sold out immediately. If you’re looking to purchase a pair now, you’ll need to go resale. At the time of writing, the shoe is available for just a few dollars over retail over at eBay (remember only shoes over $200 get their verification).
This retail price puts them a bit over what most Jordan retros cost. At resale, however, this puts them in line or below most other hyped-up releases. It wouldn’t surprise me to see these trend up over time. While not an OG colorway, they feature a lot of upgrades over a normal 11. It’s also what almost every other 11 does after about 6 months.
As I’ve often said, it’s pretty rare that a retro sneaker is a good value. While I really like this pair, this shoe isn’t an exception to that. If you’re looking for the best in tech specs, whatever is the newest LeBron is going to have a more modern lay out. If you’re looking for a classic design, the OG colorways will be closer to what he wore.
However, unlike something like the Jordan 1 where it’s pretty obvious you’re paying $100 for the brand and $70 for the shoe at retail, the Jordan 11 does deliver something. It is a capable performer, and it does use some higher end materials.
The Jordan 11 Jubilee is a shoe you can wear on or off the court, inside or out, and has a few special features that mark the 25th anniversary. It will never be as classic as the Concords, but for someone who is looking for a pair of 11s that are just a little bit special – and half the cost – it’s hard to go wrong with these.
My only advice is to pick them up quickly. It’s unlikely they’ll drop much from where they are now.